← Volume 12: Challenges and Perspectives of Hate Speech Research


Challenges of Comparative Research on Hate Speech in Media User Comments

Comparing countries, platforms, and target groups

Christian Schemer & Liane Reiners

Berlin, 2023
DOI 10.48541/dcr.v12.8 (SSOAR)

Abstract: Hate speech is a phenomenon studied in numerous disciplines by many researchers. This research has produced a variety of findings, e.g., with regard to the prevalence of hate, common targets or differences between platforms or countries. However, previous research also comes with conceptual and methodological challenges, e.g., definitions or operationalizations of hate speech in empirical studies. The present chapter focuses on the issue of equivalence in previous hate speech research—a well-known problem of comparative research in general. To compare research findings relating to hate speech across different contexts scholars need to consider the equivalence with respect to definitions, methods, measurements, procedures, and also the sampling communication content. We provide an overview about potential pitfalls and biases that can be due to a lack of equivalence and point to strategies on how to address them.


Christian Schemer is Professor for Communication at the Department of Communication at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany. ORCID logo

Liane Reiners is a research assistant at the Department of Communication at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany.

Schemer, C., & Reiners, L. (2023). Challenges of comparative research on hate speech in media user comments: Comparing countries, platforms, and target groups. In C. Strippel, S. Paasch-Colberg, M. Emmer, & J. Trebbe (Eds.), Challenges and perspectives of hate speech research (pp. 127–139). Digital Communication Research. https://doi.org/10.48541/dcr.v12.8

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