Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf is one of the younger higher education institutions in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia – founded in 1965. Since 1988 our university has carried the name of one of the city’s finest sons. Today around 25,000 students study at a modern campus under conditions ideally suited to academic life. As a campus university where everything is close together, all buildings including the University Hospital and the specialised libraries are easily reachable. Our university departments enjoy an excellent reputation due to an exceptionally high number of collaborative research centres. Moreover, the state capital Düsseldorf provides an attractive environment with a high quality of life.
The group Political Science II
The group Political Science II at the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf/Germany is part of the Department of Social Sciences and of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. In research and teaching, the group focuses comparatively on the political system of Germany within the European framework, on political online communication and participation as well as on parliamentarism.
Commissioned by the Federal Agency of Civic Education, the group is in charge of the research on the Wahl-OMat, the German Voting Advice Application that has become one of the most popular online-tools in Germany. The group regularly supports the Federal Agency in designing and developing Wahl-O-Mat versions for the different elections on the state and federal level. For analysing the usage and users, the group conducts regular onsite surveys and analyses the data. Using the Wahl-O-Mat research as a starting point, the group has profoundly contributed to the establishment of a European network on VAA research by organising a conference of scholars in Düsseldorf and providing a wiki platform (vaa-research.net) that serves as a means to exchange data, literature etc. Apart from the Wahl-O-Mat, the group has been involved in the establishment of a VAA on the municipal level (www.lokal-o-mat).
Additionally, the group Political Science II is part of the interdisciplinary NRW Graduate School “Online- Participation” that brings together scholars from information science, legal science, economics, communication science and sociology. Political Science II will contribute to the planned establishment of an Institute for Internet and Democracy at the University of Düsseldorf.
As one of the division of the Düsseldorf Department of Social Sciences, the group is tightly associated to the other branches of the Department, e.g. the divisions of communication science and sociology. It has close ties to the research group “Political Communication in the Online World” which is funded by the German Research Foundation and which is located at the Düsseldorf Department of Social Science.
The group Political Science II consists of four scientists, two PhD candidates, one secretary and four student assistants. It can draw on respective office infrastructure and is assigned an annual budget to cover the basic expenses (office supplies). As part of the Heinrich-Heine University, the group can resort to central services provided by the library or by both the Faculty’s and University’s computer centres.