Improving the Health of Our Online Civic Culture: A New Centre for Doctoral Training at Loughborough University
Established in 2018 with a £300,000 award from Loughborough University’s Adventure Research Programme, the Online Civic Culture Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) applies cutting-edge concepts and methods from social science and information science to understand the role of social media in shaping our civic culture. Led by Professor Andrew Chadwick, it features a team of ten academic supervisors drawn from the disciplines of communication, information science, social psychology, and sociology. The CDT enables interdisciplinary teams of researchers and PhD students to work together on issues of misinformation, disinformation, and the rise of hate speech and incivility online. It develops evidence-based knowledge to mitigate the democratically-dysfunctional aspects of social media. At the same time, it identifies and promotes the positive civic engagement benefits of social media.
Professor Andrew Chadwick (Centre for Research in Communication and Culture and Director of the CDT) and Professor Tom Jackson (Centre for Information Management) said:
“From hate speech to misinformation, democracies across the world now face serious questions about the ways social media are reshaping political engagement. There is a profound need for evidence and analysis, and creative ways of improving the health of our online civic culture while nurturing genuinely democratic expression online. Our new Centre for Doctoral Training will shape the next generation of scholarship and public knowledge in a crucial area—one that affects us all.”