Current Projects

Interfaces, Language, and Culture (Dissertation Project)

My dissertation research investigates user interactions with online interfaces for survey instruments. Specifically, I am considering aspects of language direction and spatial agency bias as it affects the quality of data gathered in online surveys. In the context of this study, I conceive of online survey questionnaire response as a form disintermediated social exchange between researchers and research participants. Directionality of native language writing system is expected to have an effect on the way that survey respondents interact with scale items in instruments, which have an implicit directionality of their own (e.g., agree to disagree, positive to negative, etc.). This effect, combined with that of cultural orientations toward social desirability may help to explain noise in survey data from respondents who read and write in right-to-left (RTL) languages (Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hebrew, etc.). Most of the research in survey instrument design happens in the context of English-langauge or other left-to-right language studies. This study is an attempt to provide greater understanding of how respondents from RTL language backgrounds interact with data collection and information exchange in the context of survey.

I will be blogging about this project as it progresses. Please follow there.

Trust, Credibility, and Disclosure of Information

Kaitlin Costello, Ashlee Edwards, and I investigated patterns of disclosure of incriminating information on Reddit drug forums. This spurred an extended set of interests in trust, credibility, and disclosure of information.

You can read more here: /research/disclosure.

Digital Media Piracy

Piracy is not a new phenomenon, but the rapid development of online protocols has expanded its reach into every aspect of digital media production. As a social and cultural phenomenon there is a great deal that we can learn from online digital media piracy about how people create, manipulate, share, and communicate information coming from sources that they do not always control.

In addition digital media piracy has become a mode of access to cultural materials and technologies for a great many people worldwide, despite the illegality of their behavior in violating copyright. My interest in this phenomenon lies beyond discussions about copyright and views piracy as another information behavior that can be studied as such.

You can read more about this research and see publications here: /research/piracy.

Digital Cultural Hegemony

Carolyn Runyon and I have been working on a project to assess equity in digital humanities funding for cultural heritage projects over the last year.

You can read more about that project and see publications here:

Middle East Libraries

Over the last two years I have worked with Charles Kurzman on a project investigating collaboration with libraries throughout the Middle East. The study involved a survey of LIS professionals and educators in Arab countries as well as an investigation of online presence for Arab libraries. We are currently working on an article which will report the major findings.

Other reports and materials from the project are avaialable here: Middle East Library Partnership Project


I am increasingly interested in pedagogical techniques that help to orient students to new disciplines during graduate training.

I am currently working on several pedagogical studies of onboarding techniques and training/re-training graduate students how to read scientific literature.

Research - John D. Martin III