Online referendum debate explored

The quality of online political debate around Scotland's independence referendum has been explored in a Coffee House lecture, marking the University of Strathclyde's 50th anniversary.

The lecture, by Dr Mark Shephard, of Strathclyde’s School of Government & Public Policy, examined the content of internet discussions around Scotland’s independence referendum.

Dr Shephard considered whether comments stand up to ideals of discussion and information-sharing and discussed what to look out for when reading social media comments.

The Coffee House Lecture series reaffirms Strathclyde’s roots in the 18th- century age of Enlightenment, when the coffee houses of Britain’s towns and cities became hotbeds of comment, debate and the exchange of new ideas.

The University’s founder, John Anderson, espoused a vision of a place of ‘useful learning’ which would bring education to citizens. This series of informal talks by some of Strathclyde’s leading academics is inspired by his legacy and aims to invoke the spirit of the Enlightenment by inspiring curiosity, discussion and debate.