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 or is about to appear in British Journal of Political ScienceComparative Political Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Political Analysis, Political Science Research & Methods and Sociological Methods & Research, amongst others. 

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

News

02/12/2018 New Book Chapter on Data Visualization!

My book chapter on “Data Visualization for Exploration and Inference” is now published online (in German).

31/08/2018 Online First: The Sensitivity of Sensitivity Analysis!

Our paper “The Sensitivity and Sensitivity Analysis” is now online first at Political Science Research and Methods!

23/08/2018 Online First: What is Islamophobia?

Our paper “What is Islamophobia? Disentangling Citizens’ Feelings Toward Ethnicity, Religion, and Religiosity Using a Survey Experiment” is now online first at the British Journal of Political Science!

Research Interests

I study democratic challenges that arise from deep-seated societal change in a strictly quantitative-empirical perspective: global migration and religious diversity, free speech in the digital age, as well as the legacies of civil war and sexual violence. This research combines an interest in empirical democracy research, political methodology and evidence-based public policy.

 

How Should the Democratic State Regulate Religious Diversity?

This research project (together with Marc Helbling, Bamberg/WZB) focuses on citizens’ preferences for the political regulation of religious diversity. We 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 direct function of the way it is politically regulated. 

Papers:

Helbling, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2018). What is Islamophobia? Disentangling Citizens’ Feelings Toward Ethnicity, Religion, and Religiosity Using a Survey Experiment. British Journal of Political ScienceOnline First: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123418000054.

  • Best Paper Award of the CES Immigration Research Network.

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.

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

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

 

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

Currently, 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. (2018). Improving and Validating Survey Estimates of Religious Demography Using Bayesian Multilevel Models with Poststratification. Sociological Methods & Research Online First: DOI: 10.1177/0049124118769086

Ellerbrock, S., Traunmüller, R. & Claassen, C. (2018). Estimating the Opinion of Religious Minorities Using Bayesian Multilevel Models with Poststratification. (Work in progress)

 

The Politics of Free Speech and Hate Speech Regulation

To openly express one’s views is the most fundamental right in any liberal democracy. But even this right has its limits when acts of speech impinge upon the dignity and rights of others. As a result, in a world that is becoming increasingly culturally diverse and digitally connected, the regulation of ‘hate speech’ on social media has grown into a central concern.The proposed project takes recent debates as an opportunity to study what citizens think about the limits of free speech and how they balance the goals of freedom, group equality, and the prevention of harm. In particular, the project aims at finding answers to the following overarching questions: What do citizens deem acceptable in public political discourse? What preferences do citizens have for the regulation of free speech? What are relevant determinants of these preferences? Coming to terms with public sentiment towards these issues requires grappling with a host of challenging methodological problems. Existing studies fail to address the problem of social desirability bias. Given the sensitive nature of the topic and its involving of minority groups, respondents may not be willing to tell the truth about what they find acceptable. Second, previous studies are unable to elicit the context-dependence and conditionality of preferences for hate speech regulation. What is acceptable may not only depend on who says what to whom, but also on the specific context in which the utterance was made. To address these issues, we plan to implement a set of innovative, survey-based experiments and items.

 

The Democratic Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is widespread in war and has been documented to varying degrees in armed conflicts around the globe. Yet, the problem of underreporting remains a critical challenge in the study of wartime sexual violence, including its prevalence, risk factors, and consequences. To overcome this challenge, we turn to an unobtrusive method known as “list experiment” that has been shown to effectively elicit attitudes and behaviors that are fraught with problems of social desirability bias, shame or fear of repression. Equipped with this new methodology, we are in the position to study the democratic consequences of this particular form of violence in terms of its impact on civic engagement, political participation, and generalized inter-group trust in post-conflict societies. This research contributes to the recent interest in micro-studies of political violence and the democratic prospects of civil war countries.

Papers:

Traunmüller, Richard, Sara Kijewski and Markus Freitag (2018). The Silent Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence: New Evidence from a List Experiment in Sri Lanka. Journal of Conflict Resolution (conditionally accepted).

Gonzalez, Belen and Richard Traunmüller (2018). The Political Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence: Evidence from a List Experiment. Working Paper.

 

Book Project: Data Visualization for the Social Sciences

The social sciences are currently witnessing an exploding interest in data visualization techniques. This book project (under contract with Cambridge University Press in the series Methodological Tools in the Social Sciences edited by Paul Kellstedt and Guy Whitten) is intended to provide readers with a thorough introduction to the state of the art and best practice of modern data visualization from a social science perspective.

The book will be divided in three parts. Part I on the “Principles and Foundations of Data Visualization” lays the theoretical foundation of data visualization and places it in the context of more general discussions of social science methodology. Key principles are derived from a thorough understanding of graphical perception and analytic design. Part II on the “Key Tools and Methods of Data Visualization” discusses a broad array of visual methods and graphical formats that are effective in solving particular data analytic problems: making visual comparisons, visualizing time trends and correlations as well as multivariate data structures and spatial data. Part III on the “New Developments and Extensions of Data Visualization” introduces recent advances in data visualization that greatly expand the utility of visual methods: the interactive visual exploration of data, visual inference to protect against over-interpretation of random patterns, and the visualization of statistical models.

The book is highly applied in nature and emphasizes the practical aspects of data visualization in the social sciences. To illustrate the concepts and methods, examples and data from the social sciences will be used throughout the book. Example codes to reproduce the visualizations in the book will be provided on a dedicated web page.

Related papers:

Traunmüller, R. (2019). Datenvisualisierung für Exploration und Inferenz. In: Wagemann C., Goerres A., Siewert M. (eds) Handbuch Methoden der Politikwissenschaft. Springer Reference Sozialwissenschaften. Springer VS, Wiesbaden. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-16937-4_5-1.

Traunmüller, R. (2018). Visual Inference for Political Research. Working Paper.

 

CV & Publications

CV Traunmueller   Google Scholar Profile

 

Selected Publications

Traunmüller, R., Kijewski, S. & Freitag, M. (conditional accept). The Silent Victims of Sexual Violence During War: Evidence from a List Experiment in Sri Lanka. Journal of Conflict Resolution

Helbling, M. & Traunmüller, R. (2018). What is Islamophobia? Disentangling Citizens’ Feelings Toward Ethnicity, Religion, and Religiosity Using a Survey Experiment. British Journal of Political ScienceOnline First: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123418000054.

  • Best Paper Award 2017 of the CES Immigration Research Network.

Plümper, T. & Traunmüller, R. (2018). The Sensitivity of Sensitivity Analysis. Political Science Research & Methods. Online First: https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2018.30.

Claassen, C. & Traunmüller, R. (2018). Improving and Validating Survey Estimates of Religious Demography Using Bayesian Multilevel Models with Poststratification. Sociological Methods & Research Online First: DOI: 10.1177/0049124118769086

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 Article Award 2017 (‘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

Present Courses

Theory Building and Causal Inference (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2018)

Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2018)

Quantitative Methods in Political Science/Multivariate Analyses (MA course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Fall Term 2018)

 

Past Courses

The Politics of Free Speech and Censorship  (BA course, University of Mannheim, Spring Term 2018)

Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences II  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Spring Term 2018)

Survey Experiments  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Spring Term 2018)

Robustness Analysis  (Graduate course, CDSS, University of Mannheim, Spring Term 2018)

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

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)

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)