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Dr Tobias Escher

Former DPhil Student

Dr Tobias Escher

Former DPhil Student

About

Tobias Escher was a DPhil student in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences and as a part-time researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Tobias has interests in citizen-government relationships online (eDemocracy, eGovernment) – in particular their evaluation, in political representation as well as e-Social Science research methods. He is currently dividing his time between Oxford and Berlin.

Before coming to Oxford he worked as a Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science at University College London. Tobias holds a Masters degree in Globalization and Communications from the University of Leicester. In addition he has an extensive background in Media and Communication Studies as well as Computer Science from Freie Universitaet Berlin.

Tobias’s academic work is focused primarily on the use of Information and Communication Technologies for politics, both from a government perspective (eGeovernment) as well as from a citizen perspective (eDemocracy, eParticipation). He also develops tools to collect and analyse data from the Web.

Tobias’s doctoral research is an empirical analysis of German and UK e-democracy websites, assessing whether they bring in people not otherwise involved in political debate, or whether they simply reinforce the influence of those already active in politics. By taking a comparative perspective involving Germany and the UK this work aims to assess the potential of online contacts between citizens and representatives for reducing biases in political participation patterns and in this way for contributing to more equal political representation. The case studies are WriteToThem.com in the UK and Abgeordnetenwatch.de in Germany.

Beyond his doctoral research he has (co)produced a number of reports evaluating efforts in electronic participation. These include work for the German Parliament (evaluating its platform for online petitions; with Zebralog), the UK National Audit Office (evaluating the online presence of UK government; with Prof. Helen Margetts as well as the Public Policy Group of the LSE), the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (research of the ‘Power of Information‘ report) and for mySociety, a not-for-profit whose evaluation efforts he is currently leading. He also teaches on the subject of the Internet and democracy.

 

Research Interests

Democratic participation, political representation, e-government, evaluation, social implications of the Internet, user experiments, webmetrics, social network analysis

 

Positions at the OII

  • DPhil Student, October 2006 - March 2013

Research

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