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Citizen Science Zurich

Digital Meal: We are what we consume. But what do we consume?

Over 90% of Swiss adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 use social media on a daily basis. In doing so, they are confronted with an overwhelming offer of media content, which continuously confronts them with selection decisions. Depending on personal tastes and preferences, these selection decisions result in very different digital meals, which can be more or less digestible.

While the organizations behind the social media platforms have a detailed insight into the habits, preferences, and decision-making processes of the users, these insights are largely denied to outsiders. Both academic research and the users themselves often lack the necessary data to analyse and scrutinize usage behaviour.

To change this, the Data Donation Lab at the University of Zurich is building an infrastructure that enables users to obtain their usage data from the platform operators, analyse it themselves, and share it voluntarily with researchers. The project "Digital Meal", supported by the Participatory Science Academy, builds on this Citizen Science approach and develops an interactive learning module for young people in vocational schools, upper secondary schools and secondary schools. By formulating their own research questions, analysing their own data, and comparing it with fellow learners, they can reflect on their own media use. At the same time, sharing data with researchers creates the basis for novel insights into young people's media use.

The learning module will be developed in a participatory process with learners, experienced teachers from the field of media education and researchers from University of Zurich and will be available to all teachers and interested persons after completion. In addition to the technical tools for evaluating the data, the module will also include teaching materials, teacher comments, and teaching aids that can be used in general education classes, in the "Medien und Informatik" classes or other classes.

More information:

Weiterführende Informationen


Lukas Tribelhorn
Department of Communication and Media Research
University of Zurich
Project webpage