Study of Internet Communication in Political Campaigns

April 12, 2016

This month we interview Dr. Eva González, professor of marketing and business at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Could you tell us something about the organization you work for and your professional background and research interests?

The Tecnológico de Monterrey Gudalajara is a higher education institution that offers undergraduate programs, graduate programs (master’s and doctoral), international specializations, and medical specializations.  The institution also has four high school programs that are geared towards preparing students for higher education.  It has been recognized in the QS Worldwide University Rankings, rising from position 387 in 2010 to 306 during 2012. According to the last measurement of QS for Latin America, Tecnológico de Monterrey is the number one university for employers and remained in seventh place among Latin American research universities. QS also awarded Tecnológico de Monterrey with four stars for the employability of its graduates, infrastructure, internationalization, innovation and social commitment.

I earned a M.S. in Advertising and Public Relations and a PhD in Communications from the Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.  Since 2006, I have been a professor of Marketing and Business, at the Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara Campus. My research interests include retailing research (shopping centers, atmospherics, product display), consumer behavior (shopper marketing, group consumption) and marketing communication (in-store promotion and packaging). I have been working with ATLAS.ti Windows for more than 3 years and I am now starting to work with ATLAS.ti Mac.

In what study are you using ATLAS.ti?  Tell us something about it.

We are using ATLAS.ti in a virtual ethnographic research project analyzing political communication marketing in social networks. The purpose of the study is to understand the relationship between politicians and citizens as represented social networks. We are focusing on interaction, conversation topics, and all forms of representation (e.g., video, documents and pictures) that people share in the official politicians’ social network channels (e.g. Facebook and Twitter)

The study examined the last presidential elections in Spain (2011 and 2015) and Mexico (2012), we collected data from official politicians’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Specific days were selected from those related to candidate television debates. All the text and documents from social networks were copied into a separate Word document.  Information was analyzed and coded following abductive process, from the theory to the real data and vice versa.  The analysis was done using ATLAS.ti.

Results revealed that Internet has been used profusely in both countries but there are still important lessons to learn from the use that politicians and regular people (non-politicians) give to it. The interaction is not yet plural or equal, themes and individual production respond to different particular interests, from candidates and also for non-politicians. It is not yet a real interaction, the online world is considered a part of an integral communication campaign but not part of democratic life.

Thank you!

Note from the editor: Early this year, staff from the ATLAS.ti company visited the Tecnológico de Monterrey campus in Guadalajara to provide systematic training to a large group of faculty from different academic programs and from the institution’s high school. Everyone is doing very interesting research work in business and social sciences.  Among other things, it was interesting to see how faculty are experimenting with ways of incorporating research practices to the teaching curriculum (including high school).