Research

Kate Starbird

Autumn 2020

Exposing trails of misinformation: How did this content reach me?

This DRG is full for Autumn and no longer accepting applications.

This DRG will be conducted remotely over Zoom.

We are looking for a few students to join our Fall 2020 quarter Directed Research Group—an extension of the Summer 2020 DRG—to investigate solutions for improving the quality of online engagements. In particular, we will explore whether providing contextual details about the content you see (e.g. information about the other accounts that have shared it) affects your decision to re-post information. Our study looks specifically at information sharing on Twitter.  We will ask the following questions:

  • What informational cues about a piece of online account are important to a user’s decision to share content?
  • How can we design new contextual cues about other accounts to better inform a user about who those accounts are and what they are sharing?
  • How do these new contextual cues impact the perceived trustworthiness of the information and the other accounts that have shared it?
  • Can providing these cues for online accounts that previously shared a piece of information alter users’ decisions about whether and how to reshare it?

As a part of the research process, we will be designing/refining interventions with informational cues that we find are important to information sharing on Twitter (mostly done in first DRG on this topic). We will then study the effectiveness of these interventions — using both qualitative and quantitative methods — and refine the interventions accordingly. The findings will inform the design of social media platforms that make it easy for users to discern which information is worth sharing, and which is not.

What makes you a suitable candidate? 

  • Experience with user research and facilitating user studies
  • Experience with analyzing data
  • Users of Twitter platform (highly preferred!)
  • Looking to register for 2-3 credits (i.e. 4-6 hours of weekly work)

The group will be facilitated by PhD candidate Himanshu Zade with guidance from Prof. Kate Starbird and Prof. Gary Hsieh. Meeting time is TBD.

This DRG is full for Autumn and no longer accepting applications.


Autumn 2020

Research through Collaboration: Understanding How Journalists Analyze and Report on Online Misinformation

This DRG is full for Autumn and no longer accepting applications.

This DRG will be conducted remotely over Zoom.

Do you have strong data analysis and coding skills that you want to use for good? Are you passionate and knowledgeable about combating misinformation and disinformation? Are you a social media maven? Is documentation your strong suit? This DRG might be for you!

Journalists are increasingly investigating and reporting on problematic online content such as misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories, leading to the creation of a new misinformation beat. In the first phase of this research, we found that one way journalists overcome some of these challenges is by seeking help from experts. 

By partnering with journalists this fall, we will gather valuable information on how we, as researchers, can support them with tools, collaboration frameworks, and data support. Students in this DRG will become part of a response team that is able to quickly triage and answer data requests from journalists who are investigating misinformation, disinformation, or conspiracy theories online.

This DRG will be a three hour course, suggesting nine hours of commitment per week. This DRG is led by Melinda McClure Haughey with guidance by Professor Kate Starbird.

This DRG is full for Autumn and no longer accepting applications.

 


Dr. Starbird's Research Group archive