Author Archives: wva

Call for self-nominations: vice-chair and secretary

The Computational Methods Interest Group of ICA will hold elections this fall for the Vice Chair and Secretary positions. Please consider running for either position.

The Vice Chair position is a two-year term, which will involve group planning for the 2018 conference in Prague and the 2019 conference in Washington, DC. After ICA 2019, the Vice Chair will automatically assume the Chair position and become a representative on the ICA Board of Directors for an additional two years. In total, this position will involve just under four years of service from November 2017 until May 2021.

The Secretary position is a two-year term, which begins after ICA 2018 and ends after ICA 2020. Responsibilities include keeping and disseminating minutes of the group business meeting held during the annual conference, maintaining the group web pages and social media, managing communication within the group, and working with the Vice Chair and Chair to handle group matters.

Becoming active in the Interest Group is a great way to shape the future of our Group and to build your network and CV. Attendance at the annual conference is expected while a division officer.

If you are interested in running for either position, please send your name, affiliation and a brief (max 300-word) motivation/vision statement to Wouter van Atteveldt ( *before July 27*. Also feel free to contact Wouter if you have any question about either position.


Wouter van Atteveldt (chair)
Frederik de Grove (secretary)

New Software and Tools for Analyzing Communication

Fri, May 26, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 3, Aqua 309

In this session we will demonstrate new tools and software that can be used to analyse communication. The setup is that all speakers will give a very brief presentation and then setup an interactive demo so you can see the tool in action and ask more detailed questions.

The lineup: [Download slides here]

  • Collecting and Analyzing Social Media Data Using SocialMediaLab – Timothy John Graham, The Australian National U; Robert Ackland, Australian National U
  • Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks (VOSON) – Robert Ackland, Australian National U
  • Same, Same? Ensuring Comparative Equivalence in the Semantic Analysis of Heterogeneous, Multilingual Corpora – Christian Baden, Hebrew U of Jerusalem
  • Automatic Text Analysis Made Easy: Using AmCAT, NLPipe, and R to Do Corpus Management, Linguistic Processing, and Automatic Text Analysis – Wouter van Atteveldt; Kasper Welbers, U of Leuven; Antske Fokkens, VU U Amsterdam; Nel Ruigrok, LJS Media Research; Martijn Bastiaan, U of Copenhagen; Christian Stuart, U of Amsterdam
  • Facebook Page Data Extraction for Nonprogrammers: Introducing the Netvizz and Facepager Tools – Michael Che Ming Chan, Chinese U of Hong Kong
  • Corpustools: An R Package for Text Analysis Beyond Bags of Words – Kasper Welbers, U of Leuven; Wouter van Atteveldt

ICA conference schedule

Here is an overview of the very exciting lineup of Computational Methods panels at ICA in San Diego the coming days:

08:00 Applications of Topic Modeling
11:00 Computational methods in Journalism
12:30 Computational methods Poster Session
14:00 New Software and Tools for Analyzing Communication
15:30 What Computational Methods contribute to Communication Research
17:00 Business Meeting

08:00 Automatic Sentiment Analysis
09:39 Semantics and Structure of Online Communication
12:30 Temporal and Spatial Analysis of Mobility Data

11:00 Advances in Text Analysis Methods
14:00 Network Methods for Communication Research
17:00 Computational Methods for Analyzing Visual and Online Communication
18:30 Joint reception @ Quad Ale House

14:00 Advances in Network Analysis
15:30 Computational Methods for Studying Political Communication

Two gentle reminders: please consider nominating someone or yourself for the  positions for vice-char and secretary of the interest group and consider submitting your papers to the special issue on Computational Methods of CMM (deadline: 1st of July)

Newsletter: Call for Nominations for vice-chair and secretary and more

ICA San Diego is fast approaching and we are looking forward to seeing your presentations and hearing what your latest results and plans are!

This newsletter contains a number of important points: election of a new vice-chair and a new secretary, the upcoming CMM and AJoC special issues, conference update, and the agenda for the business meeting.

Call for nominations, vice-chair and secretary

We need to elect a new vice-chair to take office immediately after the October elections and a new secretary to take office at ICA 2018. Both positions are for two years. The vice-chair will be in charge of conference planning for the 2018 and 2019 conferences and will then assume the position of chair for another two years. The secretary will be in charge of communication which is a great way to getting to know the group (and to get known by the group). The deadline for nominations will be in the summer and self-nominations are welcome. Feel free to approach us in San Diego for more information.

Special issues

As a reminder:  Communication Methods and Measures will have a special issue coming up on computational methods. It is an open call, but we hope that you will consider submitting your best work from this ICA to the special issue. See

Asian Journal of Communication will have a special issue focusing on computational communication research in Asia-Pacific contexts. See

Conference update

A lot of you will be presenting papers at the conference in San Diego. All chairs are requested to mail their participants with a deadline for circulating their updated papers, especially for the people who submitted an (extended) abstract. Make sure to note whether you are presenting in a regular panel or in a high-density sessions.

Business meeting

Below is a preliminary agenda for the 2017 business meeting. Please mail us if there are any additional points you would like to add to the agenda.

  1. 2016-2017 Interest group report and finances
  2. Conference evaluation: which panel types did we like best, and which can be improved? Was it a good idea to accept abstract submissions?
  3. Membership recruitment: we are delighted to have well over 150 members now! However, if we want to be recognized as a division, we will have to continue our drive to recruit members, both within ICA and outside.
  4. Plans for the coming year(s):
    1. Review process: we would like to make some changes to the review process, in particularly to (1) make every submitting first author automatically a reviewer; and (2) organize a paper bidding process where reviewers can select which papers they would like to review based on the title (this is common in computer science conferences and ensures that you actually get to review interesting papers!)
    2. Best article/dissertation/reviewer award. We should have some budget next year to instate rewards, but this will require someone volunteering to form an awards committee.
    3. Regional conference(s) and preconference(s). If you have any plans to organize either a regional conference or a preconference, please let us know so we can help you get setup.
    4. Setting up a working group for starting up tool repository. We aim for a group of three people that will manage things in collaboration with the (vice)chair and secretary. Feel free to volunteer or approach us in San Diego for more information.


Preconference on Computational tools for text mining, processing and analysis

Date: May 25th 2017, 9:00-17:00 (ICA San Diego)
Full program: ICA_TMPA_program

Talks and slides:

Dr. Hai Liang: Scraping and preprocessing of social media data
Dr. Molly Roberts: Structural Topic Modelling
Dr. Andrew Schwartz: Machine learning on social media textual data for predicting psychological and health outcomes
Dr. Daniel Angus: Emerging methods for text visualization
Dr. Justin Grimmer: Statistical Models for Computational textual analysis and applications

Abstract: Manual content analysis has been one of the most distinctive and influential techniques in communication research for more than half a century. With the rise of digital and social media, recent years have seen a sharp growth in the sheer amount and types of textual data communication scholars often wish to explore, as well as changes to required skillsets needed for acquiring, storing, and processing data. Due to these changes researchers in communication often find manual content analysis methods inadequate for their needs. As a result, computational approaches to text mining are becoming gradually more valuable and even necessary for contemporary communication scholars. The pre-conference workshop “Computational tools for text mining, processing and analysis” aims to engage with these computational methods.

This pre-conference offers five talks given by world-class experts working at the frontier of computational textual analysis: Hai Liang, Molly Roberts, Andres Schwartz, Daniel Angus and Justin Grimmer. The program covers both introductory materials aimed at providing less experienced scholars with practical tools for analysis, as well as in-depth critical discussions on advanced issues including assumptions, properties, inferences, triangulation with other methods, and theory development. At the concluding panel, the invited speakers, panelists and the audience will engage in a discussion about the future of computational textual analysis in communication research and social science in general. Confirmed panelists include Dr. Joseph Cappella (the Gerald R. Miller Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania) and Dr. Dhavan Shah (the Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

It is our hope that participants will leave this full-day workshop not only with ready-to-use tools for their day-to-day research but also with a more comprehensive understanding of these methods’ assumptions, properties, theories and debates. The goal is to promote not only the usage, but a responsible usage, of computational methods for textual analysis.

Full program: ICA_TMPA_program




CfP: CMM Special Issue on Computational Methods

CT&M’s journal Communication Methods and Measures invites submissions for a special issue on computational methods. Here is the full call for papers:

For this special issue, we invite submissions that further the understanding, development and application of computational methods in communication research.Computational methods include (but are not limited to) methods such as text analysis, topic modeling, social/semantic network analysis, online experiments, machine learning, and agent-based modeling and simulations. Computational Methods can be used to build theory about, quantify, analyze, and visualize communication structures and processes. Computational methods can be applied to “big data” and social media data, but can also be used to analyse historical archives (e.g. newspaper archives, proceedings) or to provide a more sophisticated understanding of “small data”.

In particular, we welcome submissions on:

  • Innovative ways to use computational methods for communication research;
  • Evaluation and validation of computational approaches to studying communication research;
  • Application of computational methods to answer substantive communication research questions;
  • Reflections on the role of computational methods in communication research and their link with theory;

The special issue may also include a “teacher’s corner” article with brief descriptions of useful software packages and tools for studying communication. Authors interested in this format are encouraged to contact special issue co-editor Wouter van Atteveldt prior to submission.

The deadline for submission for consideration is July 1, 2017. Submitters should include a statement in the cover letter that the manuscript is being submitted for the special issue on Computational Methods. Articles will be peer reviewed and a decision rendered within 60 days, with a target publication date of March 2018. Instructions for authors and a description of the online submission process can be found on the journal’s home page at

Questions about this special issue can be directed to Wouter van Atteveldt or Winson Peng, Guest Editors, at and

Happy new year and thanks to all submitters and reviewers!

First of all, we would like to wish you all a happy and productive 2017!

ICA will send out the acceptance decisions and reviews early this year, but we wanted to already express our  thanks to all submitters and especially the reviewers for helping us create a great program for ICA 2017.

We received over a hundred submissions, which is a fantastic score for a new interest group!
With the help of the reviewers, we were able to accept just under 50% of them, and decided on three different session formats to host them:

  • An interactive software demonstration session,
  • A number of regular panels on various methodological challenges,
  • And a set of high-density sessions on applications of computational methods to the various substantive communication fields.

We really look forward to seeing all of you in San Diego, and thanks so much for your ideas, submissions, and reviews, your efforts are crucial in establishing our interest group!



ICA Deadline Extended

As you have no doubt heard by now, the deadline for submissions to ICA has been extended to November 5th, 23:55 UTC. The system has been having technical problems due to hacking, but seems to be up again.

For all Group members that are interested in submitting, we would like to urge you to try to submit as soon as you are ready. If you can’t log on to the system or experience other technical problems in submitting your work, please just try again the next day.

Of course, these extra days also give you the time to prepare another submissions. Remember, the Computational Methods group accepts full papers and extended abstracts on new methods, applications, tool demonstrations, and much more! See for our full call for papers.

Good luck finalizing your submissions, and don’t hesitate to email if you have any questions.

Survey on topics of computational methods pre/post-conferences

Dear members of ICA CM interest group,

To better plan our activities at ICA’2017, you are invited to take part in a short survey which aims to understand what our members want and what we can offer for the pre/post-conferences. Please click the link to complete the survey.
We’d like to thank Jonathan Zhu from City U of Hong Kong for proposing the idea of survey and Dror Walter from UPenn for designing the questionnaire.
Hope you have a wonderful new semester!

Winson, Wouter, and Frederick