Tracing public opinion
5 December 2013
Cardiff's Universities' Police Science Institute in partnership with the School of Computer Science and Informatics has been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to use their innovative work on social media analytics to look at the community impacts of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
For the first time, the research will examine how public opinion developed and evolved in reaction to the crime as new information about it emerged and look at how members of the public used social media to share knowledge about the crime.
The study will involve analysis of publicly available data, which has been collected from the time of the incident and will continue to the conclusion of the criminal justice process.
Professor Martin Innes, Director of the Institute and Principal Investigator on the project said:
"Social media played an important role in bringing information about the murder of Lee Rigby to the public's attention. With this project we will be using advanced analytic methods to track in fine-grained detail how public understandings of this crime and reactions to it, evolved and adapted as new details became available.
"This work will be a world first in terms of being able to trace the arc of public opinion and sentiment from crime scene to the court case."
British Army Fusilier Lee Rigby was publicly murdered as he walked back to Woolwich
Barracks in southeast London on May 22, 2013. The two individuals accused of his murder are currently on trial at the Old Bailey. The case continues.