A couple of Instagram stories here a TikTok video there: The pervasiveness of our everyday lives with more and more media content consumed in a short period of time has completely changed the way we access and deal with information: Due to their everyday use of and the strong fusion of their lives with social media, it is young people who are most affected by this development. The project “Young Citizen Scientists against Disinformation” aims to explore the topic of disinformation from the perspective of those young adults, by involving them into the research project by a Citizen Science approach. As everyday life of young adults has changed a lot due to the constant confrontation with media content and information, they must become researchers themselves to critically analyse (dis-)information. Therefore, the project puts emphasis on coping strategies and the processes of valuing (dis-)information, as opposed to the truthfulness of the content being delivered. To put this aim into practice, the University for Continuing Education Krems and the FH St. Pölten will work together with Citizen Scientists from three classes of higher schools in Lower Austria (HLW Tulln, HTL St. Pölten, BRG Krems). The citizen scientists are invited to define the phenomenon of “disinformation” from their perception and to adapt the research focus on that behalf. Moreover, they will collect and analyse data on (dis-)information relevant for them in their everyday lives. The data may contain information about where and how they are confronted with disinformation, research, and evaluation behaviour as well as questions and uncertainties about the topic. Additionally, researchers will prepare research material and questions concerning three topic areas that will be discussed together with the young Citizen Scientists. Those topic areas include (1) perspectives and approaches of politics and science and how young people feel they have been addressed by those until now; (2) state interventions and civil protection and how they value current regulations as well as (3) technical solutions and what role technical applications and tools play in their (dis-)information practices. Both, the data collected by the Citizen Scientists as well as the data collected by the researchers will be discussed, analysed and interpreted together with the Citizen Scientists in class. Finally, the research project will contribute a Citizen Science based concept for a future disinformation platform/infrastructure/tool, building on the findings of the research project, on how to address young adults needs and wishes.


Duration 02/05/2024 - 31/10/2026
Funding Bundesländer (inkl. deren Stiftungen und Einrichtungen)
GFNÖ FTI Programm Niederösterreich

Department for E-Governance and Administration

Center for Infrastructural Security

Principle investigator for the project (University for Continuing Education Krems) Bettina Pospisil, BA MA
Project members
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