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2021 (CoConTrustO)

Constructing Confidence and Trust Online (CoConTrustO)

The cooperation with the same partners (as in 2020) from the Western Balkan countries takes up the suggestions from the previous Workshops and Summer Schools 2017-2019 and the on-line experience of 2020 and tries to combine on-line and off-line dialogue. The central theme "Constructing Confidence and Trust Online" will therefore be developed as a logical continuation of last year's theme "From Uncertainty to Confidence and Trust". The positive-constructive establishment of self-confidence and trust online is seen here as a central problem of modern digital academic and journalistic writing. The project examines online and offline, with the same participants, the (conscious) detail work to be done, which first increases the self-confidence of the "constructor" and then the trust of the listener or reader, even though the dialogue partner is only encountered online and not in real life. The short form "CoConTrustO" suggests that even more joint effort is needed to achieve (self-)trust online in dialogue than offline. This assessment is backed up by the extremely positive experiences so far, not only from the joint work in international mixed Summer School groups during interviews, presentations and discussions in the last projects, but also from the supporting karaoke and dance performances, which were developed by the Summer School participants themselves into popular evening events that promote understanding and identity. We will further develop this concept under the special perspective on- and off-line in a scientific framework.

Study and exchange

The TU Chemnitz English Department welcomes students and scholars for semesters abroad and our international Master's study program in English. Find more information on exchange opportunities on the website of our International Office. TU Chemnitz students are also encouraged to explore our Erasmus partnerships with South Eastern Europe.


Workshop in Zadar, Croatia (October 7-10, 2021)

All partners will discuss organisational aspects of the upcoming summer school in Serbia (e.g. group activities and workshops based on the needs of the students), theoretical concepts and their REAL contributions. The partners will participate in hybrid discussions and practical sessions on formatting and corpus analysis.

Workshop Schedule 


Online Meetings (June 1, 2021), 2-5 pm

[2-3 pm BBB - Project members]

Introduction of the project, discussion of the online study visit, the workshop and summer school, and REAL publications

[3-6 pm BBB - Project members and graduate students]

[3-3:10 pm] Welcome

[3:10-3:40 pm] Ibukun Filani project proposal

[3:40-4:30] Xinlei Zhang PhD dress rehearsal 

[4:30-5:30] Marina Ivanova - Research and publication guidelines for CoConTrustO projects, introduction to the Coronavirus Corpus   (Davies 2019-)

Graduate students from the partner universities are invited to send a 200-word abstract by Friday, May 28 to Marina Ivanova at

Topic ideas for the study visit, workshop, summer school, and REAL (PDF)

Join the launch of our new open access (e)book on June 4 at 4 pm: World Universities' Response to COVID-19: Remote Online Language Teaching

Insights from last year's online workshop:

Study Visit (June 1; July 9 and 16, 2021)

Promising young researchers from the partner countries will have the opportunity to present their research at the University of Chemnitz. The event consists of participating in a workshop on academic presentations, extensive feedback on their presentations, the discussion of their theses/articles in a small international Conference in Chemnitz, "Digital English World-Wide," and a meeting on the upcoming Summer School.

Topic ideas (PDF)

June 1, Tuesday, 2-5 pm

Introduction and guidelines for research projects (see Workshop webpage)

PhD students are asked to submit their 15-minute presentations by July 8 in order to get feedback on July 9.

July 9, Friday, 2-6 pm on BBB

Workshop, individual consultations on the presentations

14:00    14:45    Workshop: Narrowing down a research topic (PPT, recording) - read Sunderland (2010) 
14:45    17:45    Individual consultations

July 16, Friday, 2-6 pm on BBB (recording)

Presentation abstracts (full presentations in the cloud)

Trusting the stories we live by: Environmentalist online groups’ manifestos in ecological discourse analysis

The aim of this paper is to examine what stories the manifestos of certain online environmentalist groups are built on and to what extent they evoke trust. According to Stibbe, stories are cognitive structures which influence how individuals perceive the world while metaphors, as forms of stories, are manifested in language as trigger words which create a specific frame in the recipient’s mind. Therefore, the objective of this research is to determine the existing ecology-related metaphors and their use in online environment protection discourse as tools of building trustworthy content. This will be achieved through the employment of ecological discourse analysis and the ecocentric philosophy based upon which a trusting individual may consider themselves a part of nature and regard non-human life and the physical environment with respect.

Negotiating truth between persuasive pro-vaccination memes and readers' comments

This paper attempts to study how truth is negotiated in an interplay between persuasive pro-vaccination memes on the popular website 9gag and the users' reactions to them in the comment section. The concept of the meme is often used to refer to the social dissemination of ideas and images that shape and reflect general social mindsets in the context of new media. The paper will utilise the framework of sociocognitive discourse studies as expounded by van Dijk (2016) since readers' comments can be said to represent the reflection of the interaction between discourse structures and social structures via a sociocognitive dimension.

Rhetorical structure analysis of Serbian and American online daily news: How is readers’ trust increased?

The aim of this study is to analyse the rhetorical structures of articles from Serbian and American daily online news sources based on Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), an approach used to determine the conversational role of combinations of linguistic content (or multimodal elements) in a given text. The rhetorical structures will be compared to discover whether there are any larger differences in the way Serbian and American online news organize their articles in terms of their rhetorical structure aimed at building trust among their readers. The corpus will be gathered from the three most visited Serbian and American online news outlets (according to the website Alexa) over a two-week period.

Building trust in mental health related texts during the Corona pandemic: Approaching online readers’ positive and negative face

This paper focuses on trust building pragmatic strategies in texts about mental health during the Corona pandemic used to help readers preserve their positive and negative face, i.e., the more social and more self-sufficient part of the readers’ self-image. People with mental health problems are usually biased towards negative interpretations of utterances. This means that they are more sensitive about both their positive and negative face and less able to interpret utterances in accordance with the Pollyanna Principle, i.e., choosing the most well-intentioned interpretation of the utterance. The corpus used in this research consists of texts written mostly by psychotherapists compiled from Facebook pages and online sites dedicated to mental health. The texts analyzed primarily addressed people with mental health problems, or those in their environment. The hypothesis of this research is that different trust building strategies were used intuitively, but also that face threatening acts were not completely precluded. The aim of this research is to show how pragmatic strategies included in politeness theory can be used to a certain extent to improve the communication with people struggling with mental health issues. The analysis confirms that trust building strategies can successfully diminish the effect of face threatening acts.

The question of trust during the crisis-promoted online teaching

The existence of trust is one of the integral prerequisites for successful teaching and learning. In online education trust is more difficult to build and maintain and therefore requires a more prominent place in the teaching process. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the fast and forceful transition form face to face teaching to crisis promoted online teaching, the question of trust in education has become even more relevant. The aim of the present paper is to explore students’ levels of trust in the crisis-promoted online teaching. The subjects of the study are students at the Preschool Teacher Training College “Mihailo Palov” in Vršac. The study explores the questions of how much trust the students had in the education process during the school year 2020/2021, how they accepted the different online teaching solutions presented to them and which of the practices increased and decreased the levels of trust that the students felt. The study implements a quantitative and a qualitative approach by implementing a questionnaire and conducting semi-structured in depth interviews with students. An overview of the results is given together with suggestions for improvements in the development and nurturing of trust in the online education process.

Keywords: trust, crisis-promoted online teaching, students, best practices

The representation of the vaccination issue in British and Bosnian news discourse.

The spread of mis- and disinformation on COVID-19 and the ongoing vaccination, typically via social media, has engendered a great deal of confusion, uncertainty and mistrust in the media. Unsurprisingly, this has had a strong impact on people's attitudes towards vaccination, leading to vaccine hesitancy or even rigid anti-vaccination attitudes. This kind of coverage is to some extent counterbalanced by what can be considered as more objective and neutral reporting together with news media reports which convey pro-vaccination attitudes overtly. Both often employ different strategies to gain the public's trust. To establish how this trust is built in European news media, the present paper will analyse extracts from five British and five Bosnian pro-vaccination newspaper articles. The analysis will be based on an analytical framework within the Appraisal theory, which was designed by Peter White as a tool for distinguishing between subjective and objective texts with a special focus on evaluation and the phenomenon of attitudinal positioning.

Keywords: trust-gaining strategies, Appraisal theory, evaluation, attitudinal positioning, vaccination

Talk is Easy: English fluency development in Czech students before and after their transition from grammar school to university

While fluency has been investigated within second language studies (Sauer & Ellis, 2019), the concept has rarely been the sole focus of research attention (Peltonen, 2017). Rather, it is mentioned alongside other language features. Furthermore, when fluency has been investigated, it has been as a monologue - that is, not as part of an interaction between two or more speakers (Tavakoli, 2019). With academic writing typically being the focus at university level, my research so far has not uncovered many English language studies on the spoken fluency of Czech speakers of English, and none focusing on interactive fluency between native Czech speakers in the range of B1 to B2 CEFR.

The project will record and analyse the changes in the communicative competence, with a focus on fluency, of Czech teenagers during their final year of gymnazium study to their semester at university. To do this, spoken samples are recorded from participants as they complete a discussion activity. After being transcribed and annotated, the data is then subjected to a fluency analysis in order to reveal how fluency has changed over the study period. This project, in conjunction with my Ph.D research, reports on the changes to learner language over the study period and suggests how English language instruction at high school and university level can be altered in order to facilitate a coherent transition for students.

Nigerian stand-up comediennes performing femininity: A pragmatic analysis

Language and cultural modulation of psychiatric discourse in Nigerian orthodox psychiatry


The study visit conference allowed the young scholars to discuss their contributions on Constructing Confidence and Trust Online with an international audience 

Summer School online (November 22, 25, and 26, 2021; 3-5:30 pm) on BBB

The Summer School will gather students and teachers from the partner universities and will engage them in various enriching activities. Students will participate in workshops on useful digital tools and techniques, cooperate in international groups for small research projects, and present their national experiences of creating confidence and trust online in various contexts (education, politics, culture).

How to share your screen on BBB (Video Tutorial)


Recording 22.11.2021 Notes 22.11.2021

Recording 25.11.2021 Chat discussion 25.11.2021

Recording 26.11.2021


Please send your essay applications (2000 words) or REAL paper drafts (10 pages) on the topic of Constructing Confidence and Trust Online to Marina Ivanova by November 19 at

Topic ideas (PDF)

Screenshot from last year's digital summer school:

Insights from the summer school in Ohrid 2019:

REAL 19 abstract submissions

Establishing confidence and trust in online academic discourse: Linguistic cues to bridge digital distance.

Developing interactive confidence online: Experience from English learning at Palestinian universities.

Negotiating truth between persuasive pro-vaccination memes and users’ comments on 9gag.

The present research focuses on how the truth about COVID-19 vaccination is negotiated in the comment sections accompanying predominantly pro-vaccination memes on the humorous website 9gag. A total of 341 comments in response to 25 memes were included in the corpus, which was subsequently analysed within the framework of van Dijk’s theory of Sociocognitive Discourse Studies (SCDS). SCDS postulates the existence of a sociocognitive interface between discourse and society, and emphasises mental models as one of the most important features of cognition. The most common discourse structures identified in the corpus were opinion and emotion words, as well as global topics and themes. The paper hypothesises that despite overwhelmingly persuasive pro-vaccination content on the website, the comment section will reveal distinct division into at least two opposing groups with different mental models pertaining to vaccination. In times of crisis, the truth about vaccination as one of the most controversial aspects of the pandemic seems to be negotiated and co-created through the interaction of these mental models in the multimodal dialogue between content creators and users on 9gag.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccination, sociocognitive discourse structures, memes, comment sections, mental models, negotiation of truth

Changes in the English Language and the Importance of Language Use During Pandemics

Building Trust in Mental Health Related Texts: Approaching Online Readers’ Positive and Negative Face

This paper focuses on trust building pragmatic strategies applied in texts about mental health, used to help readers preserve their positive and negative face, i.e., the more social and more self-sufficient part of the readers’ self-image, in order to gain their trust. This construction of trust allows the text to be more helpful to the readers. The corpus used in this research consists of texts written during April and May 2021, compiled from one Facebook page and one website dedicated to mental health. The aim of this contribution is to show, through qualitative analysis, in what way and to what extent strategies from politeness theory are being used in these texts. The analysis also addresses the politeness strategies used with regards to the sensitivity of the topic and specific functions of these texts. The analysis confirms that trust building strategies can successfully diminish the effect of face threatening acts, but also that the framework could be expanded to grasp the meaning and context beside the form of the message.

Keywords: politeness theory, positive face, negative face, trust, mental health discourse

Speech Acts in the COVID-19 Political Discourse: Inspiring Public (Mis)trust

The present study investigates the utilisation of speech acts in the COVID-19 discourse. The findings revealed that both productive and non-productive types of linguistic manipulation (Asya 2013) can be accomplished via utterances that contain: lexical verb in the imperative form, the verbs be and get in the imperative form and the participle I or II, and the verb let in combination with the first-person plural pronoun we. According to Ghazala (2011), techniques such as transitivity, modality, permutation, innuendo, and lexico-semantic manipulation serve the purpose of exploitation as performed by the media. Whereas previous studies have shown those means of manipulation to be effective, this study focuses on modality and transitivity.

This paper explores the degree to which old and contemporary sources aim to deceive their readers by misinformation. Mainly, the paper focuses on the media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic through the contrastive analysis between the discourse of Anthony Fauci and Vili Beroš. The corpus consists of 149 media statements from February 2020 to October 2021, out of which 74 pertain to Beroš and 75 to Fauci.

The results of the analysis show that the discourse of the two public figures changes to a different extent with the development of the insights around the pandemic. Still, the imperative form, the passive voice, as well as emotionally charged words are the main markers of their COVID-19 disourse. The linguistic engineering behind the language of Beroš and Fauci exists in proportion to their role in politics. Beroš and Fauci use political speech which can have manipulative purposes and its persuasion depends on the evoked (mis)trust.

Keywords: speech acts, discourse analysis, fake news, COVID-19, Beroš, Fauci

CoConTrustO in the media

Follow our activity under University News (below)

Publication Guidelines for REAL 19

(Deadline: January 15, 2022)

All partners should send us their abstracts by May 28. Please feel free to send us outlines and basic drafts and updates as you go on with your research. You can also arrange individual meetings with the editors.

Topic ideas (PDF)

Model contribution

Preprint submission for REAL 18 by Jasmina Đorđević and Ivana Šorgić. Sociocognitive Discourse Structures Presenting Suffering during the Corona Crisis: Can We Trust the News?


12-17 pages (min. 10, max. 25), 5000-9000 words (main text, counted without the abstract and references)

Basic structure

IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) or AIMAC (Abstract, Issue, Methodology, Analysis, Conclusion)

Feel free to change the section headings to suit your topic.


Authors should use the volume template and can consult the tutorial supporting it. All paper components, including title, abstract, headings, text and captions should be formatted by applying the styles from the template. 


REAL 19 uses APA 7 and all sources must be cited accordingly. One exception are in-text citations, where years and page numbers are to be given as "(yyyy: p)", e.g. "(2012: 33)". Try to provide as detailed citations as possible (including page number or at least chapter).

Primary sources

Primary sources present direct and immediate evidence. Those are e.g. corpora and examples from them, legal documents, literary works, etc. Make sure to always give telling names to your corpus files and cite them with each example.

Secondary sources


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher Name.

Edited book

Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Article or chapter in edited book

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor & F. F. Editor (Eds.), Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (pp. pages of chapter). Publisher.

Journal article

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Online news article

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Title of Publication. URL

Online news article without author use title or organisation as author

Title. (Year, Month Date). Outlet. URL

Organisation. (Year, Month Date). Title. URL


Profile [@handle]. (Year, Month Date). Tweet content [Tweet]. Twitter. URL


For non-English sources, include an English translation in square brackets "[]" after the foreign-language text. Transliterate Cyrillic titles to the standard Latin ortography.

Consult the APA 7 manual and blog and the Purdue Online Writing Lab for other source types.


Resources on Confidence and Trust Online

Reading recommendations

Fandrey, A. (2017). Academic slide design. Visual communication for teaching and learning. Scale & Fine.

Research topic in Frontiers in Psychology: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): The Impact and Role of Mass Media During the Pandemic.

We will also make available Reports on Teaching Languages online during the Corona Pandemic from over 20 countries. Read for inspiration! 

Read more on writing keywords for search engine optimization from the Wiley publication guidelines

Archive webpages on the Internet Archive


The Eurobarometer 92 survey investigates media use and trust in the EU member states and 5 candidate countries (Albania, Montenegro, N. Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey). Find it online and in a report by the European Broadcasting Union.

Check out the Conference on Truth and Trust Online (October 4-5, 2019; October 15-17, 2020) with its online talks. In addition to the more technical contributions, there are talks on "Rational Choices about Trust", "Human Values in the Spread of Misinformation" and "Disinformation as Collaborative Work".


The Andrássy Gyula German Language University Budapest offers scholarships for Master's studies for students from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, N. Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia among others.