Doctoral

Current Research Projects

Doctoral students at the iSchool research a range of relatable topics that investigate information, the way it impacts society, and what the future may hold. Below is a listing of current research our PhD students are undertaking.

Natasha Ali

Analysts interpret quantitative and qualitative information to offer recommendations to institutional investors. Unlike financial advisors, who advise the general public on the retail side of financial institutions, sell-side analysts offer recommendations to institutional clients. Natasha’s study focuses on how investment analysts perceive signals as critical events which prompt their information-seeking and use in their recommendation process on the institutional side of investment firms.

Matt Bouchard

Have you ever played a game that sounds boring when you describe it? You might describe solitaire like this; “Well, you just kind of put the cards in order,” but many have played and enjoyed a game or two of solitaire, even if it is simple. Matt’s dissertation explores the ways players make meaning in simple or minimalist games and employs critical media approaches, theories of culture and game design, and ethnomethodologies.

Sandra Danilovic

Working at the intersection of inclusive design, arts-informed disability studies, and game studies, Sandra draws on social justice-oriented art methodologies, such as research creation and game jamming, to explore the self-expressive and socially transformative potential of game design. Her dissertation examines ‘autopathographical game design’ — when game designers harness their own personal experiences with illness, disability and emotional trauma to propel the creative process of game authorship.

Michael Dick

Research focuses broadly on the history and political economy of information and communications technology, with a particular interest in Canadian and international information, media, and technology policy. For his dissertation, Michael is investigating the role of technology neutrality in Canadian intellectual property legislation (notably with regards to Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act).

Quinn DuPont

Studies the intersections of code, new media, philosophy, and history, with particular attention to the role of cryptography in contemporary life. Using the approaches and methodologies of critical code studies, software studies, digital humanities, and new media studies, Quinn has published on a wide range of issues, including Bitcoin & Ethereum (cryptocurrencies), feminist history, geography, retrocomputing, theories of reading and writing, e-poetry, and on NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

Glen Farrelly

The open and ubiquitous nature of mobile devices has created new possibilities for widespread creation and dissemination of diverse and multimodal forms of locative media; yet, how this medium contributes to our spatial relationship is not well understood. Using a lens of critical theory of technology, Glen is examining the social and existential forces manifested in people’s use of locative media, and the influence this may have upon our sense of place, as mobile technology identifies users’ locations to deliver geographically relevant information and experiences.

Elysia Guzik

Interested in the role information plays in religious and spiritual life. Her dissertation research uses narrative interviews and participant observation to explore how Muslim converts in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) develop religious identities through the ways they seek, evaluate, and share information.

Asen O. Ivanov

Examines the implications of digital technologies for institutional practices of moving image (film and television), archiving through an interdisciplinary theoretical framework organized around the notions of authenticity and cultural value.

Jack Jamieson

Examines how emerging communication technologies affect, and are affected by, cultural and social activities. His dissertation research investigates the influence of social and political values on web development technologies. Other projects include studies of mobile narratives and research into exploratory analysis using data sonification.

Andy Keenan

Research focuses on new media, video games, and first encounters with unfamiliar digital objects. Andy’s dissertation research looks at player experience in video games with a specific focus on the differences in gameplay practices between expert and novice players.

Amir Lavie

Research focuses on the relationship between the creation and management of digital collections (whether digitized or born digital) by libraries and archives, and aspects of social and cultural memory. I will be looking at specific case studies of Jewish collections.

Sarah Lubelski

Sarah’s dissertation, “A Gentlewoman’s Profession: The Emergence of Feminized Publishing at Richard Bentley and Son, 1858-1898,” will investigate the feminization of the publishing industry, and how women acting as gatekeepers alters the publishing communications cycle, mediating the relationship between authors and readers.

Karen Dewart McEwen

McEwen’s research examines self-tracking and self-quantification practices within the political economic context of contemporary capitalism. She seeks to understand the practices through which self-tracking data are composed, as well as self-tracking’s capacity to function both as a productive activity within the data economy and as a form of social reproductive labour. Her doctoral work is funded by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.

Nathan Moles

Research interests are in the interdisciplinary area of digital curation and preservation. He is particularly interested in the OAIS concept of a designated community. In his doctoral research, Nathan is exploring ways of productively conceptualizing designated communities, the processes by which repositories define the designated communities they serve, and the impact decisions in these areas have on preservation practices.

Rebecca Noone

Considers the banal futilities and the muted hopes implicit in our everyday encounters and interactions with information, systems, and technologies. Besides her work as an artist and doctoral student, Rebecca is a Research Assistant for Dr. Jenna Hartel’s iSquares Research Project (link is external).

Gabby Resch

Working with the Critical Making Lab and the Semaphore Research Cluster, Gabby’s research critically examines multimodal representation and interaction in projects that cross material and digital, ocularcentric and multisensory, and 2D/3D boundaries. His work draws from the fields of Human-Computer Interaction, Museology, and Science and Technology Studies, addressing theoretical questions related to representation, authenticity, data, visualization, and critical information literacy.

Hervé Saint-Louis 

Using a political economy framework, I investigate people’s perceptions of security and confidentiality when they perform tertiary authentications. I define tertiary authentications as third-party authentications that allow users to interact with third-party apps and services by login in an initial platform, like Facebook, Google, or Twitter. My research contribution is located within usable security, an area of specialization that draws from human-computer interaction and information security. I am a cartoonist.

Mark Sedore 

Researching media, communications, and medium theory.

Harrison Smith

Research broadly examines how emerging forms of geo-spatial media contributes to processes of market disintermediation and consumer surveillance in digital capitalism. His dissertation examines the emergence of location based marketing to explore how new forms of audience segmentation, targeting, and conversion through mobile and geo-locative media. Harrison is also researching the ‘sharing economy’ for geothink.ca, a national research project that explores the potential of the geo-spatial web, open data, and crowdsourcing for municipal governance.

Chris J. Young

Conducting an 18-month ethnographic study of hobbyist game makers in the Greater Toronto Area. Young is researching the information seeking and use practices and informal “working” conditions of hobbyist game makers in Toronto’s game developer scene (approx. 2009 to present). The study follows the development cycle of hobbyist game makers’ digital games from conception, to release, and maintenance. The research bridges the disciplinary fields of game studies, information studies, communication and media studies, and work and labour studies, to illuminate larger socio-cultural issues, such as the boundaries between work and leisure, impact of the digital economy culture, and the development of grassroots media cultures.