Research in the Lab


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A qualitative examination of the summer – winter difference in newspaper reports on homelessness (2024)

Previous research in the lab revealed a greater interest in homelessness during Christmas period. This partially negated the hypothesis of colder weather related spike in interest. This follow up work is undertaking a qualitative examination to investigate if the nature of attention also changes between summer and winter months.


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Better language on homelessness (2021-24)

The project examined stigmatising language on homelessness and developed a guide for improving communicative practices when talking about homelessness. The project was funded by a Centre for Homelessness Impact grant.

Apurv has just completed the development of a non-stigmatising language guide on homelessness. This work was funded by the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI). The guide is first of its kind on homelessness to go beyond problematic labels and look at how homelessness stigma develops through ways in which we use language and express ideas. The language guide is due to be launched in summer 2024 as a part of CHI’s End it with Evidence campaign.

People involved: Apurv Chauhan, Himanshu Singh, Juliet Foster

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Estimating Collective Emotions within countries using Twitter posts (2021-23)​

Researchers in the lab estimated Collective Emotions (CEs) using Twitter and developed a novel methodology for identifying events of collective emotional significance at the level of countries.

A novel approach to detect large-scale emotional shifts using social media data is presented by the study. A new method to estimate collective emotions across countries is introduced in this study by analyzing Twitter data. Daily levels of anxiety and positive emotions were estimated from over 200 million words from Twitter posts from 16 countries. It was found that in all 16 countries, a drop in collective anxiety and a rise in positive emotions were experienced following the WHO’s pandemic declaration and announcements of economic support and lockdowns. This suggests that an uplifting effect on shared emotions was produced by reducing uncertainty around the evolving pandemic situation.

People involved: Apurv Chauhan, Vivek Belhekar, Surbhi Sehgal, Himanshu Singh, Jay Prakash

Regional bias in media attention to homelessness

London receives most mentions in news but when adjusted for the burden of homelessness, the North West of England receives the most attention.

Between 2001 and 2020, the 11 national newspapers in the study published over 4,000 major news stories, with around 1,600 of them mentioning at least one major town or city in England. London was by far the most frequently mentioned region, appearing in nearly half of these stories. Other areas like the North West, South East, and South West also received relatively more media attention. In contrast, the North East and East Midlands stood out for their lack of coverage – there were full years where no major town or city from these regions was mentioned in any of the top news stories. This study highlighted the disparity in press focus across different parts of England over the past two decades.

People involved: Apurv Chauhan

It is not about the cold but Christmas!

Our research shows the surge in homeless media coverage during winter isn’t driven by the cold weather itself, but by the warm hearts around the Christmas season!

This project examined the amount of attention homelessness received in eleven newspapers in the UK, between January 2001 and December 2020. Results showed statistically significant influence of three meteorological seasons (spring, summer, and winter) on newspaper attention. Further analysis indicated that instead of the weather, the increase in attention is better explained by an increase in sympathy for people experiencing homelessness in the period leading up to Christmas.

People involved: Apurv Chauhan, Hiral Trivedi, Ashley Reilly-Thornton, Natasha Etherington

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