Konstantin Gavras, PhD Student in Political Psychology

University of Mannheim | Data Enthusiast | R & Python User

Curriculum Vitae

e-Mail: konstantin@gavras.de

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Konstantin Gavras, M.A.

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences in Political Science, research associate at the Chair of Political Psychology at the University of Mannheim and doctoral researcher for the MZES project “Fighting together, moving apart? European common defence and shared security in an age of Brexit and Trump” funded by the VW-Stiftung.


My core research interests comprise the intersection of Social Psychology and Political Behavior, focusing on the behavioral consequences and conditions underlying political attitudes regarding both domestic and foreign policies. I am also interested in the determinants of political attitudes and their impact on voting behavior and the mechanisms of elite-media-public political communication. Methodologically, I employ natural language processing, multi-level modeling, quantitative text analysis and latent modeling framework. My research has been published in Research & Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, the Politische Vierteljahresschrift and the International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

In my dissertation, I am examining political communication in multi-level systems with conflicting elite actors. Examplified by the Common Security and Defense Policy of the European Union, I show that a Europeanization of policy-making also has attitudinal and communicative consequences. Analyzing both text and survey data from all over Europe, I aim to provide a comprehensive picture of political communication in this multi-level system.

Together with my great collegues I am also working on several smaller projects including a machine learning approach to derive ideological positioning and its dependency on the political discourse based on press releases by the German political parties, and a rigorous test of the conflicting hypotheses regarding the changes in citizenship and democratic norms over one’s lifespan. I am involved in a project examining the persistence of the winner-loser effects after elections. Additionally, I work on a project investigating the peculiarities of information search processes in the political domain based on the Attraction Search Effect.

I make use of several statistical software in my projects. I mainly work with R for multivariate analysis and web scraping as well as Python for natural language processing and machine learning projects. Additionally, I use Stata and MPlus for specific research projects and am able to work with SPSS and apply MS Office and LaTeX as text processing and presenting tools.


Since August 2016 I teach undergraduate seminars in Political Sociology and Quantitative Methods. I taught classes on political ideologies and their impact on attitudes and behavior, a reading seminar on the classics of political attitude and voting research, and gave statistical courses in multi-level modeling and survey experiments. In Autumn 2018, I also received the Baden-Württemberg Zertifikat für Hochschuldidaktik.

My teaching for the undergraduate seminar “Ideologien, Einstellungssysteme und ihre politischen Konsequenzen” in Autumn 2016 was awarded with the GESS Teaching Award 2017.

Data Science

From July 2018 to February 2019 I was working as a Data Scientist for the health and fitness company Vitaliberty GmbH developing a Shiny-based dashboard to evaluate the performance of the fitness app FiTS. Currently, I am developing an R-package which allows users to retrieve large-scale data sets from the Internet Archive using their API for research on public political communication or historic internet content. I also gave several talks on the implementation and deployment of Shiny Apps.


Since early 2015 I am member of CorrelAid, a network of young data analysts who seek to change civic society with a more inclusive, integrated and innovative approach to data analysis. The network takes a leading role in pro-bono data analysis and consultation for social organizations within Germany. CorrelAid builds on three pillars: It takes a pioneer role in analytics consulting for Non-Profit-Organizations. It connects young, driven data scientists and offers them the possibility to apply and develop their skills on real world problems. And it starts a dialogue on the potential of data and analytics for civic society.

With the establishment of CorrelAid, I became a member of our pilot project with the Boy Scouts of Northern Germany and carried out our project with the Assocation of Debatting Unions at Universities (VDCH) and the German Debating Union (DDG) as team leader. In the last years, I was building a local chapter at the University of Mannheim in which CorrelAid provides the students with workshops and collaborative projects throughout the Rhine Neckar region. Currently, I am CFO of Correlaid.

If you want to learn more about CorrelAid, support our great work or become a member of the network, visit us on our website or follow us on Twitter.