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2022 (CompConTrustOO)

Comparing Confidence and Trust Online and Offline (CompConTrustOO)

The cooperation with the same partners (as in 2021) 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 2021 and tries to combine on-line and off-line dialogue. The central theme "Comparing Confidence and Trust Online and Offline" will therefore be developed as a logical continuation of last year's theme "Constructing Confidence and Trust Online". The positive-constructive establishment of self-confidence and trust online and hybrid is seen here as a central problem of modern digital academic and journalistic writing. The project examines online and hybrid, 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 communication takes place fully or partly online. The new hybrid formats for information delivery (e.g., university classes, scientific conferences, workshops) create opportunities for wider outreach and better sustainability. However, they also require new concepts for conveying trust from the presenter to the simultaneous online and offline audience. The short form "CompConTrustOO" suggests that even more joint effort is needed to achieve (self-)trust online and hybrid 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 Vršac, Serbia (July 3-6, 2022)

All partners will discuss organisational aspects of the upcoming summer school in Serbia (e.g. group activities, workshops and video tutorials 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 (Version: 23.06.22)


Insights from last year's workshop in Zadar, Croatia:

Online Meeting (April 29, 2022, 2-3 pm, BBB)

After an introduction of the project topic "Comparing confidence and trust online and offline", the partners will brainstorm contribution ideas. The partners will discuss the plans for the upcoming workshop in Vršac, Serbia.

Graduate students from the partner universities are invited to send a 1000-2000 word essay for their Study Visit conference contribution by May 15 to Marina Ivanova at . The essay should be on the topic: "What happened on 24 February 2022? A comparison of national and international news." 

The graduate students should also send a 200-word abstract on their PhD topics which they can present on the conference on July 15-16. 

Online Meeting (May 12, 2022, 5-6 pm, BBB)

The partners will discuss the plans for the workshop in Vršac and the PhD student Study Visit. 

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

Insights from last year's online workshop:

Study Visit in Chemnitz (July 8-17, 2022)

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. The practical workshop on citation with Citavi/Zotero can be conducted in hybrid form for interested PhD students who cannot come to Chemnitz.

Graduate students from the partner universities are invited to send 1000-2000 word essay for their Study Visit conference contribution by May 15 to Marina Ivanova at . The essay should be on the topic: "What happened on 24 February 2022? A comparison of national and international news."

The graduate students should also send a 200-word abstract on their PhD topics which they can present on the conference on July 15-16. 

Study visit schedule (Version: 13.07.22)

Topic ideas (PDF)



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

Summer School in Palić, Serbia (August 20-28, 2022)

The Summer School in Palić 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).

Please send your essay applications (2000 words) or REAL paper drafts (10 pages) on the topic of Comparing Confidence and Trust Online and Offline to Marina Ivanova by August 15, 2022 at

Summer School Schedule (Version: 05.08.22)


Topic ideas (PDF)

Please fill out this form to register and share your dietary restrictions.

The Summer School will also promote cultural exchange at the Interetno Festival.

See you at the seminar room below!

Pool Palic brakfast image

Palic lake. Source: Wikimedia.

sunflowers palic image


REAL 19 abstract submissions

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

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

The Virus Caught in a Web of Humour

In 2020 and 2021, the global pandemic has become one of the most important topics in social media and private discourse. People often rely on humour as a potential coping mechanism during severe health crises. It challenges social conventions, taboos and the moral order of society. This study will focus on the role of humour at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to explore the role of verbal and visual humour in virtual communication, to attain a better understanding of the cognitive and affective components of humour used in the ‘corona discourse’, and to provide a common pattern underlying the humourous reaction to the global pandemic.

This paper presents the results of a data-based COVID-19 humour survey. Qualitative content analysis and multimodal data analysis were carried out on a limited number of verbal and visual jokes shared on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, blogs) and online newspapers between February and August 2020. Cognitive theory is outlined (Lakoff & Johnson 1980, Kövecses 2010, Attardo 2006, Giora 1991, Coulson 2003, Latta 1999) and used in the analysis of the selected sample. The findings revealed six contrastive frames underlying the perception of Covid-19: animals vs. human beings, human beings vs. animals, death vs. life, ethnic groups vs. ethnic groups with unfamiliar behaviour, inanimate entity (object) vs. animate entity, and positive government regulations vs. negative government regulations.

Keywords: humour, metaphor, Covid-19, public discourse, media

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

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

Creating Trust Through Cohesion in Academic Writing: Supporting Macedonian English Major Undergraduates

For successful written communication in English, the appropriate use of cohesive devices (CDs) to create a cohesive and coherent academic text is of utmost importance. Many researchers have investigated their use across a variety of text types (argumentative, expository and data commentary texts), as well as the relationship between these devices and writing quality (Meisuo 2000; Rahimi 2011; Modhish 2012; Liu and Braine 2005; Jalilifar 2008; Duckinoska-Mihajlovska and Joshevska-Petrushevska forthcoming). However, the results of these studies point to different directions. The frequency of use of cohesive devices does not necessarily lead to higher writing quality.

The present classroom-based research aims to identify the subcategories of conjunctive cohesive devices which are frequently used by Macedonian L1 English major undergraduates in their argumentative essays and investigate whether task-fulfilment is dependent on the use of CDs to express logical connections and create trust in the reader. A total of 32 argumentative essays written by Macedonian L1 first-year English major students at the Department of English Language and Literature at UKIM Skopje were analysed. The results identified that the most commonly used conjunctive relations are of the additive type. The contribution explores how successfully the students express logical connections by using these devices and create trust in the reader. In addition, academic writing course instructors are expected to make informed decisions about the academic writing syllabus based on these findings.

Keywords: conjunctive cohesive devices, argumentative essays, logical connections and task fulfillment, trust

The Represenation of the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict in Macedonian and Croatian Online Newspaper Headlines

This research aims to investigate the representation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict through the usage of linguistic features and discursive devices employed by two Croatian and two Macedonian online newspapers. The data were gathered from the newspapers’ official websites and eighty headlines in total were analysed. By implementing Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the research relies on the CDA framework proposed by Fairclough (1995). The data is categorized into five sections: lexical choice, scare tactics, direct speech, emotive language, and the use of scare quotes. The results show that both newspapers make use of similar lexical choice, rely on quotations to lend authority to their story and criticise the political practices of Russia. Differences in the lexical choice demonstrate the different editorial policies of both newspapers or possibly personal views and beliefs of the journalists. The Macedonian newspapers prefers subtle criticism, whereas the analysis of some headlines taken from the Croatian newspapers show a greater freedom of expression and explicit condemnation.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis, linguistic features, discursive devices, Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

CompConTrustOO in the media

Follow our activity under University News (below)

Publication Guidelines for REAL 19

(Deadline: First draft by 30 September, Second draft by 31 October)

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 and Offline

Reading recommendations

Charteris-Black, J. (2021). Metaphors of Coronavirus. Invisible Enemy or Zombie Apocalypse? Palgrave Macmillan.

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

Mur-Dueñas, P. & Lorés, R. (2022). Scientific and Parascientific Communication. MDPI.

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.