Associate Professor Vincent Price delivered the Carlos McClatchy lecture to the Department of Communication at Stanford University on October 23, 2003. His address, “Online Discussion and Democracy,” focused on the role of Web-based political discussion in shaping public opinion and included selected results from Annenberg’s Electronic Dialogue project.
That project, a year-long, randomized field experiment conducted during the 2000 presidential campaign, produced evidence that lightly moderated online group conversations about the election did not polarize opinions along ideological lines as so commonly feared. Instead, they produced reasonable exchanges of opinion, contributed to participants’ understanding of their fellow citizens, and fostered electoral and civic engagement.
On September 4, Dr. Price was invited to address the New Research for New Media Symposium, hosted by the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota. In his presentation, titled “Conversations at Random: New Possibilities for Studying Public Opinion Online,” he outlined the opportunities and challenges facing researchers employing Web-based technologies to conduct opinion research, focusing in particular on online focus-group methods.