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Research Communication Science

The Department of Communication Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an innovative and internationally visible research group that contributes to knowledge and theory development in the field, by conducting fundamental as well as societal relevant applied research.

The field of Communication Science has changed profoundly with the advent of new media technologies, new communication routines, and new empirical research methods. The department responds to these major trends by organizing research activities in the program “Communication Choice, Content, and Consequences (CCCC)”. Within this program three different research groups focus on three evolving areas that are considered of crucial importance to the field: Political Communication & Media Monitoring, Media Psychology, and Social Media.

The staff of  the department focus predominantly on these important themes within Communication Science, and do so in close collaboration with scholars from other disciplines within the Institute for Societal Resilience (ISR) of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the VU-based multidisciplinary Network Institute to analyze communication processes from different perspectives.

Accordingly, research is published in leading journals in Communication Science as well as in journals of related disciplines.

Return to the Communication Science homepage.

Research Groups

  • Political Communication & Media Monitoring

    Analyses of message content play a central role in Communication Science. The rapid rise of digitalized communication has opened up opportunities to gain insights by automatically examining vast amounts of content. The Research Group Political Communication & Media Monitoring, headed by prof. dr. Jan Kleinnijenhuis, aims to further develop automated content analyses methods, with a special focus on applying these methods to analyses of political communication.

  • Media Psychology

    The Research Group Media Psychology, headed by prof. dr. Elly Konijn, bridges media research and psychology to optimize our understanding of media use, processing and effects. Media psychology emphasizes the perspective of the individual media user, increasingly so in view of new communication technologies such as mobile apps, social media, virtual worlds, gaming, Virtual Reality, and social robotics.

    By integrating psychological theories and research methods with media research, we aim to unravel the fundamentals of human communicative processes using media. The results often have an applied value, generally to support learning, foster development, wellbeing and health, and enhance resilience. For example, based on increasing insights into gaming (both violent games and for educational purposes), self-presentation and social comparison on social media, cyberbullying, and communicating with social robots.

  • Social Media

    The advent of social media has changed the media landscape dramatically. Where media access has long been reserved for important social actors, nowadays everyone has the opportunity to potentially reach a large audience through social media. As a result, the way we communicate has changed, not only for individuals but also for governments, NGOs and businesses.

    Communication via social media is the main research topic of the Research Group Social Media, headed by prof. Dr. Peter Kerkhof. Major research themes of the social media labgroup include corporate communication in social media, the use of social media by individuals as a way to influence organizations, the use of social media in the context of health and health care, and self-regulation and excessive use of social media by individuals.

  • Publications

    For all publications of the department of Communication Science click here.