Secondment Report #06: Summer in Kristiansand

One of the benefits of the RISE project is that, as a researcher you not only get to work with
people from different countries (and in part cultures) but in addition with people from practice
rather than research.

These exchanges oftentimes offer insights into issues that may not
necessarily be on a researchers agenda. On the other hand, it is probably also interesting for
practitioners to get a more scientific view on topics. However, it may at times be also
overwhelming to break out of the daily routine and to get and understanding of just how
exactly certain disciplines in research work (i.e. what a working routine may look like) and
how these skills can be combined with the own to generate insights and as such an added
value to the outcome of the project. To overcome these initial obstacle, we had a workshop
with the municipality to identify overlappings in topic, introduce methods that are possible to
work with and get and understanding of available data as well as specify how certain research
topics can be combined with the interests derived from the experience of practice.

One example may be social bots, accounts on social media sites such as Twitter, that mimic human
behaviour even though they are, at least partly, run by algorithms. While there is a growing
body of research on that topic, this research mostly looks at prominent occurrences in political
events such as elections in english speaking countries. Less is known about a) appearances
in less spoken languages (like Norwegian) and b) in more regional events that may not be on
the agenda of larger international audiences. Still, for researchers to get a complete picture of
this phenomenon these insights from practice are invaluable while for practice the knowledge
about methodology to identify and analyse such phenomena opens up new possibilities to deal
with them and in turn help research to have a real world impact. However, as we said before,
this knowledge has to be established for the project partners which is why our workshop was
such an important groundwork for future project work and the overall value of the RISE SMA
outcome.

Florian Brachten, Felix Brünker and Julian Marx are PhD students at the University of Duisburg-Essen.