Are you exceptionally interested in science, and specifically in the field of communication research? Is it your ambition to achieve a PhD in Communication Science? The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute of the Communication Science department at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) and we are seeking a PhD candidate for a project focused on the impact of social media design features on digital (over)use and well-being. This PhD track is part of the Youth & Media Entertainment programme group.
Are you excited to understand whether it is possible to design social media that are beneficial for the users, and increase instead of decrease well-being? Then this project might be for you. In this project we will look closely at the design features embedded in social media and how these promote engagement and contribute to digital overuse, while at the same time consider if there are design features that could achieve the opposite and improve the social media experience. Moreover, we want to map the prevalence of these design features, their underlying mechanisms, and scope out opportunities for intervention. This project lies at the intersection of several disciplines (e.g., psychology, human-computer interaction, media psychology) and requires a curious, creative and open-minded PhD candidate.
What are you going to do
You will work on three related projects during this PhD project. First, a systematic literature review is needed to improve our understanding of how and through which mechanisms social media design features affect users (Study 1). Second, although these design features are ubiquitous in today’s social media, we lack knowledge on the awareness and acceptance of these design features among the general public. For this reason, you will conduct a survey study among a general audience (Study 2), which will also provide insights in the counter-strategies people already employ to mitigate the engaging nature of social media applications. Finally, you will examine how the removal or adaptation of specific design features can lead to a better social media experience, e.g., higher digital well-being, lower digital overuse (Study 3).
- review literature of design features embedded in digital media to increase and decrease engagement;
- develop a theory driven model on the effectiveness of design features;
- create, field and analyse a survey study to assess awareness of design strategies and employment of counterstrategies among a representative sample;
- create, field, and conduct in the wildexperiment(s) to test the effectiveness of design strategies and counter strategies as informed by both the literature review and the survey study. These field studies will use an intense longitudinal design and employ the latest digital methods;
- Writing up findings for publications in high-impact scientific journals and presenting them at (inter)national conferences.
What do we require of you
- a research Master’s degree in communication science or a related social-science field (e.g., psychology, educational sciences, human-computer interaction, etc.), or expect to obtain it soon;
- an interest in topics associated with the digital society or communication technology (or a related field);
- a demonstrated interest in quantitative methods; experience with data donations, experience sampling methodology (ESM) and/or longitudinal analyses is a plus;
- an affinity with reviewing literature from different disciplines;
- skills to handle complex datasets;
- evidence of English language proficiency (for example, in the form of thesis work or presentations).
- curious, creative, and interested in learning from different disciplines;
- adept in quantitative data analysis with demonstrated ability to self-teach new techniques;
- eager to learn new digital data collection methods;
- resilient in the face of challenges that come with new methodological approaches;
- able to balance the demands of several tasks (e.g., combining research and teaching) successfully;
- organized, flexible, and demonstrate attention to detail;
- able to work independently, and you have a pro-active attitude.
The planned start date is 1 April 2022. The position concerns a temporary employment contract of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of three years and two months. The initial term of employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 26 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor’s students.
Your salary will be €2,434 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,111 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.
The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute for the Communication Science Department of the Faculty of Socil and Behavioural Sciences at the UvA. A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.
Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:
Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 1 December 2021. You may apply online by using the link below.
Applications in .pdf should include:
- a curriculum vitae;
- a letter of motivation.