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Textual indicators of deliberative dialogue: a systematic review of methods for studying the quality of online dialogues

Goddard, Alex and Gillespie, Alex ORCID: 0000-0002-0162-1269 (2023) Textual indicators of deliberative dialogue: a systematic review of methods for studying the quality of online dialogues. Social Science Computer Review, 41 (6). 2364 - 2385. ISSN 0894-4393

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Identification Number: 10.1177/08944393231156629


High-quality online dialogues help sustain democracy. Deliberative theory, which predates the internet, provides the primary model for assessing the quality of online dialogues. It conceptualizes high-quality online dialogue as civil, rational, constructive, equal, interactive, and for the common good. More recently, advances in computation have driven an upsurge of empirical studies using automated methods for operationalizing online dialogue and measuring its quality. While related in their aims, deliberative theory and the wider empirical literature generally operate independently. To bridge the gap between the two literatures, we introduce Textual Indicators of Deliberative Dialogue (TIDDs). TIDDs are defined as text-based measures of online dialogue quality under a deliberative model (e.g., disagreement, incivility, and justifications). In this study, we identified 123 TIDDs by systematically reviewing 67 empirical studies of online dialogue. We found them to have mid-low reliability, low criterion validity, and high construct validity for measuring two deliberative dimensions (civility and rationality). Our results highlight the limitations of deliberative theory for conceptualizing the variety of ways online dialogues can be operationalized. We report the most promising TIDDs for measuring the quality of online dialogue and suggest deliberative theory would benefit from altering its models in line with the broader empirical literature.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2023 13:33
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 20:48

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