As part of my work with the Living Digital group at the University of Dundee, I am starting to recruit participants for a study related to trust and online dating. I will be using qualitative interviews and focus groups for this study, and I am hoping to have about 20 participants.
This study forms part of a larger project that looks at how
users establish trusting relationships online. In total, we will look at four
different scenarios in which users make trust judgments online: e-commerce,
health forums, online dating, and managing ‘Internet of Things’ devices. For my
qualitative portion of the project, I will aim to outline key factors that
contribute to trust behaviour in a particular online environment. These
findings will then be further examined in future studies, which will contribute
to the development of an automated system for authenticating the online
identity of other users who you are interacting with.
My PhD thesis, “Reputation management in a digital world: The role of online information in the building, management, and evaluation of personal reputations”, is now available on the Edinburgh Napier University repository.
Citation: Ryan, F. V. C. (2019). Reputation management in a digital world: The role of online information in the building, management, and evaluation of personal reputations. (Doctoral thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2090098
This work is concerned with the role of online information in the building, management, and evaluation of personal reputations. The main contributions of the research relate to: (1) the means by which people evaluate the personal reputations of others from the online evidence available to them, and (2) strategies for the building and management of personal reputations through the use of online information. The findings extend knowledge within the domain of Information Science, notably with respect to the established body of research on human information behaviour and use. They are set against a theoretical framework that is anchored to research in bibliometrics (for example on citation practice and citation analysis), and takes into account the multidisciplinary nature of the field of Information Science.
A multi-step data collection process was implemented following the practice of extant studies in Information Science and human information behaviour and use. This focused on a sample of forty-five UK-based social media users. A qualitative analysis of data collected from participant diaries and interviews was undertaken using NVivo10.
The main contribution of this work with respect to the evaluation of personal reputations on the basis on online evidence is that the information available is largely consumed and evaluated in a passive manner: social media users are more interested in the content of the information that is shared on social media platforms than they are in the signals that this information might convey about the sharer(s). Closer attention is paid in cases where the information shared is in stark contrast to the opinions and practices of those who consume it. In terms of the management of personal reputations through the use of online information, this work introduces and develops new concepts related to managing the “blur” that occurs at the intersection between private and professional lives, and online and offline environments.
Whilst I recycled
or passed on quite a bit of my PhD office’s contents, I brought home the things
I would need in my academic career (books, notebooks, and office supplies*). I
also brought home things that won’t move with me to my next academic office,
but things that serve as invaluable artefacts from my rewarding PhD experience
(certificates, awards, and name badges).
were collected over my time as a PhD student from various conferences,
seminars, training events, and speaking engagements. For example, there are name
I don’t know if my collection is on par with what other PhD students would acquire over the course of their studies, but for my personal situation, I feel that I have amassed a decent little haul. Each little piece of the collection tells a big part of my PhD story, and each carries with it a treasured memory from my student life.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do my PhD at an institution that recognised the importance of supporting students in not only their studies but in their wider development as budding academics. These experiences have helped me to become a more capable and confident researcher and have provided me with the skills I need to succeed in my academic life.
Of course, now I
have to figure out what to do with all of these wonderful artefacts!
* For the record: I only brought home the office supplies that I purchased myself, and not those that were from the school’s supplies. I am quite picky about my office supplies, and would rather spend my own money on my preferred stationery supplies and tools. Yes, I am a stationery geek!
When I left, I did so without fanfare. There were
no good-byes. There were no “we’ll miss yous”. There were no leaving drinks; no
email to alert people of my change in circumstances. I just… left. And that
lack of fanfare left me feeling quite deflated. It left me feeling that my time
at Napier was inconsequential; like I am not/was not an integral part of the
Napier Machine. (I know that’s not true, really, I do!)
And I am still kind of there. Or at least, I will be around for occasional meetings over the next few months. That means I will still be interacting with folks from my research group, which would make “goodbye” seem silly. Although once my project there is done, I suppose I will just silently fade into the past; I will just be someone that folks “used to know”. (There will be some connections that continue, I hope!)
But, alas, this is another part of my story. I have to leave Napier so that I can go onto the next thing. I have to leave Napier so that I can build my academic career out there in the Big Bad World. Indeed, I have already gone onto the next thing by way of my post-doc in Dundee. And I am actively applying for other posts in the UK and further afield. Oh, and I have applied for a small pot of funding for a small project with one of my Napier colleagues, so my real departure might be delayed a bit longer.
Anyhow… now that I have boxed up my Napier office,
I have to start working on putting my home office. That is where I will spend
most of my Dundee hours, as I will only commute twice per week. It is also
where I will work on applications for other jobs.
Of course, that task will have to wait just a bit. Because I am leaving for my summer holidays to The Homeland tomorrow. Which also means that I don’t have to think about the sadness of clearing out my office and moving on with my life. For now, at least! It also means that I will have to go through all of the contents from my office after my holidays. So I suppose the clear-out isn’t complete quite yet!
Later, with the full support and encouragement of my husband, Paul, the plan changed to doing part-time postgraduate studies whilst we raised our family (we were getting ready to adopt from the foster care system). But my beloved Paul died before I was meant to begin my studies, and so I put my dreams on hold so that I could relearn how to breathe. (No, really. When you become a widow, you can forget how to do simple things like breathe, eat, sleep, laugh, and even hope…)
My PhD studiesbegan in November 2013 under the supervision of Professor Hazel Hall (director of studies), Alistair Lawson (second supervisor), and Peter Cruickshank (third supervisor). Whilst the “ideal” PhD journey is about three years, my journey took a bit longer than that. Which isn’t uncommon, but I am a bit disappointed at myself for not finishing sooner. (Some of the delays were out of my control, but I have to acknowledge that some were down to me and my self-confidence – or lack thereof.)
Of course, this dream could never have been realised without the encouragement and support of others. So, thank you to all of my family and friends in America, the UK, and in the virtual world for helping to see me through this crazy adventure!