About Patrick

I am a doctoral candidate in the Media, Technology & Society program, at Northwestern University’s School of Communication. My overall program of research focuses on the social impacts of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on interpersonal interaction and social relationships. I examine how people use ICTs to maintain their personal networks and engage in public affairs. Specifically, I study how factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, and digital skills differentiate these mediated communication practices. I also study how such behavioral patterns relate to social, psychological, and economic well-being. I primarily employ survey methodology to conduct my research, given that survey can obtain rigorous quantitative data about individuals’ ICT usage experience as well as their understanding and conceptualization of their personal networks. To improve data quality of self reports of personal networks is the focus of my interest in survey methodology.

During my time at Northwestern, I have worked on projects with Prof. Eszter Hargittai looking at theoretical perspectives of digital inequality, methodological recommendations for measuring people’s Web-use skills in different survey length, and the relationship between Web-use skills and the level of engagement on social network sites. I am currently working with Prof. Michelle Shumate investigating the hyperlinking strategies used by nonprofit organizations for connecting with their corporate partners on their websites and the extent to which such hyperlink networks may reflect the nonprofit-corporate partnership networks. I recently completed my dissertation (supervised by Dr. Peter Miller at the U.S. Census Bureau) investigating instruments that can effectively obtain high-quality data about respondents’ personal networks in survey setting.

Prior to my study at Northwestern, I received a MA in sociology from University of Illinois at Chicago and another MA in social informatics from Yuan-Ze University in Taiwan.