About IMPECT Study



Parliamentary elections in India are the largest democratic elections in the world. If the incumbent government is able to complete its full term, elections are held every five years. Many factors have changed the way elections and political campaigns are conducted during the last three decades. Two of such factors include economic liberalization and the emergence of digital and social media. Economic reforms in 90s have seen the Indian society changing in significant ways, which include lowering poverty rates and increasingly higher degree of media penetration in the country. Emergence of digital and social media has also been instrumental in bypassing mainstream media and creating alternative channels of political communication. This has lead to a complex and sometimes chaotic media environment, especially during the election season where the large number of information sources with varying degrees of credibility makes it difficult to get an accurate understanding of the political environment. 

In this project, we plan to study the election environment by studying content on the social media profiles of main political parties and their key leaders and also the content on the websites of the most popular print and broadcast media entities. 

Our objective is not to focus on the electoral results. There are a large number of exit polls and survey studies that already do that. Our objective is to observe how the conduct of the political actors during the campaign is communicated through social and mainstream media. We will generate data using empirical research methods and will provide commentaries using inputs from experts from a range of fields including political science, constitution, and journalism and communication. We will also explore the ethical aspects of elections in a democracy and will discuss the findings in light of ideas from constitution and other foundational documents. 

More specifically, we are interested in observing the following aspects of campaigns by political parties over during the election season:

1. Issues and agenda: How are the issues covered and projected and how they rise and fall in prominence across time, locations, and contexts?

2. Media sources: In their communication on social media, what kind of information/media sources are used by political actors? 

3. Opinion survey and Exit polls: How do political parties select and communicate formal/informal research studies and their findings from a varying set of entities that are involved with such research. 

4. Coverage of leadership: How are key leaders covered and how their personalities are communicated as a brand?

5. Election tactics: What kinds of election tactics are used. How often are negative campaigning techniques used and personal accusations are made? 

6. Popular content: What is the nature of the content that becomes highly popular on social media? What kinds of message/media features are more commonly seen in such content? Are there other situational factors involved? 

Core Team

Investigating Advisor

Prof. (Dr.) K V Nagaraj

Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Assam University, India

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ankuran Dutta

Associate Professor & Head, Dept of Communication & Journalism, Gauhati University & Managing Trustee, ARMT

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jatin Srivastava

Associate Professor, E W Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, USA

Research Officer

Research Associate

Design Associate

Admin Assistant

Content Editor

Research Assistant

Raja Das

Sanjib Bora

Pallab Bharali

Ankita Agarwal


Dr. Barasha Deka

Dr. Badan Barman

Dr. Anupa Lahkar Goswami

Dr. Bharati Bharali

Dr. Moushumi Bhattacharjee

Guest Analysts

Prof. Mrinal Chatterjee

IIMC, Dhenkanal, Orissa

Prof. Mohammad Sahid Ullah

Chitagong Univ, Bangladesh

M C Rasmin

Media Researcher, Colombo

Dr. Kalinga Seneveratne

Media Educator, Singapore

Prof. Satyakam Borthakur

     Dibrugarh University

Dr. Dev Vrat Singh

CU of Jharkhand, Ranchi

Prof. Govindji Pandey

BBAU, Lucknow

Dr. Pallavi Guha

Towson Univ, USA

Dr. S Arulchelvan

Anna Univ, Chennai

Dr. S Arulchelvan

Anna Univ, Chennai

Dr. Sudhamshu Dahal

Kathmandu Univ, Nepal

Dr. Sapna Naik

University of Mysore

Nisansela Jayawardhana

Eastern Univ, Sri Lanka

Dr. Panthukala Srinivas

EFLU, Hyderabad

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