Three questions for … Sylvia Kritzinger


In the AUTNES Online Panel Study 2017, more than 4,000 Austrians were asked about their political views. The data set is now available at AUSSDA.

"How do you like the following politicians? Which domestic issues are important to you? How often do you inform yourself about political events in Austria?" Political scientist Sylvia Kritzinger and her research colleagues at the University of Vienna have asked several thousand adults in Austria these and many other questions. More than 4,000 people responded online in six waves before and after the National Council elections in October 2017. The result: A dataset that can be used to characterize social sentiment, political education and attitudes and their changes. For researchers, the dataset is available in the AUSSDA-Dataverse. We asked Sylvia Kritzinger for a short interview.

From your point of view, what is exciting about the study?

National elections are exciting moments in representative democracies. On election day, the future political orientation of the country is decided. Political science has therefore for many decades placed a special focus on elections - and in particular on national elections. The questioning of voters is a central element in order to understand and explain why which election decision was taken by whom on election day. Our study records the political attitudes of voters, their positions on various policy areas, but also their emotions and which communication channels they choose to inform themselves politically. In general, our study includes a lot of information about the voters that gives us a better understanding of the outcome of an election.

Is there a detail in the results that particularly surprised you?

To keep up the tension: There are many exciting results in our data. Due to the fact that we have collected data from many different areas, there is something for everyone. So I suggest to get a picture of the data and to find the one or the other exciting result - which might run contrary to your own ideas. 

Why do you make your data accessible?

We collect data from a purely scientific perspective and would like to make this high-quality data accessible to others. The more people work with this data or can form their own objective picture, the better our understanding of elections and the events surrounding elections. We also see it as one of our tasks as scientists to democratize research. Accessibility to research data is one step in this direction. 

Sylvia Kritzinger (© Nina Gruber - Sommerhochschule Uni Wien)