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Investigating the Effect of Filter Bubbles on Ideological Polarisation Within Social Media

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, December 19, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The digital revolution came with big promises; a global unity, 24/7 access for information, efficient connectivity, and the ability of crossing borders and continents all from the comfort of one’s own home. However, the last ten years or so shows quite the opposite, the rise of what is referred to as the ‘filter bubble’, a phenomenon in which online and social media users end up being stuck in filter bubbles consuming what is identified as relevant to them. Over time, the increasing interest in personalisation and customisation coupled with the user’s selective consumption of information lead to being stuck in a bubble of content customised to them. As such, users are rarely aware of what goes on outside of their filter bubble potentially leading to ideological polarisation.

This issue is apparent on social media and certain topics (e.g. vaccinations/anti-vaccination, climate change scepticism, gender pay gap, abortion laws, to name a few) seem to attract this polarisation. This project aims to explore “how filter bubbles and selective information consumption leads to ideological polarisation”. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used, with a particular emphasis on using Screencast Videography, a novel research method that uses screencasts – videos of screen activities or outputs – as its main mode of data collection. The screencast videos capture dynamic on-screen interactions and experiences as they occur. This helps offer detailed records of online experiences that are not usually observable using conventional methods. The use of this method by individual users allow an unprecedented attempt at capturing filter bubbles as users browse their online and social media feeds.

Making an application:

Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: https://www.gre.ac.uk/research/study/apply/application-process. Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.
• Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying • a research proposal related to the subject topic *
• a CV including 2 referees *
• academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency * *upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be a PDF format.

Before submitting your application you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above.

Funding Notes

Year 1: £15,009
Year 2: In line with RCUK rate
Year 3: In line with RCUK rate
In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home/EU rate, currently £4,327, for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee, currently £10,173, for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.

Related Subjects

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