Computational Social Science Taskforce (WG4)

This working group aims to research and develop computational methodologies for analyzing narratives in crises. We strive to approach social and linguistic phenomena through a theoretical lens, utilizing Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods such as topic modeling, intent classification, computational discourse analysis, Natural Language Inference (NLI) and sentiment analysis in combination with qualitative research methods. We focus on data sources such as crisis news communication, social media interaction, and official crisis reports. Our goal is to conduct context-sensitive analyses that help us understand how people make sense of crises as they unfold, what concerns people have, and how the interaction between news sources, authorities and citizens evolves over time. Insights from this research can facilitate how health providers, news agencies and other stakeholders improve their crisis preparedness and address crises in the future.

Key research projects in the WG include:

  • Topic modelling of COVID-19 reporting in Finnish news media – Jonatan Lygdman (lead), Kaisla Kajava, Henna Paakki, Minttu Tikka
  • Shifting metaphors of crisis agency: how metaphoric frames of war and natural disaster emerge in COVID-19 news reporting in Finland – Kaisla Kajava (lead), Henna Paakki, Ishan Phansalkar, Minttu Tikka, Vuokko Härmä (THL)
  • Digital narratives: turning point events as facilitators of change in social media perceptions of long-term crises – Henna Paakki (lead), Johannes Johansson (research collaborator at University of Gothenburg), Ken Riippa
  • The Power of Algorithms in Crises: Digital Ethnography on the Agency of Algorithms in the Case of the Christchurch Attacks – Minttu Tikka (lead), Henna Paakki, Kaisla Kajava – paper to be presented in 4th International Data Power Conference.
  • Dataless piloting: Developing context-sensitive computational approaches to online social discourses – Henna Paakki (lead), Kaisla Kajava, Minttu Tikka – paper to be presented in The Digital Research Data and Human Sciences (DRDHum 2022) conference, University of Jyväskylä
  • Shifting contexts and ethical questions of social media research. Workshop in Digital Research Data and Human Sciences Conference (DRDHum) – Diversity of Methods and Materials, University of Jyväskylä. 1.–3.12.2022. Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Margareta Salonen, Minttu Tikka.


Kaisla Kajava

Doctoral Researcher

Minttu Tikka

Postdoctoral Researcher (+358)50 443 5558

Henna Paakki

Doctoral Researcher

Matti Nelimarkka

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen

Nitin Sawhney

Principal Investigator

Jonatan Lygdman

Ishan Phansalkar

Ken Riippa

Research Assistant