Alexander Seymer teaches statistics and research methods at the University of Salzburg and the Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg. His research interests include the association of personal values and public opinion primarily but not exclusively in the context of welfare states, statistics with a focus on latent variable modelling and everything related to R. Besides his attention to quantitative comparative social science research, his genuine and general interest in statistics led to collaborations with scholars from other disciplines during the last years.
He received his Diploma in Sociology from the University of Leipzig and continued his studies in the International MSc in Social Policy Analysis by Catholic University Leuven, Luxembourg and Associate Institutes. After studying seven years at universities and research institutes, he decided to apply his knowledge in the context of politics working three years in Brussels. Two of the three years, he dedicated his efforts as assistant to a Member of the European Parliament. Eager to integrate his work and academic experiences, he started his PhD at the Salzburg Centre for European Union Studies at the University of Salzburg. He is currently working at the Department of Political Science and Sociology.
Dr.phil. in Sociology, 2013
University of Salzburg
MSc in Social Policy Analysis, 2005
University of Leuven
Diploma in Sociology, 2004
University of Leipzig
Since October 2015, we have been involved as scientific partners in two FFG-funded projects (KIRAS security research program). The first project has developed a tool called Foresight-Strategy Cockpit. This software should enable the Austrian ministries to improve crisis management strategies by becoming aware of unexpected trends and future scenarios in security issues. The second project has integrated WebLyzard, a software tool for an automated analysis of online news and social media sources (comments on articles, Facebook postings and Twitter statements), to analyze the media representation of pressing societal issues and citizen’s security perceptions.The WebLyzard software was used in a case study where two independent observers performed a frequency and sentiment analysis in parallel to the automated Weblyzard results. Specific articles and user comments on selected key-topics in two major online newspapers in Austria (“Der Standard” and “Die Krone”) were counted and evaluated according to different sentiment categories. The results indicate various weaknesses of the software leading to misinterpretations, and the automated analysis yielded substantially different results compared to the sentiment analysis by the two raters, especially for cynical or irrelevant statements.Our case study highlights the potentials and limits of big-data analyses of media sources compared to those of conventional, quantitative content analysis. The results clearly show that empirical research should always be accompanied by theory-based interpretation and should highlight not only the potentials but also, specifically, the risks and weaknesses of the big data hype to counteract the allure of automated text-based analyses.
Incentives are often discussed in the literature on the topic as a way to increase response rates. In this article, sample composition and item nonresponse are also considered. Using social exchange theory, the concept of social inequality is theoretically linked to the effect of incentives and is empirically tested using data from a recruitment experiment for an online survey in Austria. Since the participants of the Austrian micro-census were used as the selection framework, a detailed analysis of nonresponse is possible. Based on the four different incentives (a brochure, a €2 commemorative coin, a €5 commemorative coin and a €10 voucher), conclusions can be drawn about the different forms incentives take and the values they hold. The results underline the potential of incentives to increase response rates, but at the same time they reveal potential distortion problems.
In this study, we investigate time trends in the relationship between deeper value orientations and political attitudes in the context of the economic crisis in Europe. Based on the theory of basic human values, we investigate the impact of the two most basic value dimensions – represented by the higher-order value types of self-transcendence and conservation – on attitudes towards redistribution and immigration. Based on the literature, we make a series of hypotheses concerning shifts in the values-attitudes link in response to the crisis. We estimate a multi-group structural equation model (MGSEM) using the first five rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS) and evaluate the effect sizes across time. Next, we estimate time trends along a growth curve model (GCM) based on the regression coefficients and link potential “crisis effects” to the key crisis indicators of GDP per capita and unemployment levels. The results support our expectations of a clear crisis effect and suggest two different mechanisms for redistribution and immigration attitudes. We conclude by discussing the implications of our results, the limitations of our approach and directions for future research.
Teaching at University of Salzburg:
Teaching at the Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg:
Responsible according to § 5 Abs. 1 ECG: Dr. Alexander Seymer
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