Credentials: Assistant Professor of Computational Communication, Department of Life Sciences Communication, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Affiliate, Robert & Jean Holz Center for Science and Technology Studies and Center for East Asian Studies
Position title: Department of Life Sciences Communication
Kaiping Chen uses data science to understand how communication technologies and techniques influence the way people think and engage with each other. Her research cuts across communication and computer science to nurture an informed citizenry. Utilizing methods such as automated text analysis and network analysis, Kaiping studies how people—including those from disadvantaged communities—engage in conversations about complex policy issues that matter in their lives. Her work also explores how we can improve the quality of online discourse.
Text and network analysis, and machine learning, help Kaiping understand how Covid-19 conspiracy theories and other misinformation spread on social media, both in the U.S. and China. Her research examines the content of misinformation and counter-narratives, how misinformation diffuses and enclaved deliberation happens, and how users engage with misinformation through visual content.
Kaiping enjoys the interdisciplinary nature of her work, as it provides insights for understanding our world and developing innovative solutions to urgent problems. She is currently collaborating with faculty from engineering, mathematics and geography to understand how we might bridge the gap between the science of Covid-19 modeling and communicating risk to the public.
“Data science is not just about making our lives more convenient; it motivates us to reflect upon who we are, what biases we have, and how we can mitigate these biases in ourselves to create a better place.”