Research themes

Broadly, my research examines the intersections between material and human agents – typically human communicative and social behavior in technological contexts, as well as human-computer interactions. One strand of my research focuses on collaboration, especially in mediated settings. I’m especially interested in creative organizing processes, the social dynamics of knowledge production, and the collaborative technologies and spaces that facilitate such processes. I also study gender in science and engineering careers and work, exploring the cultural and developmental factors that shape women’s interest in engineering and computer science to understand underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. This research has taken me to study both women and children in China, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Finally, I study privacy and disclosure in sociotechnical contexts, using computational methods to understand the social structure of relationships in digital contexts, and the semantic structures that reflect emergent meanings and discourses.

Overarching each of these research strands is an attempt to extend understanding of the contextual and cultural variations inherent in social and communicative behavior. For example, I have studied cultural variations in the construction of civility, career aspirations and practices of children and women, and the affordances drawn from social media environments that shape communicative practices. I have also examined the material and spatial contexts of communicative interaction, disclosure, and collaboration.

Interests

  • creative collaboration
  • materiality of organizing
  • privacy & social networking
  • gender, culture, & STEM careers
  • ethics & emerging technologies
  • marginalized voices & populations
  • leadership & diversity

Research Methods

I employ a variety of computational social science methods in my research, including the use of wearable technologies (e.g., body-worn sociometric sensors and head-mounted cameras) that introduce new data forms into communicative research. I use both advanced quantitative methods, such as regression, social network analysis, and sociometric sensor analysis, as well as advanced qualitative methods such as online and field ethnographies, natural language and lexicographic processing, and semantic network analysis in my work. I have also collaborated with colleagues in engineering to develop analytic tools that integrate data visualization with multimodal qualitative data analysis techniques (described below).

The following methodological contributions have recently emerged:

  • In our study of collective organizing practices of bike commuters, we introduced a new method of participant viewpoint ethnography employing wearable head-mounted cameras to provide both phenomenological and reflective data;
  • In our study of collaborative designers, we validated three real-time measures of creative collaboration – reciprocity, synchrony, and participation equity; and are developing and validating real-time measures of group flow, using wearable sociometric sensors;
  • In the same project, we developed a sophisticated analytic tool (VizScribe) that integrates data visualization in the analysis of time-linked multimodal data from video, text, image, sociometric, and EEG sources. We also developed a framework and tool (GTHelper) that integrate grounded theory analysis with visual analytics for a next generation CAQDAS tool;
  • In a project on ethics, I am collaborating with learning analytic developers to develop metrics that track and model interaction and knowledge development in online contexts.

Research Collaborators

Karthik Ramani

Karthik Ramani

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

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NIklas Elmqvist

NIklas Elmqvist

Associate Professor, Information Studies, University of Maryland

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Kylie Peppler

Associate Professor, Learning Sciences, Indiana University

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Andrew Brightman

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University

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Carla Zoltowski

Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering, Purdue University

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Matthew Krane

Professor, Materials Science, Purdue University

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Eugene Spafford

Professor, Computer Science, Purdue University

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Kelly Caine

School of Computing, Assistant Professor, Clemson University

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Beverly Davenport

Chancellor, University of Tennessee

Patrice Buzzanell

Professor, Communication, Purdue University

Brenda Berkelaar

Assistant Professor, UT Austin

Howard Zelaznik

Professor, Kinesiology, Purdue University

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Post-docs, Graduate Research Assistants, and Advisees

Ninger Zhou

Ninger Zhou

Postdoctoral fellow (VICED)

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Senthil Chandrasegaran

Senthil Chandrasegaran

Graduate Research Assistant (VICED)

Karthik Badam

Karthik Badam

Graduate Research Assistant (VICED)

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Jeremy Foote

Jeremy Foote

Graduate Research Assistant (VICED)

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Elizabeth Wilhoit

Elizabeth Wilhoit

PhD Advisee and Research assistant (VICED)

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Jonathan Beever

Postdoctoral fellow (Ethics)

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Justin Hess

Postdoctoral fellow (Ethics)

Andrew Iliadis

PhD Advisee and Research assistant (Ethics)

Prashant Rajan

PhD Advisee and Research Assistant

Debalina Dutta

PhD Advisee

Xinyin Zhao

MA Advisee

James Machado

MA Advisee

Louise Lareau

MA Advisee

Preeti Rao

MS Advisee

Victoria Hawes

MA Advisee

Christopher Charles

MA Advisee

Amazing collaborators!

Nearly all of my research is interdisciplinary and highly collaborative. I have studied collaboration with colleagues in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, privacy and security with colleagues in Computer Science, ethics with colleagues in Philosophy, Biomedical Engineering, and Engineering Education, and organizing, leadership, and careers with colleagues in Communication.

Talented graduates!

Our research has included so many talented post-doc and graduate research assistants, and their contributions to our work have been essential to what we have discovered, designed, analyzed, and published.

Research Projects

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