Broadening Exposure, Questioning Opinions, and Reading Patterns with Reflext: a Computational Support for Frame Reflection

Baumer, E.P.S., Cipriani, C., Davis, M., He, G., Jeffrey-Wilensky, J., Kang, J., Lee, J., Zupnick, J., and Gay, G. (2014). Broadening Exposure, Questioning Opinions, and Reading Patterns with Reflext: a Computational Support for Frame Reflection. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 11(1), 45-63.

ABSTRACT

Vast amounts of political coverage are generated daily online. Some tools have been developed to help keep track of what is being said, but fewer efforts focus on how things are being said, i.e., how issues are framed. This article presents a study of Reflext, an interactive visualization tool that leverages computational linguistic analysis to support reflection on the framing of political issues. This system was deployed in a field study, during which the tool was used by regular readers of political news coverage during the 2012 U.S. election campaign. The results describe the tool’s support for a variety of activities related to frame reflection, how users integrated tool use with their existing reading practices, and broader issues in how participants interpreted the computational analysis and visualization. These findings contribute to our understanding of how algorithmically based interactive systems might mediate both the practical experiences of and situated interpretation of framing in political content.

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