Research

Research Experience

  • present2015

    Assistant Professor

    School of Library and Information Science, Kent State University, Kent OH

  • 20152014

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

  • OCT2014

    Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher

    Social Media Lab, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

  • 20132012

    Visiting Scholar

    Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

  • 20142009

    Research Assistant

    Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Skills

  • Quantitative Methods: Multivariate statistical analysis, Structural Equation Modeling, Social Network Analysis, Data mining
  • Qualitative Methods: Ethnography, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, content and discourse analysis
  • Ontology design, and metadata application profile design
  • Architectural design

Areas of Expertise / Research Interests

  • Sociotechnical study of knowledge production and scholarly communication
  • Sociotechnical study of social media use
  • Information organization and knowledge representation
  • Metadata, ontologies, semantic web, and linked data

Research Projects

  • Digital media, networks, repertoires, and collective action

    A growing number of scholars highlight the role of digital media in facilitating networked collective action, yet the focus of technology as a target of contention is under-explored. My current research focuses on understanding and theorizing the evolution of digital repertoires of collective action and contentious politics —organized actors in opposition with elites and authorities.

    I am using computational methods to analyze empirical evidence collected from users’ interactions and traces in the social media environment, especially when they are responding to the restrictions imposed by authorities. While communication practices change over time, the sophistication of government restrictions on communications evolve, too.

    This co-evolution of communications practices by political organizers and efforts to centralize control of platforms by governments illustrates how digital communications platforms themselves can also be points of contention. To address these questions, I am working to develop a framework by analyzing the eventful histories of critical incidents in the ongoing tension between activists and authority forces.

    In this process, in addition to communication theories, I also rely on the literature from sociology and social movement studies to enrich my understanding of the relationship between new communication technologies and contentious politics. Such research will be an empirical response to premature statements such as “Iran’s Twitter Revolution,” and broader technological deterministic myths about the interplay between social and technical aspect of our societies. Monitoring online publics and collecting vast amounts of data from the traces of users’ interaction and communication become more feasible in the recent years.

    Computational and network analysis methods also facilitate mapping the transformations of online public spaces in the context of eventful moments—intense episodes of intensified information flow and interaction between activists, advocates and authorities. In my research, I am using these methods to understand such transformations.

  • Epistemic communities, epistemic narratives, and infrastructure

    In this line of research, following my dissertation work, I am investigating how epistemic narratives are formed, constructed and communicated in large research organizations. I am also interested to understand how such narratives are communicated to the public and eventually become widely accepted.

    I am also interested to understand how such narratives are communicated to the public and eventually become widely accepted. For example, how a scientific narrative about human impacts on the environment is formed in a research community such as archeology, how it becomes accepted within the larger network of practice, and how eventually it becomes public knowledge. In this research, I mostly use ethnographic inquiry, scientometrics methods and controversy mapping.

  • Cultural Heritage Informatics

    In addition to the two themes above, I have an interest in Cultural Heritage Informatics and I am interested in knowledge organization systems for cultural heritage and meaningful integration of information technologies in cultural heritage practices.

    Formerly, I mostly focused on metadata for cultural heritage domain. Currently, I am working with a group of colleagues on digitizing collections of medieval Persian manuscripts.