Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab at Ohio University


Core Research Team: 

  • Dr. Laeeq Khan [Director, SMART Lab]

khan_profile_imageDr. Laeeq Khan is the Director of the Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab in the Scripps College of Communication. He is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University.

He received his Ph.D. in Media and Information Studies from Michigan State University. Dr. Khan has years of teaching, research, and consulting experience. Besides big data and analytics, his research investigates new media effects on society in general and on organizations and businesses in particular. More specifically, his work focuses on user engagement in social media in terms of online participation and and how content affects attitudes, opinions, and behaviors. He also studies communication and development for social change in a global context.

  • Dr. Greg Newton


Greg’s research interests include radio/TV programming and promotion; free speech and the regulation of electronic media; and management and leadership in media businesses. He has published journal articles in the International Journal on Media Management, Journal of Media Business Studies, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Radio Studies, Journal of Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Journal of Promotion Management. He has also authored or co-authored textbook chapters on programming and promotion; prepared comments in Federal Communications Commission proceedings; and has frequently been invited to speak on the regulation of offensive media content.

  • Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen

Tikkanen Photo

Dr. Tikkanen’s research program focuses on the growing role of new media (e.g., social networking sites, mobile phones) in interpersonal relationships. Specifically, she takes a theoretical and quantitative approach to understanding the way in which channel and structural features interact with individual and relational motivations to affect interpersonal processes across relational types, including families, romantic partners, and friends. Her research primarily focuses on how structural features (e.g., anonymity, asynchronicity) impact the provision and receipt of social support.  Her work has been published in outlets such as Journal of Communication, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, and Communication Research Reports, as well as competitive papers presented at national conferences. She also values her role as a teacher-scholar, equally emphasizing both teaching and research.

  • Dr. Scott Titsworth


Scott serves as the Dean of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, a position that he has held since 2010. Scott has published over 50 articles, books, and edited chapters in the field of communication, with most exploring connections between classroom communication and student learning.



Research Associates:

  • Dr. Irfan Kanat

irfan-kanat.jpgDr. Kanat is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at the Ohio University College of Business. He earned his Ph.D. (2016) from Arizona State University, and his M.Sc. (2009) from Middle East Technical University. His research focuses on consumer behavior in software markets, with a focus how software business strategy shapes end user choice and engagement. Dr. Kanat’s teaching portfolio includes Computer Networks and Distributed Systems and R for Business Analysts, he is currently teaching Systems Analysis and Design. He enjoys board gaming with his family in his free time.

  • Dr. Parul Jain

jain_webDr. Jain’s research explores both traditional and new media platforms in the context of health to understand how media could be used for health behavior promotion, disease prevention, and management, and to reduce health disparities. Her program of research also examines narrative processing and effects on attitude accessibility, person perception, and health behavior, including but not limited to, interpersonal health behavior. Some of her work also looks at patient provider communication in international medical graduate physicians. Her research has been published in Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, and Patient Education and Counseling among others.

  • Dr. Drew McDaniel


Dr. McDaniel is Professor and Director of the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University. Previously, he held the posts of Director of Southeast Asian Studies and Director of the Center for International Studies. Prior to joining Ohio University, he worked as a journalist for broadcasting organizations in the states of Colorado and Washington.

Professor McDaniel has written extensively on media in Asia and on technology in media and communication. His book publications include Electronic Tigers of Southeast Asia: The politics of media, technology, and national development, Broadcasting in the Malay World, Fundamentals of Audio Production, and Fundamentals of Communication Electronics, among For more than 30 years he held an additional appointment as Staff Consultant at the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), a UN-chartered agency in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that provides research and training assistance across the region. He held an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008, and in 2011 held a Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information Endowed Visiting Professorship at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He was awarded a Fulbright Southeast Asia Regional Research Fellowship in 1989-1990.

  • Dr. Karen Riggs


Professor Riggs is coordinator of the Scripps College of Communication Social Media Certificate and teaches several classes in that program. She is the author of two books and several articles on age and media technology. Her expertise includes Social Media, Critical & Cultural Studies, and Qualitative Research Methods in Media Studies. She is former Director of the School of Media Arts & Studies.



  • Dr. Wolfgang Suetzl


Wolfgang Suetzl (also spelled Sützl) is media theorist, philosopher, and linguist. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Ohio University’ School of Media Arts and Studies, and previously researched media activism at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. His research interests include media and social change, digital sharing, mass communication theory, media history, and media aesthetics. Website:


  • Eli Flournoy

eli-flournoy_3Eli Flournoy is a 21-year veteran of  CNN’s news gathering operations in the United States and internationally, is charged with overseeing a 24/7 team of assignment editors and managers dedicated to serving more than 220 affiliate broadcasters outside the United States.


PhD Students

  • Bowen Gao

Bowen Gao

Bowen is a second-year Ph.D. student at the School of Media Arts and Studies, and the current graduate assistant for the SMART Lab. He earned an M.S. degree in Professional Media and Media Management Studies from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a B.A. degree in Broadcast and Television Directing from Northeast Normal University, China.

Bowen’s research interests include the social media engagement on personal and organizational level; mutual influence between commercial and social marketing; and the impacts of social norms on users’ online and offline behavior. In addition, Bowen is a big fan of musicals and worldwide traveling.


  • Ika Idris

IkaIka Idris is a Media Arts and Studies PhD student at Ohio University and a lecturer at communication department, Paramadina University, Jakarta, Indonesia. She was awarded DIKTI-Fulbright scholarship (2015-2018) and SMART Summer Research Excellence Award (2017 and 2018). Ika has worked intensively with the Indonesian government agencies to promote public information disclosure and strategic government communication using social media platforms (2014-2017).  

Her research interest includes government communication and public relations in the digital era, also the Internet for civic participation in the Southeast Asia. Ika has an expertise in utilizing social network analysis method to analyze conversation on social media. In addition, she is actively writing opinions about internet and society in major newspapers in Indonesia.


  • Elizabeth Jenkins


Elizabeth Jenkins is a Communication Studies PhD student at Ohio University. She earned a BA in Psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne and an MA in Cognitive and Social Processes from Ball State University.

Elizabeth’s research interests include computer-mediated communication, including sexting, texting, and social media and how these communication modalities interact with interpersonal relationships.


  • Nune Grigoryan

Nune Grigoryan

Nune Grigoryan is a third-year PhD student in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.  She has years of professional experience working in development field and NGOs in Armenia.

Nune’s research interest is focused on media’s role in democracy. Currently, her research is focused on the comparison of the right-wing and left-wing alternative media platforms. Particularly, she is interested in examining how new media platforms influence political participation of citizens. Additional research interests include media intersections of politics and media, media and society, as well as media in Russia and Armenia.