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DFG Project

Problems of Action and Typifications in Personal and Algorithmic Shopping Advice on the Internet

Within the research project „Curated Shopping - Problems of Action and Typifications in Personal and Algorithmic Shopping Advice on the Internet“, well-known questions about the specificity of online shopping are revisited and renegotiated.

In  recent years, social science research on online commerce and shopping has consolidated a descriptive model that operates with four basic assumptions. Online shopping is (1.) characterized by the change from a service triad between provider, provider personnel and customer to an interface-mediated service dyad between provider and customer: Service personnel who can advise consumers (individually) and accompany and support them in their consumption process are typically not available. This is associated with (2.) the shift of competence requirements, especially regarding self-information, to consumers, who (3.) are confronted with a potentially comprehensive range of products and have to choose from them. At the same time, (4.) provider and consumer actions are increasingly intertwined (for example, through cookies and correspondingly displayed advertisements, feedback functions, reviews, etc.).

There is a small shopping cart on top of a laptop. © Karolina Grabowska ​/​ Pexels

In our research project, we are focusing on the offer type of 'curated shopping', which is characterized by a pre-selection made by the supplier and personalized (in some cases also individualized) recommendations of products. Contrary to common description models of online retailing, the offer includes digitally mediated consulting services as a central element. The project's aim is to examine the problems that arise both on the side of the customer and on the side of the supplier and to reconstruct the respective problem-solving strategies in a typified way. Based on which criteria are certain articles suggested? At which points is the customer's cooperation indispensable? Which specifics can be determined by the medial framing? According to our thesis, focusing on the mediatization of advisory services can contribute to a differentiated understanding of reflexive mediatization of consumption.

The empirical study is based on an explorative-interpretative research design, in which organizational and consumer ethnographic approaches are bundled within the framework of a hermeneutic-sociological study. In doing so, we analyze the homepages of providers as well as conduct interviews with the organizations and the people working in them. At the same time, we are also conducting interviews with consumers and are working on the development of a research instrument that will enable us to follow the consumption process longitudinally.

Project Team

Management Dr. Paul Eisewicht

Nico Steinmann, M.Ed.

Pauline Kortmann, B.A.

Nina Gerke


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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dort­mund University (Second Page in English).