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Doctoral Dissertation Award



2018 Winner

Galen Panger, Ph.D.
School of Information, University of California, Berkeley
“Emotion in Social Media”
Supervisor: Steven Weber

Biography: Galen Panger received his Ph.D. from the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley in 2017, focusing on social media behavior, happiness and well-being, and behavioral economics. At Berkeley, Galen wrote the Graduate Student Happiness & Well-Being Report (later expanded to all ten University of California campuses) and co-founded the Center for Technology, Society & Policy. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Stanford University and today is a User Experience Researcher at Google.

Research Abstract: “Emotion is central to the study of social media and this dissertation addresses three big questions — about the emotions we express in social media, about what can be inferred about our emotional lives based on how we express ourselves, and about the emotional experience of browsing social media. Findings from large samples of Facebook and Twitter users challenge common notions about social media and suggest nuanced resolutions for conflicts between important lines of academic research.”

Remarks from the Award Committee: “Dr. Panger’s thesis ‘Emotion in Social Media’ is a novel addition to the literature on the evolving state of self-representation in online environments. Contrary to stereotype, Panger found that people tend to wind down while browsing Facebook and Twitter. This combined with the other aspects of his study call for a more nuanced appreciation of the role of social media in our emotional lives. The skill with which Panger crafted the research question and research design set it apart from others in the competition. This, combined with his skill to communicate his research work at the intersections of conflicting concepts in the literature made it the clear winner for this year’s competition.”

Click here to view Dr. Panger’s dissertation.

Click here to visit Dr. Panger’s website.

2018 Runner-Up

Paul H. Cleverley, Ph.D.
Robert Gordon University, Department of Information Management
“Re-examining and re-conceptualising enterprise search and discovery capability: Towards a model for the factors and generative mechanisms for search task outcomes”
Advisors: Simon Burnett and Laura Muir

Biography: Paul Cleverley is a Geoscientist turned Information Scientist. He holds a BSc in Geology and MSc with Distinction in Computing in Earth Science. He graduated with a Ph.D. from Robert Gordon University after four years distance-learning whilst working full-time. Paul’s research interests focus on social informatics including how advanced analytics and machine learning can be blended with enterprise search techniques to augment Human Computer Interaction in the workplace.

Research Abstract: “Dissatisfaction with enterprise search ‘Corporate Google’ is widespread. No prior study has investigated enterprise search from a transdisciplinary viewpoint. A critical realist mixed-methods longitudinal case study was undertaken in a large corporation, including experiments, user interface focus groups, surveys and content analysis of search feedback logs. Results show that human factors, rather than technology, accounted for the majority of dissatisfaction. The ‘Google Habitus’ and cognitive biases influence user expectations and information behaviour. Models were developed that challenge existing academic and practitioner orthodoxy. This may influence technology design, information architecture and enable a reconfiguration of beliefs and behaviours towards enterprise search.”

Remarks from the Award Committee: “Dr. Cleverley’s dissertation ‘Re-examining and re-conceptualising enterprise search and discovery capability: Towards a model for the factors and generative mechanisms for search task outcomes’ utilizes a mixed-methods longitudinal case study with over 220 participants to develop a socio-technical framework for enterprise search information needs, search modalities and the factors impacting the search outcomes. The combination of the different empirical methods with the theoretical perspectives of the cultural and historical activity and complexity theories resulted in a sophisticated model, which achieved the runner-up position in the 2018 competition.”

Click here for more on Dr. Cleverley’s dissertation.

Click here to view Dr. Cleverley’s research blog.

2018 Doctoral Dissertation Award Call for Nominations

The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding work in the information field. Nominations are solicited from all members of the iSchools organization and judged by a selection committee drawn from leading international schools.

The winner receives a prize of $2,500 U.S., the runner up $1,000 U.S. Both honorees will also be offered a modest travel allowance to help offset the cost of collecting their award in person at the iConference, should they wish to do so. Past iSchools Doctoral Dissertation honorees can be viewed here.

Each member iSchool can nominate only one applicant for the award. The applicant should have successfully defended their dissertation and completed their doctoral degree (including all final revisions, if any, and all final paper work) within the 2016-17 academic year (July 1 2016 to June 30, 2017). The dissertation research can be on any topic in the information field, broadly defined, and use any methodology.


  • Nomination deadline: October 16, 2017
  • Decisions announced: mid-December, 2017

Submission Materials for each Nomination
Submissions must be made by the school’s dissertation chair or Doctoral Program Director or equivalent. Individuals cannot self-nominate. Click here to visit our secure submission website.

The following three items should be submitted. The summary paper and letter must be submitted in English. The complete dissertation may be submitted in its original language, with the understanding that an English translation may be requested later, as explained under Review Process below.

  1. A summary paper of the dissertation research. The summary paper should be up to 10 double-spaced pages with 12 point Times New Roman font and at least one-inch margins (excluding the title page and the references), and should consist of three sections: Title Page, Body, and References. The Title Page should contain the title of the dissertation, author name, email, phone number, address, current institution, advisor name and contact information, degree granting institution, and dissertation completion date. The Body of the summary paper should provide a comprehensive summary of the dissertation, introducing, for instance, the topic, the research context and questions, the theoretical or contextual framework, the methodology and methods, and the findings. The summary paper should be written for blind review; hence, all identifying information should be removed from the body of the paper and, as necessary, the references. The first page of the Body should include title, an abstract for up to 200 words, and a list of keywords. Tables and figures can be embedded in the text or attached at the end; they count toward the 10-page limit. The References section should include a list of references formatted in any appropriate style.
  2. A letter from the dissertation chair or the Doctoral Program Director of the degree-granting institution. The letter attests that, (a) the summary paper is authored by the applicant only and is based on the applicant’s dissertation; (b) the applicant is eligible for the award (see Eligibility); and (c) the dissertation is regarded by the dissertation committee and the degree granting institution as being representative of the best level of their doctoral work.
  3. The complete dissertation.

The above three documents should each be formatted as a pdf, and then combined into a single zipped file; this file will be submitted to our secure submission website in time for the October 16 deadline.

Review Process
Awards submissions go through a rigorous two-phase review procedure. In the first phase, which is anonymous, each dissertation summary is reviewed and discussed by a team of three reviewers and one of the dissertation award co-chairs. Five dissertations are then chosen for closer scrutiny. In the second phase, a smaller committee reads and discusses the five shortlisted dissertations in great detail in order to make the final decision.

Judging criteria for the Award can be viewed here.

Past iSchools Doctoral Dissertation honorees can be viewed here.

2018 Doctoral Dissertation Award Chairs


Questions about the Doctoral Dissertation Award should be addressed to the chairs listed above.

For general questions about the iConference, please contact iConference Coordinator Clark Heideger.



The Information School at Sheffield and The iSchool at Northumbria University



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Papers Publisher

Accepted papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science


  • For general questions about the iConference, including sponsorships, please contact iSchools Communications Director Clark Heideger.

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