Elizabeth Dubois Receives SSHRC Grant to Study Online Harassment of Political Journalists

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CLTS Faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Dubois has received an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a project entitled “Mean Tweets: The impact of online harassment on political journalists in Canada”. Her research will examine the ways in which journalists respond to online harassment, as well as differences in the quantity and type of harassment received based on gender.


We rely on political journalists to hold government to account, to provide the public with information about policy and legal changes, to increase citizen civic literacy, and to reflect back to us the state of our political system. Social media has allowed citizens and journalists to interact in new and often useful ways but that increased connection can also open journalists up to bullying and harassment. Particularly for women, online harassment is becoming part of the job for journalists which impacts their ability to do their jobs.

Dr. Dubois’ project will provide much needed empirical evidence about the type of harassment journalists receive and their strategies for dealing with that harassment. Using a mixed-methods approach Dr. Dubois and her team will analyze Twitter posts using content and network analysis. They will also conduct in-depth interviews. In addition to peer reviewed articles, a recommendations report will be written and shared with journalists and technology companies so that they can consider updating their approaches to help minimize online harassment and maximize political engagement.


Dr. Elizabeth Dubois is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa and a Faculty member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. A leading expert on digital media and political communication, she is the co-lead of the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge, a research project examining the uses and impacts of digital media in the 2019 Canadian Federal Election.


SSHRC’s Insight Development Grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and/or ideas.


Congratulations to Dr. Dubois!


Back to top