Stefan Müller
Assistant Professor
University College Dublin

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. My research focuses on political representation, party competition, political communication, public opinion, and quantitative text analysis. My work has been published, among others, in the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, the European Journal of Political Research, and Political Science Research and Methods.

I lead two funded research projects. The first project assesses environmental and energy policies in comparative perspective. The project is embedded into the multidisciplinary energy research programme NexSys. The second project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, analyses grant peer review reports using computational text analysis and machine learning.

I am a core member of the Connected_Politics Lab, co-author of the quanteda R package, maintainer of the Irish Polling Indicator, and have been selected as a member of the Young Academy Ireland. I established the Text and Policy Research Group, comprising three PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers.


Text and Policy Research Group

UCD Profile Page


Google Scholar Profile | Scopus Profile

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

Conditionally accepted. “Campaign Communication and Legislative Leadership.” Political Science Research and Methods (with Naofumi Fujimura).

2023. “Nostalgia in European Party Politics: A Text-Based Measurement Approach.” British Journal of Political Science online first (with Sven-Oliver Proksch).
PDF | Data and Code | PolNos Datasets | The Conversation

2023. “Relationship Between Journal Impact Factor and the Thoroughness and Helpfulness of Peer Reviews.” PLOS Biology 21(8): e3002238 (with Anna Severin, Michaela Strinzel, Matthias Egger, Tiago Barros, Alexander Sokolov, and Julia Vilstrup Mouatt).
PDF | Data and Code | Nature Q&A

2023. “Reactions to Experts in Deliberative Democracy: The 2016–2018 Irish Citizens’ Assembly.” Irish Political Studies 38(4): 467–488 (with Garrett Kennedy and Tomás Maher).
PDF | Data and Code

2023. “Evidence for the Irrelevance of Irrelevant Events.” Political Science Research and Methods 11(2): 311–327 (with Liam Kneafsey).
PDF | Data and Code | ECPR The Loop

2023. “Leader of the Pack? Changes in ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’ After a Politburo Collective Study Session.” The China Quarterly 254: 484–493 (with Samuel Brazys and Alexander Dukalskis).
PDF | Data and Code

2023. “How Slack Facilitates Communication and Collaboration in Seminars and Project-Based Classes.” Journal of Educational Technology Systems 51(3): 303–316.
PDF | Data and Code

2022. “Issue Ownership and Agenda Setting in the 2019 Swiss National Elections.” Swiss Political Science Review 28(2): 190–208 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
PDF | Data and Code

2022. “The Temporal Focus of Campaign Communication.” The Journal of Politics 84(1): 585–590.
Best Paper Award, Manifesto Corpus Conference (2018)
PDF | Data and Code | JOP Blog

2022. “Social Media and Political Agenda Setting.” Political Communication 39(1): 39–60 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
PDF | Data and Code

2022. “Voter Expectations of Government Formation in Coalition Systems: The Importance of the Information Context.” European Journal of Political Research 61(1): 111–133 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).
PDF | Data and Code

2022. “Building Research Infrastructures to Study Digital Technology and Politics: Lessons from Switzerland.” PS: Political Science & Politics 55(2): 354–359 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Lucien Baumgartner, Clau Dermont, Karsten Donnay, Theresa Gessler, Maël Kubli, and Lucas Leemann).
PDF | Data and Code

2021. “Gender, Candidate Emotional Expression, and Voter Reactions During Televised Debates.” American Political Science Review 115(4): 1242–1257 (with Constantine Boussalis, Travis G. Coan, and Mirya R. Holman).
Walter Lippmann Best Article of the Year Award, APSA Political Communication Section (2022)
PDF | Data and Code

2021. “Are Irish Voters Moving to the Left?” Irish Political Studies 36(4): 535–555 (with Aidan Regan).
Best Paper Award, PSAI Annual Conference (Elizabeth Meehan Prize, 2021)
PDF | Data and Code | Podcast

2021. “The Incumbency Advantage in Second-Order PR Elections: Evidence from the Irish Context, 1942–2019.” Electoral Studies 71: 102331 (with Michael Jankowski).
PDF | Data and Code

2021. “Social Media and Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Switzerland.” Swiss Political Science Review 27(2): 243–256 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
PDF | Data and Code

2020. “Media Coverage of Campaign Promises Throughout the Electoral Cycle.” Political Communication 37(5): 696–718.
PDF | Data and Code

2020. “The Electoral Cycle Effect in Parliamentary Democracies.” Political Science Research and Methods 8(4): 795–802 (with Tom Louwerse).
PDF | Data and Code | LSE: EUROPP

2020. “Campaigns and the Selection of Policy-Seeking Representatives.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 45(3): 397–431 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).
PDF | Data and Code

2019. “Do Voters Really Prefer More Choice? Determinants of Support for Personalised Electoral Systems.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 29(2): 262–281 (with Michael Jankowski).
PDF | Data and Code

2018. “quanteda: An R Package for the Quantitative Analysis of Textual Data.” Journal of Open Source Software 3(30): 774 (with Kenneth Benoit, Kohei Watanabe, Haiyan Wang, Paul Nulty, Adam Obeng, and Akitaka Matsuo).
Society for Political Methodology Statistical Software Award (2020)
PDF | Software Repository

2018. “Voter Preferences and Party Loyalty under Cumulative Voting: Political Behaviour after Electoral Reform in Bremen and Hamburg.”Electoral Studies 51: 93–102 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).

2018. “Assessing the Influence of Neutral Grounds on Match Outcomes.” International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 18(6): 892–905 (with Liam Kneafsey).
PDF | Data and Code

Other Publications

2023. Quanteda Tutorials (with Kohei Watanabe).

Current Research

Revise & Resubmit

Campaign Communication and Legislative Leadership (with Naofumi Fujimura), revise & resubmit.

Discourse Wars and ‘Mask Diplomacy’: China’s Global Image Management in Times of Crisis (with Samuel Brazys and Alexander Dukalskis), revise & resubmit.
PDF | ECPR The Loop

Legislating Landlords: Private Interests, Issue Emphasis, and Policy Positions (with Jihed Ncib), revise & resubmit.

Under Review

Mapping Digital Campaign Strategies: How Political Candidates Use Social Media to Communicate Constituency Connection and Policy Stance (with James P Cross, Derek Greene, and Martijn Schoonvelde).

Working Papers

Catalysts for Change? Mapping Policy Recommendations in Academic Publications on Climate Change and Net Zero Energy Systems (with Brian Boyle and Yen-Chieh Liao).

Do Legislators Learn how to be Legislators? The Life Cycle to Parliamentary Rhetoric (with Shaun Bowler, Gail McElroy, and Jihed Ncib).

If you would like to get access to the latest version of a paper, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Book Project

Text Analysis Using R (with Kenneth Benoit).
Draft Version


Assessing and Explaining Environmental and Energy Policies in Comparative Perspective

Logo of NexSys: Next Generation Energy Systems

Project Summary: Political parties, politicians, companies, and interest groups increasingly discuss how to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions future, but systematic evidence that tracks these political debates is still lacking. The project “Assessing and Explaining Environmental and Energy Policies in Comparative Perspective” seeks to identify the problems political actors raise and solutions they offer regarding renewable energy, sustainability, and water treatment. The project will also assess how companies and interest groups aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. By combining quantitative text analysis, human coding, and supervised machine learning, it will define and map (proposed) policies relating to the environment and sustainability, and provide recommendations for policymakers.

The project is part of NexSys, a newly established All Island SFI Strategic Partnership Programme. NexSys focuses on the transition to a net zero carbon energy system. It is a unique partnership bringing together a multidisciplinary research team, industry, and policymakers to tackle fundamental research questions to be addressed as part of the transition to net Zero. Hosted by UCD Energy Institute, NexSys brings together academics from nine institutions across the Island of Ireland (University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, ESRI, Maynooth University, University College Cork, NUI Galway, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast) to work together to meet the unprecedented scale and complexity of the challenges associated with the energy transition.

Funding Volume: €183,018 (total funding: €16,000,000)

Interviews, Reports, and Outputs:

Analysing Grant Peer Review Reports Using Machine Learning

Logo of the Swiss National Science Foundation

Project Summary: Peer review plays an essential role in grant evaluation. External peer review reports by international experts contribute to assessing the feasibility and quality of grant applications and provide an essential basis for funding decisions. In addition, they help justify rejections and provide feedback, which may help applicants improve their research. Peer review thus has the power to influence which researchers and what kind of research receives funding and can subsequently be conducted. For funding organisations, peer review must fulfil these functions. Peer review reports should also be in line with their understanding of quality. Peer review should also enable fair, transparent, and efficient funding decisions and foster diversity in research (ideas, methodologies, and approaches) and researchers.

This research project is a collaboration between University College Dublin and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The project will analyse the texts of anonymised grant review reports along several dimensions using human coding and machine learning. We seek to conceptualise characteristics of grant peer review reports and classify a large corpus of review reports. The project investigates whether strategic initiatives and new evaluation procedures have the desired effects on the content and structure of review reports.

Funding Volume: €276,099


I established the Text and Policy Research Group, comprising six researchers from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United States. The research undertaken by the international team share a commonality: the application of computational text analysis methods to address substantive questions and provide policy recommendations. Our current projects focus on legislative politics, political communication, higher education policy, climate and energy policies, and science policy.

Current Team Members

Former Team Members

You find more information about the team and our current projects on the website of the Text and Policy Research Group.


Module Instructor: Undergraduate Level

Module Instructor: Postgraduate Level

I maintain and continuously update a GitHub repository with the syllabi of all modules.

Workshop Instructor

I could also teach these workshops at your institution. Do not hesitate to contact me.

Teaching and Supervision Qualifications

Teaching Awards


+353 (0) 1 716 8661

Room G312, Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Office Hours: Mondays, 12:30–14:00 (Schedule a meeting via Calendly)

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