Master thesis evaluation on reducing polarization in public debates

Exploring perspectives in the public debate with emotional awareness: Design to reduce polarization

Marieke van Dijk

Delft University of Technology, Design for Interaction


Level of design

The level of design is throughout the thesis, scientific poster as well as the presentation slides cohesive, clean and well-suited for the topic. The level of detail and variety of illustration ideas is really impressive.

Degree of innovation

Finding papers and thesis about polarization of public opinion is easy but finding possible theoretical or practical solutions is more difficult. In the section ‘strategies for depolarization’, she makes clear suggestions which are very useful for people working in the design field.


In several interviews with different people, such as experts in specific fields, journalists, and consumers. She held workshops with study colleagues and asked people on the streets for their opinion.

Outline and structure

A lot of different layout characteristics are used to structure the mass of findings she displays in her thesis. Her structure seems to be good but since her research as well as the description of the artwork is very detailed, the mass of information is kind of overwhelming. But a lot of highlighted text, illustrations, graphs and icons make it easier to access the needed information quickly.

Degree of communication

She explains every section and structures each section into sub-categories. The paragraphs are mostly divided into smaller parts which makes reading more delightful and easy to jump into a topic. In my opinion it is even a bit too much division, illustrations, graphs and quotes. It is interesting to look at and maybe read a passage here and there, but it feels more like an illustrated book rather than a scientific thesis. But I guess this look and feel was done on purpose.

Scope of the work

The scope of the work is probably a total overshoot. Next to her 104-page long thesis document which tons of self-made illustrations and graphs she made a website as a workpiece well-designed workpiece.

Orthography and accuracy Literature

In her literature you can find a lot of books and papers from other universities. Some of her literatures though, are older (from the 80’s and 90’s) and might not be suitable for today.