WG1: Empirical Study of Public Argumentation
The primary objective of WG1 is argumentative analysis of EU documents and procedures, the media, and citizens’ discourse. This group includes linguists, discourse analysts, communication scholars, social psychologists, political scholars and other social scientists who contribute to a corpus based on data collected in past and ongoing individual research projects. The corpus includes structured face-to-face interviews, online and social media discussions, EU-documents and procedural guidelines, media reports, and citizens’ discourse.
Data collection, curation, and analysis covers a local, national, and European level. This corpus is collected with the goal of facilitating qualitative and quantitative analyses of arguments pro or con specific policies at the micro-level (argument type), the meso-level of argumentative patterns typical for decision-making, and the macro-level of argumentative procedures that reflect institutional conventions and design. This will generate an annotated database across European languages.
WG2: Norms of Public Argument: Concepts and Methods
The primary objective is a normative investigation of concepts and methods to measure the quality of arguments in public policies. Public arguments, as they are understood in WG2, are arguments that concern items of national or international policy or law making, and agents communicate such arguments in the public sphere. This WG involves philosophers, legal and political theorists, as well as linguists and other scholars who investigate public arguments from a variety of theoretical viewpoints.
WG2 specifically engages with the kinds of normativity that characterize public arguments. The group’s task is to develop a catalogue of concepts of public argument, of the kinds of normativity pertinent to the evaluation of public arguments, and of the methods for studying them. We do this in close collaboration with colleagues in WG1, who develop tools for the empirical study of public argument, and in WG3, who develop tools for the application of argumentation theories in argument design.
WG3: Designing Public Argumentation and Policymaking
The primary objective of WG3 is the development of prescriptive tools for participants in public controversies to engage in well-informed and well-considered discussions. To this end, the group engages communication scholars, computer scientists, as well as public policy professionals and other stakeholders interested in improving the quality of public argumentation.
The group benefits from the empirical results of WG1 and normative investigations of WG2 in its task of proposing methods and innovative solutions for designing public argumentation. These methods intervene on various aspects of argumentation, from argument schemes and structures, to concrete procedures and technological infrastructures for public argumentation and decision-making.