Research Centers

Institute for Media Innovation

The Institute's mission is to translate research into action. The pace at which media is changing is unprecedented, creating both perils and possibilities. Whether it is through ethnographic, survey, or data analytics our research activities are designed to generate a clearer understanding of the social and behavioral implications of a rapidly evolving media and technology landscape. The Institute is also committed to design, practice, and innovation. More specifically, we do not just study the future of media and technology, we also invest in ways to prototype that future. Working with designers, storytellers, researchers, and engineers we believe our mission is to turn insight into action that models ways to build a more ethical, inclusive, and equitable society.

Technology and Information Policy Institute 

TIPI undertakes several research projects, most of them funded, on a routine basis. We often have research assistantships available, and sometimes can offer fellowships to students participating on projects. Our core areas of interest investigate the influence of communication technologies on social systems and social behaviors. Recent projects have examined Internet access and adoption and how that might figure into equity issues; the relationships between broadband in rural regions and local economic development and entrepreneurship; disinformation efforts in the US and elsewhere; the role of libraries as social institutions for remediating the Digital Divide; how municipal cameras and the data they produce in public places interact with government policies around information access, use and circulation; and more. Students work in teams and we have weekly meetings to coordinate and check in with each other. Numerous conference papers and publications have grown out of our work. 

We also have sponsored summer internships in Washington DC through the multi-university COMPASS program and assisted students with conference attendance for papers produced on our projects. TIPI also sponsors Brown Bags and speakers throughout the academic year. We would love to have students sit in and see if there is a fit with their interests. Contact Sharon Strover (J&M) or Keri Stephens (CMS) for information. 

The Propaganda Research Lab (Center for Media Engagement)

The propaganda research lab at the center for media engagement (CME) explores how emerging media technologies are leveraged for both democracy and control. The teams' work builds upon Dr. Woolley’s analyses of computational propaganda—the use of social media and other digital tools in attempts to manipulate public opinion. They use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to reveal the ways in which a wide variety of political groups around the globe use automation and algorithms to disinform and harass publics in efforts to control information flows online. Students work as key collaborators and co-authors on cutting edge, public-facing, research at the intersection of political communication and science and technology studies. Ongoing projects on the spread of propaganda over encrypted chat applications, the political use of geolocation tools, and cognitive security are supported by large grants from the Omidyar Network (ON), the Open Society Foundations (OSF), and the Miami Foundation. The propaganda team is also a core collaborator, alongside other CME programs, on the multi-year "connective democracy" project funded by the Knight Foundation--an effort to build center capacity around research and ideation on rebuilding democracy in the face of current problems in our information ecosystem.