Posted in Articles: Friday, October 27, 2017
by Gregory Nahlik
Part-time undergraduate researcher and president of Purdue’s Outing Club, Elizabeth Tigner is combining computer science with statistics and social sciences in her research. Although Elizabeth is new to the Channels Scholar REU Program, she’s very excited about the opportunity.
“I think this is a really awesome opportunity. I was going to continue with my research no matter what. But having some sort of part-time research work is nice because I don’t have to worry about finding a part-time job. Also, getting to only focus on the research is nice. It’s also great with all of the opportunities and connections I’m able to make,” she mentioned in a recent interview with the Center.
The base of her research started earlier this year with Dr. Jennifer Neville of Purdue University when she studied data sets from the #BlackLivesMatter movement through Twitter. Through this research, she was able to make hashtag prediction models with natural language processing, which is a field within Computer Science that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans. Towards the end of this project, she then focused on relationship analysis, which tried to see the correlations between users and @ mentions.
When asked about the importance of this research in terms of the emerging science of information and other disciplines, she mentioned “Social networks are also really interesting in how people interact with one another. It can change the way we think about marketing and now, a lot of companies are just looking at social network analysis and machine learning”.
Not only does this research help companies market themselves, but it also helps with understanding trends in social movements online. When I asked Elizabeth if there were any other social movement trends she was focusing on she mentioned “With the Black Lives Matter movement, we’re also looking at the feminist movement and seeing how those two intersect.” By studying these trends, people can gain a better understanding of how social movements are creating a bigger web of interaction among online users.
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