The main emphasis of our research and teaching at the Division of Communication Theory and Media Effects lies on political communication, media content and media effects as well as on the study of media debates in public sphere. We are especially interested in taking a look beyond our own country by applying an international comparative perspective to communication research.
We regard communication science as a problem-oriented, theory-driven social science that draws on empirical methods and findings. Moreover, we understand communication science as a field with strong interdisciplinary references. Thus, our students -- while studying questions of media effects in politics and society – may also confront themselves with approaches of other social sciences such as political science, European studies, sociology of the public sphere, psychology as well as with empirical methodology.
In our classes we aim to convey theoretical and empirical knowledge to enhance the understanding of the linkages between media, political processes and public opinion in modern democracies. We offer lectures and seminars in the bachelor’s program “Media and Communication Studies” and in the master’s program “Media and Political Communication”. In our teaching we pay special attention to the understanding of the methodological basis of communication science, resulting in a close cooperation with the Division of Media Analysis and Research Methods. Also, we combine traditional teaching and learning forms with new methods which allow the students to play an active, and critical part and where presentation and reflection plays an important role.
Our research is dedicated to international comparative projects of political communication cultures in various European countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Switzerland. We also study the relationship between political and media elites in transformative democracies, such as Poland. Another line of research is dedicated to questions of European integration, mass media and the European public sphere. We are also engaged in the DFG research unit: “Political Communication in the Online World”: Our project investigates political agenda building processes in online communication and spill over effects of issues from the internet into traditional mass media. Our projects have been sponsored by the European Science Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the British Council.