PhD Student: Sophie Minihold

In her cumulative dissertation project titled Digital Campaign Competence: The role of voters in data-driven election campaigns, Sophie Minihold aims to generate new insights on voter competencies needed to contextualize political information conveyed in data-driven campaigns. In her research, Sophie argues that voters need political sophistication on the one hand as well as digital sophistication on the other hand to take up their participatory role in democratic societies. The starting point is a theoretical exploration of various literacy concepts which are later linked to essential skills and abilities resulting in the underlying idea of Digital Campaign Competence.

This guiding idea is subsequently explored from three angles: as an independent variable, as a moderator variable and as an outcome variable by means of multiple waves survey panels, survey experiments and intervention experiments. Data will be collected in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands during election as well as non-election periods. Her research puts voters in the focus and adds to the data-driven literature by highlighting the European context. Advancing research on data-driven election campaigns, Sophie’s research aims to show how voters can be best supported in order to increase their Digital Campaign Competence and therefore come closer to the liberal ideal of democracy that recognizes knowledge and understanding as core characteristics of competent citizens.


  • Sophie Lecheler
  • Sanne Kruikemeier
  • Claes de Vreese