Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


3 Dec 2018

Online Civic Culture Centre (O3C) - Two Further PhD Studentships for 2019

The Online Civic Culture Centre (O3C) applies concepts and methods from social science and information science to understand the role of social media in shaping our civic culture. Two further fully-funded PhD studentships are now available for entry in October 2019.

1. Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms

Primary Supervisor: Professor Andrew Chadwick
Secondary Supervisors: Dr Martin SykoraDr Cristian Vaccari
Please quote reference number: OCC19-P1U

This project will examine the interrelationships between people's motivations for sharing information, the types of information they share (such as media sources and statements by elites of various kinds), and the affordances of video sharing platforms, particularly YouTube. The project will compile a dataset of misleading information rejecting scientific consensus on selected key issues of our time, such as, for example, climate change or health. It will undertake content analysis as well as examine audience interpretations and responses. The project will also assess the role of algorithmic power in shaping people’s exposure and responses to misinformation rejecting scientific consensus and explore how the spread and societal impact of such misinformation might be reduced.

2. What Role Do Social Media Influencers Play in Spreading Misinformation and Disinformation?

Primary Supervisor: Professor Louise Cooke
Secondary Supervisors: Dr Suzanne ElayanDr Simone Natale
Please quote reference number: OCC19-P2W

What drives people to behave in democratically-dysfunctional ways in the online environment, and how can we change this behaviour? This project will develop culturally-sensitive concepts for designing new algorithms to detect social media influencers who spread misinformation and disinformation on social media. Through a perspective attentive to the ethical and cultural implications of human-machine interactions on social media platforms, it will both improve understanding of the values embedded in platform algorithms and the role social media influencers play in spreading false information in online networks. The work will sit at the interdisciplinary intersection of computational text mining, applied data science, sociolinguistics, media theory, theories of artificial intelligence, and normative ethical theory. 

Entry Requirements

At least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) by start of project. A Master's degree will be an advantage. 

Funding Information

Open to UK/EU and International graduates with backgrounds in relevant disciplines. For UK/EU students the studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,777 per year (pending 2019 increase) for three years and covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £7,750, pending 2019 increase). International students may apply: in this case the studentship will cover only the International tuition fee (£17,100 pending 2019 increase) and no stipend. You will register for 1st October 2018.

Contact Details

Deirdre Lombard, Postgraduate Administrator
Email address: D.Lombard@lboro.ac.uk
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 223879

How to Apply

Online at www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research. Under programme name, select Social Sciences. Clearly mark your application "Online Civic Culture CDT." Include a full indicative research proposal outlining how you would conduct the research.

Closing date for application: January 11, 2019
Interview date: In February 2019. Date to be confirmed after shortlisting.

Research in this Field at Loughborough

  • In the latest UK Research Excellence Framework (2014), Communication at Loughborough was ranked 2nd in the UK for research intensity.
  • Information Management at Loughborough is ranked 1st in the UK in The Times University Guide, 2018 and home to the world leading emotional analysis system EMOTIVE. 75% of CIM’s research is world leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Established world leaders: ranked in the World Top 50 for Communication for the last six years (QS World University Rankings 2013-18).
  • Ranked 7th in the world and 1st in the UK in Communication for influence on scholarly research and debate as measured by research citations (QS World University Rankings 2018).

The first round of PhD studentships for 2018 entry have been awarded. Read about the projects here.