Research

2My interests in research are varied and cross-disciplinary within the fields of library and information science, media and communication sciences, and sociology. I explore information literacy and human information behaviour in various contexts to understand its role in our global society. I am trained in critical and social science approaches to research theory and method. At present, my publications contribute to literature in library and information science and mass media studies. This research is important because of the changes and developments in how people use, communicate and create information online. This is an international phenomenon, and as such, it is important that we better understand it so that we can prepare individuals for their role as global citizens in an increasingly complex information environment. My research goals include:

  • Understanding the role of the media as an influencer of public opinion
  • Investigating the development, acquisition, and sharing of knowledge in our global society
  • Exploring patterns and trends related to media effects

My dissertation took a step towards my future research goals and interests as it examines the role of the mass media in the creation of public opinion. Investigating how individuals establish authority and credibility of media sources was also explored. The study was a mixed-methods, critical discourse analysis conducted in the Scottish Highlands to explore the elements, which influence ‘host’ Scottish communities’ opinion on the topic of migration. This study was implemented in two phases, starting with a critical discourse analysis of national, UK newspapers to understand what information was being communicated to the public on the topic of human migration. A second, qualitative phase was conducted to explore how public opinions of migration in Scotland are created and influenced. This includes exploring the media used by Scottish people as well as their skills used to locate and evaluate information on the topic of migration during the Independence debate.

My current research is a big data analysis of Tweets using geographic identifiers to identify trends and patterns in opinions of topics of public concern (e.g. human migration). In addition to identifying trends in patterns of opinion formation, I am performing a network analysis based on linguistic similarities in Tweets, to identify media entities that influence opinions and information behaviours of individuals online. As I am using geographic identifiers in this research, my hope is to shed light on how opinions are influenced and vary within the Middle East, based on region (and regional concerns) and media source.