Real-time mapping Election TV Debates

I’ve just Dialogue Mapped the first UK Election TV Debate in Compendium.

The web export went up just after the debate closed…

UK Election TV Debate1 - Dialogue Map

UK Election TV Debate1 - Dialogue Map

Hopefully these help to clarify the different contributions made by the three leaders, as well providing a gestalt overview of the most contentious topics (check out all the red challenges links in some topics, such as the economy) and where they were most consensual (check out all the green supports links in the final debate on care for the elderly). A more detailed, reflective analysis would seek to connect claims and assertions to websites with supporting/challenging evidence, other statements made by them, and their manifestos. In addition, we would examine the kinds of arguments made in the text of the nodes, and in the argumentative connections, and possibly explode those into sub-maps, using visual templates of argumentation schemes (see this article on mapping the Iraq debate to how this works).

Note that I started to map from the ITV website’s streaming video, but the connection kept breaking, so I lost contributions, and switched to the TV. But here’s a screenshot showing the opening minutes of the debate, being mapped live, before I switched [zipped QuickTime movie – 10.2Mb].

Dialogue Mapping from video stream

Dialogue Mapping from video stream

Comments welcomed. Shall we do this live in the studio next time? 😉

19 Responses to “Real-time mapping Election TV Debates”

  1. This is very cool, Simon! It’s amazing how quickly you can get a sense of the issues and arguments by browsing through the maps. And it’s fun to see the new curvy links in action. I also appreciated having the main map embedded in the upper left of the other maps … Compendium’s version of the “Up” button.

    When I see maps that are mostly idea nodes, I often wonder what the readability/approachability is for C maps vs something more traditional like an outline or narrative. Has anyone done any usability studies about maps versus more linear text? Clearly the maps work well for visual thinkers & learners — do they get in the way for non-visual types?


  2. Is one of the intentions to draw out the meta-arguments? I guess I’m wondering if there is a way to denote abstractions of the actual argument. E.g., “I want to appear PM material” or “People need to see me as honest and fair”.

    Interesting exercise!

  3. Great job mapping the main points of the debate. I think I’d rather view these than the broadcast itself. It is much easier to get the gist, thanks mostly to your real-time capture skills. The Compendium 2.0 curvy links and top-down format are easy on both eye and brain.

  4. Commentary on this work on a few other Open U channels includes John Naughton, and Platform

  5. Jeff

    Thanks, and good question. There is a growing body of evidence about the strengths and weaknesses of different ways to represent arguments. A comprehensive literature analysis was just published which summarises the empirical evidence…

    “Computer-supported argumentation: a review of the state of the art”

    In addition, there’s this book chapter.


  6. > Is one of the intentions to draw out the meta-arguments?
    > I guess I’m wondering if there is a way to denote abstractions
    > of the actual argument. E.g., “I want to appear PM material”
    > or “People need to see me as honest and fair”.

    Hi Neil

    Absolutely. Sampling fragments from multiple maps in order to bring them together in a new context is a key part of what Compendium supports. We can embed selected nodes in new “meta maps” which are then commented on (but with the nodes preserving the links back to their original context). This process is what I do in the blog post commenting on visualizing Nick Clegg’s moves.

    In Compendium we might also use the tagging interface to annotate nodes in the network with properties such as these.


  7. Just seen that one of the leading debate mappers, David Price at Debategraph, has started

  8. Note that this pilot work has since developed into a new project to map the anticipated 2015 Election Debates:


  9. […] last night’s real time mapping of the first TV election debate, here’s one thought from reviewing the maps over […]

  10. […] a follow-up for those of you who’ve been following the real time mapping of the first TV election debate, and are interested to pitch in, or for those of you interested in the technological aspects of […]

  11. […] the dialogue mapping of Debate-1, I’ve just added in the Debate-2 Dialogue Maps from this evening’s broadcast with a few […]

  12. […] to some annotation work from Anna De Liddo, here’s a movie showing how once we’d mapped the first election debate, we can subsequently map the nodes and connections onto the replay of the video, for educational or […]

  13. […] our own real time mapping of the election TV debates, this embedded map links through to an analysis of Debate 2 by David Price at Debategraph. We will […]

  14. […] Buckingham Shum, from the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University UK, mapped the first UK election Tv debate in 2010 (or at least the few first minutes before his connection was interrupted).  ”Dialogue […]

  15. […] on KMi’s real time mapping of the debates, and drawing inspiration from other projects that experimented with augmented TV replays, the […]

  16. […] The media is saturated with commentaries on the personalities that came through, who had ‘won’, and in some cases, the quality of the debate. In KMi, we’ve started exploring mapping ideas, starting from our 2010 General Election maps. […]

  17. […] Shum, Simon. “Real-Time Mapping Election TV Debates.” April 15, 2010. Accessed 21 Jan. […]

  18. […] another form, and you can read all about it in my first post on this blog. Simon Buckingham Shum laid out the 2010 televised election debate in the UK using a CSAV tool, and it’s a really great […]

  19. […] Buckingham Shum, Simon. 2010. “Real-Time Mapping Election TV Debates.” April 15, 2010. […]

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