About Patrick

Welcome to my website.

I am a survey methodologist and digital sociologist in the Digital Technology and Society program in RTI International’s Survey Research division. My overall program of research focuses on the implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for social relationships and digital inequalities in people’s social, psychological, and economic well-being.  I examine how people use ICTs to maintain their personal networks and engage in public affairs. Specifically, I study how factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, and digital skills differentiate these mediated communication practices. I also study how such behavioral patterns may relate to ICT users’ life outcomes.

Survey methodology is one of my well-trained and favorite tool-kits in quantitative research methods. My expertise includes developing mixed-method research, designing traditional and Web-based questionnaires, and integrating digital technologies into survey design. My methodological research focuses on how to incorporate new communication technologies such as mobile phones and social media into questionnaires as a form of recall aids to improve the data quality of personal network surveys (a dissertation supervised by Dr. Peter Miller at the U.S. Census Bureau). I also created EgoGalaxy (implemented by Audacious Software), a Web survey tool that implements the best practices of the question design for personal network data collection.

I received my doctoral degree from the Media, Technology & Society program, at Northwestern University’s School of Communication.  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 also affiliated with Nonprofit Network for Social Impact, 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. 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.