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PhD Studentship: Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms

Loughborough University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Loughborough
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th November 2018
Closes: 11th January 2019
Reference: OCC19-P1U

Application details:

Reference number: OCC19-P1U
Start date of studentship: September 30, 2019
Closing date of advert: January 11, 2019
Interview date: In February 2019. Date to be confirmed after shortlisting.


Primary supervisor: Professor Andrew Chadwick
Secondary supervisors: Dr Martin Sykora, Dr Cristian Vaccari


O3C: Improving the Health of Our Online Civic Culture

Established in 2018 with a £300,000 award from Loughborough University's Adventure Research Programme, the Online Civic Culture Centre for Doctoral Training (O3C) 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 consists of 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. It identifies and promotes the positive civic engagement benefits of social media. For more information visit

  • In the latest UK Research Excellence Framework (2014), Communication and Media at Loughborough was ranked 2nd in the UK for research intensity.
  • Communication and Media has ranked in the World Top 50 for the last six years and is 7th in the world and 1st in the UK in Communication for influence on scholarly research and debate as measured by citations (QS World University Rankings 2018).

Full Project Detail:

Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms

This project will examine the interrelationships between people's motivations for sharing information, the types of information they share (such as media sources and statements by elites of various kinds), and the affordances of video sharing platforms, particularly YouTube. The project will compile a dataset of misleading information rejecting scientific consensus on selected key issues of our time, such as, for example, climate change or health. It will undertake content analysis as well as examine audience interpretations and responses. The project will also assess the role of algorithmic power in shaping people’s exposure and responses to misinformation rejecting scientific consensus and explore how the spread and societal impact of such misinformation might be reduced.

Find out more:

Entry requirements:

At least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) by start of project. A Master's degree will be an advantage.

Funding information:

Open to UK/EU and International graduates with backgrounds in relevant disciplines. For UK/EU students the studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,777 per year (pending 2019 increase) for three years and covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,260, pending 2019 increase). International students may apply: in this case the studentship will cover only the International tuition fee (£16,400 pending 2019 increase) and no stipend. You will register for 1 October 2018.

Contact details:

Name: Deirdre Lombard, Postgraduate Administrator
Email address:  
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 223879

How to apply:

Online at Under programme name, select Social Sciences. Clearly mark your application "Online Civic Culture CDT."

Please quote reference number: OCC19-P1U

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