University of Maryland

SoDa Symposium: Big data and Small Experiments: Navigating theory building in a world with too much information

SoDa Symposium: Big data and Small Experiments: Navigating theory building in a world with too much information
Presented by the Interdisciplinary Lab for Computational Social Science (iLCSS),
a SoDa Center Affiliate Organization

12:00 – 1:00 PM EST October-12, 2021 
(The link for registration is at the bottom of the page )

The iLCSS members will present three projects, followed by Q&A
1. All Minorities at Risk (AMAR,, which analyzes the status and conflicts of over 1200 communal groups around the world. Hanna Birnir is leading efforts for an AMAR 2.0 that uses NLP to update the existing manually coded dataset.
2. The research in partnership with the fact checker organizations in Latin America and the Inter-American Development Bank, which test for the content sharing mechanisms that explain the amplification of false content as well as the amplification of corrections.
3. Experimental research that combines social media data and randomized survey experiments.


Jóhanna Kristín Birnir
Professor in the Department of Government and Politics and the Director of GVPT Global Learning. She studies the effect of identity on contentious political outcomes. Her books and articles on identity and politics are published in numerous presses and academic journals, including Cambridge University Press, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Peace Research, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Party Politics, the Latin American Research Review, and the Journal of Global Security Studies. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

Tiago Ventura
Researcher at the @Twitter Civic Integrity and Misinformation Team and Ph.D. Candidate (expected October 2021) in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research lies in the fields of Comparative Political Behavior and Political Communication, exploring issues of criminal violence, inequality, and preferences for harsh-on-crime policies, digital field and survey experimentation, news sharing, behavioral effects of social media consumption, and empirical applications of text-as-data models.

Henry Overos
PhD student at the Department of Government and Politics in the UMD College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. His research focuses on religious mobilization, the intersection of religious and political identity and democratization. He is interested in applying computational and machine learning methods to study political identity. Henry’s dissertation work is on the relationship between regime change and minority religious groups’ political mobilization.

Ernesto Calvo
Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland and Director of the interdisciplinary Lab for Computational Social Science. His research focuses on the study of comparative political institutions, political representation, and social networks. He has published five books and over 70 articles in journals of Latin America, Europe, and the United States. The American Political Science Association has recognized his research with the Lawrence Longley Award, the Leubbert Best Article Award, and the Michael Wallerstein Awards. He is currently working on a book project on the activation of political content in social media.

The Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science (iLCSS)
(A SoDa Center Affiliate Organization)
The iLCSS was created to advance the core research and training mission of the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland – College Park. The iLCSS is committed to the pursuit of high quality academic research that takes advantage of the wealth of data, methods, and theories available for the study of government institutions and political behavior, with a focus on substantive problems and training people to understand date, create models of the world, and test their theories.
The SoDa Center at UMD
The powerful information available in large social science data sets is critical to understanding and addressing many of our nation and world’s most pressing challenges: from Covid-19 to racial, social and economic injustice; and from climate change to deep and damaging political and cultural divides. To help address these challenges, the University of Maryland has launched a new Social Data Science Center (SoDa) designed to advance research, education, and applications of social data measurement and analysis. This center leverages UMD’s strengths in survey methods, measurement, information management, visualization, and analytics. Facebook is providing support for the center’s research and education programs over the next three years.