Research Projects


Innovative research design for resilient democracies

Start: 10/2022

Which sentiments prevail within our societies? What are the drivers of polarization? Where do the dividing lines run? An innovative research design makes it possible to capture the mood of a society and anticipate resulting, potentially harmful tipping points. Possible developments and threats to democracy in our society can thus be illustrated and predicted. As a result, effective countermeasures for future crisis situations can be developed. Using representative panel surveys and agent-based models of opinion dynamics, “Social Sentiment in Times of Crises” (SOSEC) continuously monitors and evaluates how social sentiment unfolds in critical situations. It is a quantitative social sentiment survey unprecedented in this form. In the simple and low-threshold approach, 4,500 participants (1,500 in Germany and 3,000 in the U.S.) were asked to answer the same questions once a week between November 2022 and April 2023.

The FZI plays a pivotal role in this project such as coordinating the data collection and analysis via a questionnaire custom-developed for SOSEC. Matching panel data with news events extracted from the Event Registry platform gives our researchers a better insight into the relation between political or social news events on the one hand and collective social sentiment on the other hand. By integrating these data with social media data, the FZI also investigates the representativity of platforms such as Twitter/X, Mastodon, and BlueSky.


Dr. Jonas Fegert

Department Manager
Division: Information Process Engineering

Research Focus

Digital Democracy and Participation

In the Digital Democracy and Participation research focus, the spotlight is on inclusive, modern, and democratic forms of digital participation, as well as the opportunities and challenges of digital democracy.

Funding notice:
The SOSEC project is funded by the Alfred Landecker Foundation.

Project partners:

More projects