• Simon Munzert

    Simon Munzert

    I’m a research assistant at the Chair for Survey Research at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Currently I’m still working on my PhD which deals with issues of public opinion measurement and election forecasting. At the university my job is to teach undergrads and grads how to construct standardized questionnaires and to manage surveys in the field, how to forecast elections and (of course) how to use R for web scraping and text mining. If you want to know more about how I came up with the idea of the book, check out this link where Alison Oliver from Wiley gave me the chance to ponder on the whole project again.

    My working station is a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon, i7-3667U, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, almost half of it absorbed by my DropBox. My software setup is more conservative and certainly needs refurbishment (if habits weren't that settled). While I use RStudio mainly for teaching purposes, I still stick to the interplay of Notepad++ and R via Npp2R in my daily workflow. Besides I write in LaTeX (with TexStudio or RStudio) and use Beamer for presentations.

    In order to keep up with my favorite blogs I use Feedly in Chrome and Reeder on the iPhone. It's hard to identify resources on the Web that I like most. and keep me on track with updates from the R community, and the Guardian Datablog and are incredibly informative and inspiring sources of data journalism. For leisure I regularly follow the obscure (German) hodgepodge of Internet curiosities at and the retro games podcast Other fantastic podcasts I listen to from time to time are 99% Invisible and This American Life.

  • Christian Rubba

    Christian Rubba

    I'm a PhD candidate at the departmentof political science at the University of Zurich. My current research interests span topics in electoral system and representation research, as well as quantitative methods and statistical software. When I'm not working on my thesis, I have been teaching courses on electoral misconduct and quantitative methods.

    My workflow these days is heavily centered on the R language for accessing, reshaping and analyzing data. The standard R GUI for Mac suits me well enough for most of my R-related tasks, but when it comes to developing packages, I prefer the comfort and built-in tools of the RStudio IDE. System-wise I feel at home with any type of UNIX-like OS and my XPS 13 Dell Developer Laptop uses Linux Ubuntu accordingly.

  • Dominic Nyhuis

    I am a research assistant at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, University of Mannheim. In my research I focus on the German political system, specifically on the behavior of individual political actors — both in the parliamentary arena and on the campaign trail. I am also interested in electoral systems, vote advice applications (and their many usages for political research) and political methodology more generally. In my PhD, I have investigated small-area preferences of the German electorate and their effects on the position-taking of candidates.

    My interest in web scraping began while I was working on my master’s thesis. I investigated the effects of the Eastern enlargement of the European Union on policy preferences in the European Parliament using parliamentary speeches. To avoid having to collect the data by hand, I took a detour and learned some Python. While I had previously worked with R, it never occurred to me to use it for anything besides statistical analysis. I have since learned of all the great tools that have been implemented in R for interacting with the web. As I prefer not to switch too much between languages I have gradually shifted my web scraping tasks to R and do so almost exclusively at this point.