How We Work

At the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change we have three key processes that guide our work:

  1. Insights;
  2. Action;and
  3. Impact

1. Insights

Our team of highly trained analysts use cutting-edge analytical tools to isolate social media conversations of social import (these can range from big to small conversations - eg: xenophobia in Gauteng or global Climate Change denialism).

From this data set, we conduct rigorous data and narrative analysis on social media going back 10 years if we need to. We can conduct historical trends analysis - allowing us to observe, analyse and predict trends over time on any issue.

The next step is to conduct a Micro Analysis of the data. This allows us to see all the micro narratives that exist within a given conversation. From this we develop a range of key Insights. We can gain insights from the range of reasons that people use to justify their views or behavior on an issue.

We publish the findings of our insight development process. We use a range of channels including radio, TV, print, online, our own websites and social pages. Through our association with UCT, our data will be used in Masters and PHD dissertations and our methodologies will be published in peer reviewed journals.

2. Action

At the heart of Action are our citizen activists and our dialogue facilitators. We use a crowd-sourcing model to find activists. In the analysis of every conversation, we are able to identify people speaking on each side of the conversation ie: antagonists and protagonists. The protagonists are our allies, our citizen activists – those who are value aligned, and are already speaking in the conversation (eg: the anti-xenophobes, or the anti-racists). Our dialogue facilitators are in-house interns trained in dialogical skills and conflict mediation who develop, nurture and curate our bank of citizen activists.

We offer to stand alongside our citizen activists, and, through providing content, context and contacts, assist them to amplify and make their message more effective on social media.

Closely aligned to this process is the development of strategy aligned content. We are agnostic about the form content takes. It can range from a simple tweet, Facebook post or video.

Once our citizen activists are involved in the process, we encourage user generated content. Content is also developed from the insights and strategy development process. We develop a range of responses that our citizen activists can use to respond to each of these insights on social media. It is effectively a resource bank for our citizen activists.

Online support groups are private spaces that are curated by our expert partners on a project – people that we feel would benefit from support are asked to join.

Online support professionals provide expert advice in any given conversation (HIV/AIDS is a notable example) who are already engaging with citizens on public social media.

We search for questions that are being asked in real-time online and direct them to healthcare professionals to be answered.

Online training is aimed at training citizen activists in conflict resolution and mediation. Our goal is to develop a network of trained mediators to be deployed to hotspots. These can be predicted through forecasting – in which we use historical data to predicting the outbreak of various forms of violence such as service delivery protests, student action at university or xenophobic threats.

Dialogue for Social Change refers to the process in which we encourage, host, curate and develop dialogue on social media through our Dialogue Facilitators, with our Citizen Activists and a range of antagonists. This can take various forms depending on the issue and context.

Advocacy is linked to all our processes and is a bedrock of what we do.

We intend to publish the work involved in the Action process.

3. Impact

The Impact component speaks to the higher order impact we hope to achieve through our work.

We aim to create better informed citizens, develop an active citizenry, and to achieve narrative change in key social media conversations and broadly in society.

In as much as it is possible we aim to achieve behavioural change around social prejudices, across a range of sustainability related concerns and on specific public health and safety issues.

We aim to build a conflict resolution infrastructure that can help to mediate conflict before public violence occurs.

We also provide rigorous Monitoring, Measurement and Evaluation through analysing and reporting on changes in the conversation over time; analysing the social media-based behaviour of our citizen activists and reporting on the reach and impact of all of our content.