Profile of the Media Reality Division

The research of the Division takes place at the interface of communication studies and various social, technical and cultural sciences. We focus on three main thematic areas, including a broad spectrum of qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical social research:


Mediatization and Media Culture

The availability and dissemination of digital communication media and the extent of the (mediatized) everyday actions related to them are steadily increasing in a quantitative sense, but also from a qualitative point of view, media are sustainably shaping the various areas of society in terms of their meaning and significance. In order to understand this epochal transformation process and its cultural, social, economic and technological contexts, various theoretical concepts from communication science, such as those of media literacy and media culture, are further developed and empirically applied to current case studies, such as the healthy use of digital media and technologies in everyday life (research project ).


(Digital) Partizipation Research

Media represent an essential access to the world that enables participation in political and cultural life. Changes in media and society are producing a variety of new forms of media participation practices, multiplying the reference spaces for belonging and diverse the media contexts in which participation takes place. The research area conducts research e.g. on digital forms of local participation in neighborhoods, media repertoires of refugee families in Germany, and new forms of social intermediation through new media professions (e.g. political influencers). A special focus is also on the areas of counter-publicity, critical and alternative media, and the question of the extent to which citizens' media generate public value.



Virtualization and Digital Methods

Buzzwords such as gamification, augmented and virtual reality, and metaverse make it clear that many areas of the everyday world can now be considered 'digitized' and 'virtualized'. The establishment, appropriation and future scenarios of digitalization and virtualization are being investigated both application-specifically and with regard to social and public contexts (e.g. research projects and ). The further development of the methods of qualitative social research with a focus on the digitization of the survey, especially with regard to long-term studies, is being continuously advanced. 


The department supports the initiative for public communication science: