Violent Extremism Online – CSSP

Project summary

The project has two components, broadly defined:

1) Examining the emergence of violent extremism in the life-course trajectories of online forum participants

2) Examining the effect of major events in the progression of ISIS in Syria and Iraq on the social structure of the ISIS-related forum discussions.

Each component is meant to be a stand-alone projects, but also complimenting each other. Each use the same online forums and the same tools (a custom-made forum parser to collect the content of the posts and create the network from the exchanges between participants; SentiStrength for Sentiment analysis). Yet, the first project is focused on individuals and their trajectories first and foremost, albeit in trajectories embedded into a larger set of interactions and social structure that are taken into account. The second has a more macro approach. It examines the impact of real-life events on online interactions as whole, and examines the role of opinion leaders in shaping the intensity of forum activity, and the opinion of forum participants.

Project Collaborators

Project Lead

Martin Bouchard, PhD

Senior Research Collaborator

Richard Frank, PhD

Project Coordinator:

Sadaf Hashimi, MA

Main Junior research collaborators:

Phillippa Levey, MA

Evan Thomas, MA

Research Assistants:

Joseph Mei

Bryan Monk

Funded by the Canadian Safety and Security Program in collaboration with TSAS