About

 
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Welcome!

I am a Visiting Professor of Quantitative Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Mannheim and currently on leave from Goethe University Frankfurt, where I hold an Assistant Professorship for Empirical Democracy Research. I earned a degree in Social Sciences from Humboldt University of Berlin and a PhD in Political Science (summa cum laude) from the University of Konstanz. Before coming to Frankfurt, I spent a year as Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Political Sociology at the University of Berne, a year as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) of the University of Mannheim, and a year as Research Fellow in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. My work on religion and politics and quantitative methodology has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, European Journal of Political Research, European Sociological Review, and Political Analysis, amongst others. 

Please feel free to contact me at: traunmueller[at]soz.uni-frankfurt.de

News

16/10/2017 Talk on Visual Inference at the Social Science Data Lab

This Wednesday, October 18th, I will present “Visual Inference for the Social Sciences” at the MZES Social Science Data Lab. “This talk introduces a remedy to the criticism frequently voiced against data visualization and exploration: that it may give rise to an over-interpretation of random patterns. A way to overcome this problem... View Article

20/09/2017 Blog Post on "Graphical Perception of Polls" at CorrelAid.org

Another blog post on how to visualize the results of political polls – this time with the data science people at CorrelAid.org.

18/09/2017 Blog Post on "Visualizing the Uncertainty of Polls" at zweitstimme.org

Colleagues at the pretty awesome zweitstimme.org asked me to contribute a blog post on visualizing the uncertainty of polls. Thanks for having me!    

Research Interests

I study the democratic challenges of religious demographic change from a strictly quantitative-empirical and comparative perspective. This research combines an interest in empirical democracy research, political methodology and evidence-based public policy.

 

Using MRP to Study the Democratic Behavior of Religious Minorities in Europe

Curently, I am developing a project (together with Christopher Claassen, University of Glasgow) which proposes methods of model-based population inference to produce reliable estimates of the civic integration and democratic behavior of religious minorities in Europe. In particular, the project presents the method of multilevel regression with post-stratification (MRP) as a viable solution for the many data limitations in the study of religious diversity. MRP is the current ‘gold standard’ in the estimation of political preferences in small geographic units. The proposed project will adapt this approach and leverage its methodological promises in a completely new field of application: the study of small socio-demographic sub-groups.

Papers:

Claassen, C. & Traunmüller, R. (2017). Improving and Validating Survey Estimates of Religious Demography Using Bayesian Multilevel Models with Poststratification. (Revise & Resubmit)

 

How Should the Democratic State Regulate Religious Diversity?

A second research project focuses on citizens’ preferences for the political regulation of religious diversity. I argue that existing research largely simplifies the formation of attitudes towards religious diversity and misrepresents the policy alternatives available to democratic governments. The key intuition is that citizens’ acceptance of religious diversity and Muslim immigration is a function of the way it is politically regulated. Preliminary work in this direction includes an online survey experiment that elicits UK citizens’ tolerance toward religious minorities conditional on regulatory acts by the authorities (together with Marc Helbling, Bamberg/WZB).

Papers:

Helbling, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2016). How State Support of Religion Shapes Attitudes Toward Muslim Immigrants. New Evidence from a Subnational Comparison. Comparative Political Studies 49(1): 391-424. Best Paper Award (‘Honorable Mention’) of the APSA section on Migration and Citizenship.

Helbling, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2017). What is Islamophobia? Disentangling Citizens’ Feelings Toward Ethnicity, Religion, and Religiosity Using a Survey Experiment. (Revise & Resubmit)

Traunmüller, R. & Helbling, M. (2017). Public Opinion Backlash to Liberal Integration Policy. The Case of Muslim Political Rights in the UK. (Under review)

Traunmüller, R. & Helbling, M. (2017). Global Migration, Religion and Citizens’ Preference for Immigration Regulation. (Work in progress)

 

The Visual Citizen

This research project presents an innovative and somewhat unusual combination of my research interests in data visualization and political participation. While the impact of data visualization has been studied is statistics, cognitive psychology, computer science, marketing and health studies I am not aware – to the best of my knowledge – of any attempts to link data visualization to political science outcomes in general or political choices of citizens in particular. The idea that data visualization can have a political impact rests mostly on anecdotal evidence related to classic examples and historical milestones of data visualization all of which used visualization to convey a political message and to influence the decisions of political actors (e.g. John Snow’s Cholera Map or Florence Nightingale’s visual effort “to affect thro’ the Eyes what we fail to convey to the public through their word-proof ears.”) Using online visualization experiments of the general population the project will elicit a) the average citizens’ visual ‘comprehension’ of political data, b) their ‘preference’ for one display over another, and c) the way data visualization affects their ‘choice’ in hypothetical and actual political behavior.

Papers:

Leemann, L. & Traunmüller, R. (2017). Polls, Uncertainty, and Perceived Uncertainty of Polls. (Work in progress)

Jäger, F. & Traunmüller, R. (2017). Graphical Perception of Political Polls. (Work in progress)

CV & Publications

Curriculum Vitae    Google Scholar Profile

 

Selected Publications

Helbling, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2016). How State Support of Religion Shapes Attitudes Toward Muslim Immigrants. New Evidence from a Subnational Comparison. Comparative Political Studies 49(1): 391-424. [Online AppendixErratum Figure 3]. Best Paper Award (‘Honorable Mention’) of the APSA section on Migration and Citizenship.

Traunmüller, R., Murr, A. & Gill, J. (2015). Modeling Latent Information in Voting Data with Dirichlet Process Priors. Political Analysis 23(1): 1-20. (Lead Article)

Traunmüller, R. & Freitag, M. (2011). State Support of Religion: Making or Breaking Faith-Based Social Capital? Comparative Politics 43(3): 253-269. (Lead Article)

Traunmüller, R. (2011). Moral Communities? Religion as a Source of Social Trust in a Multilevel Analysis of 97 German Regions. European Sociological Review 27(3): 346-363.

Freitag, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2009). Spheres of Trust. An Empirical Analysis of the Foundations of Particularized and Generalized Trust. European Journal of Political Research 48(6): 782-803.

Teaching

Current Course

Theory Building and Causal Inference (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2017)

 

Upcoming Courses

Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2017)

Data Visualization  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2017)

 

Past Courses

Data Visualisation (Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, University of Essex, July/August 2017)

Democracy: Theory and Practice (BA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Summer Term 2017)

Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences I (Graduate Workshop, CDSS, University of Mannheim, March/April 2017)

Experiments in Political Behavior (MA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2016/17)

Data Visualization (BA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2016/17)

Data Visualization (Workshop, MZES, University of Mannheim, December 16th)

Data Visualization (Graduate Workshop, CUSO, University of Berne, November 3rd-5th)

Theory Building and Causal Inference (Graduate Workshop, CDSS, University of Mannheim, October 5th-7th.)

Data Visualisation (Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, June 25th-August 5th 2016)

Introduction to Social Science Statistics (Lecture, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Summer Term 2016)

Visualizing Data and Statistical Models (Graduate Workshop, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, May 17th 2016)

Visualizing Data and Statistical Models (Workshop at the European University Institute in Florence, March 17th 2016)

The Social Logic of Democratic Politics (MA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2015/16)

Religion and Politics in Empirical Democracy Reseach (BA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2015/16)

Model Specification, Estimation and Visualization, Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis 2015

Citizens in Context: Multilevel Analysis in Empirical Democracy Research (MA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Summer Term 2015)

Data Visualization for Empirical Democracy Research (Part II) (BA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Summer Term 2015) (Tableau’s data visualization software was provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.)

Data Visualization for Empirical Democracy Research (Part I) (BA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2014/15)

Religion and Democracy (MA course, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Winter Term 2014/15)

Religion and Democracy (MA course, Institute of Political Science (IPW), University of Berne, Fall Term 2014)

Introduction to Statistics and Multilevel Analysis Using R (Three-day Workshop, University of Berne, June 2014)

Introduction to Multilevel Models (Two-day Workshop, University of Duisburg-Essen, December 2013)

Church-State Relations in Europe (MA course, Institute of Political Science (IPW), University of Berne, Fall Term 2012)

Hierarchical Models (TA, Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, University of Essex, 2012)

Hierarchical Models in Political Sociology (MA course, Institute of Political Science (IPW), University of Berne, Fall Term 2011)

Religion and Politics (BA course, Institute of Political Science (IPW), University of Berne, Fall Term 2011)

Hierarchical Models (TA, Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, University of Essex, 2011)

Bayesian Analysis in the Social Sciences (TA, Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, University of Essex, 2011)

Introduction to Political Behavior (BA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Summer Term 2011)

Graphical Data Analysis in Political Science (MA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Summer Term 2011)

The Social Logic of Politics. Social Contexts, Networks, and Political Behavior (MA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Winter Term 2010/11)

The Religious Factor in Politics (BA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Winter Term 2010/11)

Citizens and Politics. Foundations of Political Sociology (BA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Summer Term 2010)

Comparative Political Culture Research (MA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Winter Term 2009/10)

Cultural and Political Foundations of Social Capital (BA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Winter Term 2008/09, together with Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen)

Religion and Politics (BA course, Department of Politics and Management, University of Konstanz, Winter Term 2007/08)

Empirical Social Research I + II (TA, Institute for Social Sciences, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Winter Term 2002/03 – Summer Term 2007)