Under the broad umbrella of information, technology, policy, and society my research focuses on Internet governance, information technology policy, and civic engagement in policymaking.

Internet governance

"Metaksherim 2015"  Picture by Yair Gil.

“Metaksherim 2015” Picture by Yair Gil.

My interest in Internet governance grew out of my fascination with media economics and the digital divide. It began when I worked on my Master’s and participated in, as well as helped with, the International Telecommunication Union’s youth events. This interest really took off when I worked on my PhD and learned about the interplay between technology, policy, and society. Here, I am in debt to my excellent PhD committee: Tarleton Gillespie, Milton Mueler, Bruice Lewenstein, and Katherine McCommas.

Today my work in this area is twofold. First I am interested in the participatory practices in the emerging Internet governance spaces. This includes questions of authority, trust, and legitimacy of various stakeholders and different forms of participation. Second, I am interested in the discourse of Internet governance and framing of policy issues and principles (such as privacy, net-neutrality, and multistakeholderism among others). I am really fascinated with policy buzzwords. Some of my projects in this area include:

  • Study of policy issue-framing propagation across policy deliberation spaces.
  • The use of computational methods (e.g. NLP) for the study of Internet governance discourse.
  • Analysis of practices of regional and national Internet Governance Forum initiatives.

Information technology policy

When engaging in the study of the practices and discourses of Internet governance one has to engage with the substantive topics too. First, focusing on policy discourse, I was particularly fascinated by assumptions embedded in the framing of information technology policy issues. You might have heard about millennials not carrying about their privacy at all or about URLs being used to assess the quality of online content, and so forth. Some of those assertions have been empirically tested, but many have not. I want to do more work testing those broad assumptions. Second, focusing on policymaking practices, I am interested in expanding the notions of governance to account not only for formal policymaking, but also for technology design and use. At the moment, I want to focus explicitly on:

  • Using social science methods to testing assumptions behind policy issue framing.
  • Social and semantic network analysis of information policy discourse.

Civic engagement in policymaking

My work on practices of participation in Internet governance deliberation spaces lead me to an exciting postdoc with CeRI (Cornell eRulemaking Initiative) lead by Cynthia Farina and Claire Cardie. There I started working on a series of questions pertaining design of online spaces and practices for effective civic participation in policymaking. I also got interested in broader questions of what engaging with policymaking does to building a stronger polity and factors that may affect such experiences. Some of my work in this area includes:

  • Predictors and influences of online engagement in policy deliberation.
  • Barriers to effective online engagement in online policy deliberation.
  • Interface and process designs for online policy deliberation.

If any of these issues have picked your interest, you may want to take a look at my publications and my students pages.

(last updated: 09/2015)