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Computational Communication Research (Well-Being and Mental Health)


Max Schindler


In this course, we will have a close look at wellbeing and mental health in different online contexts. We will explore the phenomenon via computational methods, especially with automated text analyses. In the winter semester, students will review previous literature on wellbeing, mental health, and online communication. Moreover, in order to analyze the topic students will get acquainted with relevant computational approaches. On the basis of recommended readings participants will discuss findings, theoretical perspectives and applied methods. Students will work in small research groups and develop own research questions based on earlier literature. An introduction to R for Data Science is provided. In the second part (=summer semester) students will learn to use some computational methods in a research project. First students get an introduction in R for data management and analysis. Afterwards, students will analyze the data in small research groups (with help from the supervisor) in order to answer their research questions developed in the first part.


In 1978, Richard Needle postulated that “social, political, and economic systems must be considered as determinants of health [and wellbeing]. […] The basic institutions in our society, the values underlying these structures, their purposes and goals, and their prescribed roles and normative expectations are basic factors that must be understood […].” (p. 28). Half a century later, his call remains due to large-scale changes in culture, society, politics and particularly the media. Social networking sites, online support groups, and other forms of online communities provide a platform for users to discuss with other users on a variety of topics that were private a few years ago, particularly topics such as mental health and well-being. Before this kind of discourse became available, mental health and well-being could only be assessed through surveys, but the internet now offers new possibilities, which will be applied in this seminar.


Needle, R. H. (1978). The Importance of Wellbeing and the Future of Health Education. Health Education, 9(1), 28-30.


In this course students will learn and apply computational methods in order to investigate their research questions. While there will be an introduction to these methods in the course, I strongly recommend to visit parallel the specialization module ”Introduction to Computational Communication Science” (offered by Aliya Iskenderova).


PL - Prüfungsleistung

Details zum Abschluss

Wednesday, 08:30-10:45