The dataset integrates the Portuguese funded project “Female Online Participation: redefining the public sphere” (2010-2011). The team has focused on a variety of online public spheres, ranging from the traditionally political to the more unconventional political. The diverse case studies that integrated this project were subjected to a common analysis grid, with variables designed to define the discursive mode of the messages exchanged in the analysed fora, such as rationality of argumentation, civility or degree of rational legitimacy, among others.
In this particular case, we chose to observe the readers’ comments in the news focused on the Brazilian presidential campaign, taking mainly into account the research of Tsaliki and other theoretical/empirical proposals that incorporate Habermas’ ethics of discourse in the analysis of online political forums. Additionally, we aim to introduce new dimensions for both theoretical and empirical researches on this matter, in order to seek for complementary academic approaches that go beyond habermasian ideals of deliberative democracy.
The Brazilian presidential campaign gained substantial journalistic coverage in Portugal (71 articles in Público online; and 60 news stories in Expresso online), due to the cultural proximity news value. We have focused only on the articles (six) that received the greatest number of comments in both websites; we have analysed 303 readers’ comments (139 in Público and 164 in Expresso), using Nvivo, a qualitative and quantitative data analysis software. The unit analysis chosen for coding was the paragraph; each one was coded into one or more categories/subcategories. We also observed the word frequency among the readers’ comments analysed.
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