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Understanding the 2019 UK General Elections Through Digital Data

March 18 @ 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Edinburgh Q-Step Centre is pleased to invite school pupils who are in S5/S6 to participate in our exciting Data Fringe event that will illustrate how Digital Data can be used to understand the 2019 UK General Elections.

We will be looking at a range of data sources, including social media and surveys, to learn about the different “players” (voters, candidates, and parties) in the electoral competition and their relationships.

In the first part of this workshop, we will analyse survey data from the British Election Studies and Scottish Election Study to explore voters’ ideological positions and get a sense of what the public thinks about key social issues. Our discussion will build on evidence to address the question of ‘who votes for which party and why?’

In the second part of the workshop, we will use data from Twitter to perform a sentiment analysis on the tweets of political candidates and leaders. This analysis will enable us to gain a better understanding of online political campaigning strategies that were used in the latest UK General Elections. We will look at the tone difference of candidates from different parties and further explore whether there is a gender difference in online communication strategies.

Finally, we will use data from the Manifestos Project which uses official documents and speeches to locate parties’ positions on different issues and try to assess how well they fit to what we generally observe or feel. We will then combine this data with the voter ideal positions we have gathered using surveys to provide a general picture of the nature of electoral competition in the UK and speculate about the potential future realignments and coalitions.

This engaging workshop will feature hands-on tasks in a computer lab. The Q-Step team will support the students in applying sophisticated data analysis methods like principle component analysis and classification algorithms while demonstrating how this could be fun, useful and interesting. We will be using R and Python on Jupyter notebooks. We don’t assume you have prior knowledge of these techniques or packages! Our enthusiastic staff members and student ambassadors will be there to help and guide you throughout the workshop.

We expect our participants to gain:

• A better understanding of contemporary political issues, including voting behaviour and political campaigning strategies (linked to the Higher and AH curriculum);
• Skills and confidence in using statistical software to analyse digital data;
• Enhanced levels of data literacy and critical thinking;
• The understanding that you can combine an interest in maths, stats or data science with social science during your studies at university;
• An understanding of the range of ways that numbers can be used and applied in the field of politics, international relations and other fields within the social science;
• The opportunity to meet current undergraduate students and hear about their experiences while studying at the University of Edinburgh.

For further information about this event, please contact us:
Please be aware that photography and filming may take place during the event. The photos and video may be used to promote future events on the DataFest and / or The Data Lab websites and social media channels and on digital and/or print/promotional materials.

If you do not wish to be included, please let the event organiser know on the day and we will give you an identifier so the photographers / videographers know not to include you.

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