Using the dashboard to investigate LGBTQ+ rights and issues in Europe
The new EARS dashboard was launched in April 2022. It provides insights into religion and society.
The EARS dashboard is a unique way of exploring news from across Europe relating to religion and society. Whilst over 13,000 articles from more than 30 European countries have been summarised, people using the dashboard may often want to narrow down their searches to help them find the best results.
One example could be people wishing to find out more about the relationship between religions and LGBTQ+ rights and themes in Europe. To do this, we can use the various filters and infographics the dashboard offers to help build our understanding of the subject and to provide us with leads for further research. This article will therefore seek to give some examples on how best to use the EARS dashboard to help you find what you are looking for.
Since April 2021 – an overview
Since April 2021, over 4,000 summaries have been added to the dashboard. For our research of the topic of LGBTQ+ issues and rights, the first thing we must do is choose LGBTQ+ from the list of Topics. Once we have done this, we must also consider the timeframe.
In order to demonstrate the diversity of summaries we have available, we can look at all summaries with the topic LGBTQ+ entered in the last year, which gives us 266 results. Each of these results has been explicitly tagged by our analysts with the LGBTQ+ tag to ensure that only relevant summaries appear.
If we now turn to the Languages tab on the left-side menu, we can see a pie chart that gives us information about the original language of the articles summarised in our dashboard. As we can see below, whilst 89 of the articles were originally in English, there have also been summaries of a further 177 articles written in other languages.
In addition, we can click on the Countries tab, which tells us how many articles have been tagged as relevant to each European nation. Our hope is that by using our dashboard, people across Europe can stay up to date with what is happening across the continent.
The darker shades of gold show a higher concentration of articles, for example from the UK (42), Germany (40), or Spain (33). But it also reflects the diversity of articles summarised by EARS, with entries relating to over 25 countries, ranging from Georgia to Slovakia, from Portugal to Finland.
Finally, by using the Timelines tab, we can see information about how many articles relating to LGBTQ+ issues and rights have been uploaded. The graph relating to topics shows that between 5%-14% of articles for each month include the LGBTQ+ tag.
Specific inquiries and investigation
Whilst the ideas discussed so far help us to find out some overall information about the topic, the dashboard also offers a number of tools that help us to gain insights before even having read an individual summary. One of the most useful of these is the word cloud.
The word cloud shows that the dashboard has picked up on a number of the key themes relating to LGBTQ+ people and religions in Europe. These include same-sex marriage, teaching about LGBTQ+ themes in schools, and the importance of guaranteed rights.
In addition, we can also see a number of country names, for example Poland and Hungary. The appearance of these countries in the list is understandable given the hostile environment that LGBTQ+ people have faced in both nations since April 2021, including numerous direct attacks from influential religious figures. 
Finally, the word cloud also shows the names of certain institutions and individuals. For example, we can see the name Päivi Räsänen. Räsänen is a Finnish politician, formerly of the Christian Democrat party, who in April 2021 was charged with discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Räsänen defended herself by referring to how her views formed part of her traditional Christian thinking.
On the other hand, we also see the name of Cardinal Reinhard Marx from Germany. By selecting Marx’s name in the Entities filter, we can see that a number of articles appear relating to the Cardinal’s March 2022 comments calling for a change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality towards a more tolerant position.
Cross-referencing and narrowing down
Finally, it is useful to consider how to use the filters to refine or expand your search.
One way to do this is to consider adding more topics to your search. For example, if you are interested in both LGBTQ+ and gender inequalities, then you add the gender inequality topic. At first, this will expand your search, going up to 410 results in the last year by looking for articles tagged with either topic. However, if you click the & sign (below), then the search will be refined only to articles that are tagged with both topics.
By combining these topics, we can reduce the results down to 30 entries. Among these entries are articles covering:
- Debate over a Spanish nightclub promotion depicting a drag queen in place of the Virgin Mary.
- Considerations of how best to teach and discuss gender in Austrian schools.
- Calls from an Irish archbishop for a more “inclusive” Church. 
Another way to explore the overlap between different topics is to use the Topic Venn tab. In this tab, we can see which other topics have been tagged on issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community.
This tab shows us that although in some cases articles relating to religion and LGBTQ+ issues and rights have also been linked to tolerance (54), unfortunately there are more articles that include the tag tension (106). Leadership (117) is the most common tag alongside LGBTQ+.
Last but definitely not least, we can also add global developments to help refine our search. Global developments are objective, universal, and important around the world. They are not necessarily directly linked to religion, but rather show how religion intertwines with them.
One example could be combining the LGBTQ+ tag with the governmental rules development. This combination leads us to 41 entries, which include:
- Discussions of a ban of conversion therapy in the Netherlands.
- A legal case from Northern Ireland regarding a bakery refusing to make a cake for a gay marriage.
- A ruling from the Italian Supreme Court condemning a Catholic school for discrimination. 
We hope that this document has helped provide some ideas of how best to use the Dashboard to aid you with keeping up to date and being informed about the development of religion and society across Europe! You are now ready to try it yourself at www.earsdashboard.com.