Shelley Boulianne's research while affiliated with MacEwan University and other places

Publications (45)

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Twitter enables an online public sphere for social movement actors, news organizations, and others to frame climate change and the climate movement. In this paper, we analyze five million English tweets posted from 2018 to 2021 demonstrating how peaks in Twitter activity relate to key events and how the framing of the climate strike discourse has e...
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One type of climate change denial is the belief that climate change is naturally occurring instead of human caused; this form of denial is known as attribution skepticism or soft denial. While considerable research has addressed outright climate change denial, little research has focused specifically on soft denial and its complex and politicized r...
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[In press; article accepted on May 20, 2022] The rapid rise of digital media use for political participation has coincided with an increase in concerns about citizens' sense of their capacity to impact political processes. These dual trends raise the important question of how people's online political participation is connected to perceptions of th...
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The Internet offers low-cost ways to participate in political life, which reduces the motivation required to participate and thus potentially reduces inequalities in participation. I examine online and offline contacting of elected officials using original survey data from Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States collected in 2019...
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Nonprofit organizations and groups depend on donations and volunteers for their survival. Digital media can help by offering a platform for making online donations and facilitating online volunteering, but also by identifying and connecting with people who are sympathetic to an organization’s mission. This article employs four-country (USA, UK, Fra...
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Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly users. Yet, little is known about how citizens engage with this platform. In this paper, we use representative survey data to examine social, civic, and political uses of Instagram by citizens in four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France (n=6,291). The survey was administered...
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Social media use enables information consumption and exchange as well as group ties that can facilitate participation in boycott and buycott campaigns. Social media also provide low-threshold activities that serve as a stepping stone towards more intense forms of cause-oriented participation. This paper uses original survey data (n = 1,539) collect...
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Younger and older generations are differently motivated in relation to news consumption and online political expression. In this paper, we suggest that different modes of citizenship characterize younger and older generations. To test the differential role of political interest in news consumption and online political expression, we use a survey of...
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The advent of online technologies has been triggering a wave of empirical examinations of online political participation (OPP) over the past twenty years. It also stimulated scholarly debate on how to conceptualize political participation in a digital age. Scholars differ on whether to consider passive and expressive online behaviors part of or a m...
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In 2018-9, millions of youth participated in climate-related marches across the globe. This activism reflects youth’s distinctive form of political participation: cause-oriented, expressive, and networked. However, the pathway between environmental concern and environmental activism is complicated in some contexts and for some citizens. This articl...
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In the weeks before the 2019 federal election, climate change strikes occurred in Canada and across the globe, which may have increased the salience of this policy issue. We use two data sources to examine the role of climate change in the 2019 federal election: a representative survey of 1500 Canadians and 2109 Facebook posts from the five major p...
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This study examines the phenomena of political unfriending and content removal on social media in three Western democracies-France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We seek to understand the role of crosscutting discussion, confrontational discussion style, and ideological extremity in triggering unfriending and content removal on social...
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Social media are critical tools offering connections between political actors, voters, and journalists. However, existing scholarship rarely assesses how user engagement differs by platform, content, and function of the post. We examine Facebook (n=938), Instagram (n=258), and Twitter (n=1771) posts by the leaders of three major political parties i...
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Political discussion is a key mechanism for the development of reasoned opinions and political knowledge, but online political discussion has been characterized as uncivil, intolerant, and/or ideologically homogeneous, which is detrimental to this development. In this paper, we examine the role of personality in various forms of political talk—onli...
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As digital media use has rapidly increased in prevalence and diversified in form, scholars across the globe have focused extensive attention on how the use of digital media relates to political participation. To assess the results of this emerging body of research, we conduct the first meta-analysis of repeated-wave panel data studies on the relati...
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Beginning in 2018, youth across the globe participated in protest activities aimed at encouraging government action on climate change. This activism was initiated and led by Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg. Like other contemporary movements, the School Strike 4 Climate used social media. For this article, we use Twitter trace data to examine the g...
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The circulation of misinformation, lies, propaganda, and other kinds of falsehood has, to varying degrees, become a challenge to democratic publics. We are interested in the question of what publics believe about their own exposure to falsehoods in news, and about what contributes to similarities and differences in these beliefs across countries. W...
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Many observers are concerned that echo chamber effects in digital media are contributing to the polarization of publics and, in some places, to the rise of right-wing populism. This study employs survey data collected in France, the United Kingdom and the United States (1500 respondents in each country) from April to May 2017. Overall, we do not fi...
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Deliberative exercises may reinvigorate civic life by building citizens’ capacity to engage in other types of civic activities. This study examines members of a citizens’ panel ( n = 56) who participated in a 6-day deliberative event on climate change and energy transition in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), in 2012. We compared panellists’ civic engage...
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Political consumerism refers to the deliberate purchase or avoidance of products, goods, or services for political reasons. For decades, researchers have studied the micro-level predictors of political consumerism in many countries and across a variety of contexts. However, many questions remain. Do resource-based models of political participation...
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The year 2017 saw a cycle of protest ignited by President Trump’s election and subsequent policies. This research seeks to investigate the role of social media and television in raising awareness of protest events and increasing participation in marches and demonstrations. This paper uses data from two surveys conducted in May and June 2017, during...
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The gender dynamics of political discussion are important. These dynamics shape who shares their political views and how they share their views and reactions to these views. Using representative survey data from the United States and the UK, we investigate how social media platforms shape the gender dynamics of political posting. We find that on Fa...
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This volume highlights gender issues related to using digital media for online politics. The submissions offer a balanced perspective about the role of digital media; this tool can be used for social change or to limit social change. The submissions use qualitative and quantitative analyses of digital trace data and survey data to present a rich pe...
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New technologies raise fears in public discourse. In terms of digital media use and youth, the advice has been to monitor and limit access to minimize the negative impacts. However, this advice would also limit the positive impacts of digital media. One such positive impact is increased engagement in civic and political life. This article uses meta...
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More than 300 studies have been published on the relationship between digital media and engagement in civic and political life. With such a vast body of research, it is difficult to see the big picture of how this relationship has evolved across time and across the globe. This article offers unique insights into how this relationship manifests acro...
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Citizen panels offer an alternative venue for gathering input into the policy-making process. These deliberative exercises are intended to produce more thoughtful and informed inputs into the policy-making process, compared to public opinion polls. This paper highlights a six day deliberative event about energy and climate issues, tracking opinion...
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Governments have turned to public deliberation as a way to engage citizens in governance with the goal of rebuilding faith in government institutions and authority as well as to provide quality inputs into governance. This article offers a systematic analysis of the literature on the effects of deliberative events on participants’ political efficac...
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In May 2016, an enormous wildfire threatened the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta and forced the evacuation of all of the city’s residents. Outpourings of support teemed in from all across Canada and over the world, prompting the largest charitable response in Canadian Red Cross history. This paper examines Albertans’ response to the wildfire by expl...
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In intense forms of public consultations, select groups of citizens, called mini-publics, are given a large amount of information and then asked to deliberate on policy directions and make recommendations. Government officials may refuse to act upon these recommendations, unless they are convinced that the recommendations have wider support in the...
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Social networking sites are popular tools to engage citizens in political campaigns, social movements, and civic life. However, are the effects of social media on civic and political participation revolutionary? How do these effects differ across political contexts? Using 133 cross-sectional studies with 631 estimated coefficients, I examine the re...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes identified in the submissions to this volume. The findings are contextualized in recent scholarship on these themes. Design/methodology/approach The discussion is organized around predicting social media use among candidates, organizations, and citizens, then exploring differences in the c...
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The Internet has transformed access to the news with most citizens in western democracies having access at their fingertips. This study examines how youth consume news online highlighting news consumption through social networking sites and other online sources. This study uses two-wave longitudinal survey data of young people to examine how online...
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Social media has skyrocketed to popularity in the past few years. The Arab Spring in 2011 as well as the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns have fueled interest in how social media might affect citizens’ participation in civic and political life. In response, researchers have produced 36 studies assessing the relationship between social media use and pa...
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Youth's low level of civic and political engagement may detrimentally affect the health of communities and the democratic system. This paper examines the role of community attachment in explaining youth's levels of civic and engagement. This examination requires an evaluation of existing measures of community attachment and their relevance for unde...
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Researchers are struggling to determine effective methods to improve response rates to web surveys. This study presents the results of an experiment that varied the disbursement of an incentive in a web survey. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a $5 or a $10 prepaid incentive. In line with the social exchange theory of survey pa...
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Is the news media merely a tool for those already interested in politics, or can the news media stimulate interest in politics? While the news media likely serve both functions, little research has examined these dual functions and how television, print, and online news media differ in their performance of these functions. I use simultaneous equati...
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This research note examines the effects of sponsor prominence on response patterns, namely the response rate and break-off rate, on University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, staff, and students asked to participate in a survey on campus transportation issues by either the campus transportation department or campus survey center. Sponsor-prominence d...
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Scholars disagree about the impact of the Internet on civic and political engagement. Some scholars argue that Internet use will contribute to civic decline, whereas other scholars view the Internet as having a role to play in reinvigorating civic life. This article assesses the hypothesis that Internet use will contribute to declines in civic life...
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This article reports the results of an experiment that varies whether respondents are informed that they will receive a reminder email if they fail to complete an Internet questionnaire. The findings show that informing respondents about impending reminder emails effectively increases Internet survey response rates. Moreover, this method increases...
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Barrett (2007) presents minor revisions to statements previously posted on Barrett’s website, and discussed on SEMNET (a web discussion group about structural equation modeling). Unfortunately, Barrett’s “recommendations” remain seriously statistically and methodologially flawed. Unlike Barrett, we see scientific value in reporting models that chal...
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This research note examines the effects of sponsor prominence on response patterns, namely the response rate and break-off rate, on University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, staff, and students asked to participate in a survey on campus transportation issues by either the campus transportation department or campus survey center. Sponsor-prominence d...

Citations

... Paying attention to political news can better reflect personal political interest. 47 In addition, political news is more related to government performance. 47 Therefore, the frequency of online political news consumption is more relevant to this study. ...
... We suspect that there is more to the story, in part because of differences among platforms. In a systematic review of 300 studies of 'online political participation' , Rueß et al. (2021) found that platforms are rarely considered in measures of participation. This leaves unanswered empirical questions about the robustness of results across social media platforms, and more importantly it leaves open the larger question of whether political acts undertaken online are best understood as variations of existing forms of participation, or whether they should be understood as distinct. ...
... Studying idols and leaders admired and followed by young people provides another avenue for understanding this generation's approach to media and politics. The youth-led Fridays-for-Future movement is a prime example of how a generation previously believed to be politically apathetic surprised the world and partly themselves (Boulianne and Ohme 2021). Molder and colleagues study the Instagram posts of the movement's initiator and now international icon, Greta Thunberg, and find that her messages are defined by hope, opportunity, and morality. ...
... Such diminishing levels of exposure to attitude-challenging political information have raised concerns about homogeneous opinion networks, sometimes referred to as "echo chambers" (Vraga & Tully, 2021;Zuiderveen Borgesius et al., 2016). They are characterized by selective exposure which describes the selection of information that is consistent with our attitudes, and selective avoidance, that is, the avoidance of information that challenges our attitudes (Skoric et al., 2021;Zhu et al., 2017). As a consequence, homogeneous opinion networks could put a threat to the quality of democracy, as they may foster polarization and impair the heterogeneity of the public political discourse. ...
... We have adopted an analysis grid with pre-constructed categories. This choice is based on several studies done to analyse social media publications of politicians or political parties (Boulianne & Larsson, 2021;Small, 2018;Hemsley et al., 2018;Lopez-meri et al., 2017;Gainous & Wagner,2014). The unit of analysis is each Facebook post of the Future Movement (FM), the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Kollouna Watani (we are the nation) during the election campaign from February 5 through May 5, 2018. ...
... Such individuals will rely less on their subjective assessment of news accuracy and expend greater effort and care in discerning news veracity, which may reduce the likelihood of sharing false stories. Highly conscientious people are also more likely to engage in like-minded discussions with contra-partisans (Boulianne & Koc-Michalska, 2021), which might discourage them from participating in negative partisanship behaviors. Conversely, low conscientiousness conservatives who are reflexively driven by their partisan loyalties and assertion of their group's supremacy over others and less restrained by other conservative values will be more likely to share fake news. ...
... Using WhatsApp-groups to organise assemblies, tweeting from protests, liking Greta Thunberg's posts on Instagram, expressing oneself politically online: The (political) cause pursued and the (digital) means to address it often merge into each other. Digital communication is regularly used to document participation (Oser and Boulianne 2020); but participation can also be a means to have something to documentfor example, organizing political events to produce content for social media platforms. The line formerly drawn between 'offline' and 'digitally-networked' acts of participation (Bakker and de Vreese 2011;Gibson and Cantijoch 2013;Theocharis 2015) is long gone for younger generations. ...
... The concept of "active citizenship" has been studied since decades (Hoskins & Mascherini, 2009) and results in the formation of environmental movements not only in advanced market democracies, but also in transition countries such as Brazil (Hochstetler, 2021;Hochstetler & Ricardo Tranjan, 2016). The Fridays for Future movement with school strikes for climate awareness initiated by Swedish student Greta Thunberg represents a novel form of protest, since they have been able to mass-mobilize young people to place pressure on politicians (Boulianne et al., 2020;Fisher & Nasrin, 2021). Another remarkable feature of this movement is that scientists have supported student protestors and their demands for more ambitious climate policies (Hagedorn et al., 2019). ...
... Individual Information Care. People employ different strategies to handle information on social media (e.g., Koc-Michalska et al., 2020;Swart & Broersma, 2021). However, we found that people speak of some of these strategies in a normatively laden sense, seeing it as a civic duty not only to inform oneself but also to do so properly. ...
... Instead of participative ethos, public spaces are increasingly reminiscent of affective extremism, incivility, misinformation, and violence. Most democracies today are case studies on the rise of populism and illustrate extreme fragmentation on several grounds, such as ethnicity, religion, caste, and immigration (Boulianne et al., 2020;Gonawela et al., 2018;Yu et al., 2019). The anti-vaxxer movement (Lovari et al., 2021), the storming of the US Capitol (Munn, 2021), and the Red Fort violence in India (Waghre, 2021) are some realworld events that illustrate both the widening divide in public discourse as well as its severe harms (Arayankalam and Krishnan, 2021). ...