Dror Walter, Ph.D.
Walter’s research is centered on the intersection between classic media effects theories, and novel computational social sciences methods. His research addresses the ways by which methods such as semantic network analysis, topic modeling, and sentiment analysis, can enrich our understanding of various political communication processes with emphasis on election campaigns, international conflicts, and the perceptions of foreign countries.
His dissertation research is aimed at examining the role of discourse structure in shaping public opinion in various contexts with emphasis on the role of thematic diversity. Using semantic network structural features as measures of thematic diversity, he explores the impact of senate candidates’ news coverage on their electoral success, the factors that shape this thematic diversity, and the relationship between candidates’ news coverage thematic diversity and the thematic diversity of their direct communication (for example, via press releases or social media). In additional related research projects, he also explores these questions in other contexts, from the of factors that shape the structure of discourse around foreign countries in other countries’ media, to the relationship between elite discourse structure and escalation of international conflicts.
Aside from his work on thematic diversity and discourse structure, his past and current studies address various subjects relevant to media effects in political communication, from an experimental study of construal level theory, to inter-media agenda setting processes in news and entertainment media, and frame usage by political candidates’ direct communication via social media.