Current Research Projects

Understanding Cyber-Bullying
Principal Investigator: Dr. Vivek Singh, Assistant Professor, School of Communication and Information
Cyberbullying is an important social challenge that affects many teenagers. According to a recent National Crime Prevention Council report, more than 40% of teenagers in the US have reported being cyberbullied. Thus understanding, and being able to react to, cyberbullying is an important social priority. A major recent change in cyberbullying has been the advent of mobile apps with newer features e.g. location based apps (YikYak), image-based messaging apps (Instagram), and time-limited messaging apps (e.g. SnapChat), and), that are changing the shape of cyberbullying. This research seeks to understand the role of such features, if any, in the way cyberbullying occurs in schools today. A better understanding of these factors will be a step toward eradication of cyberbullying in the near future.

Transitioning to College, an Exploration of the First Year Experience
Principal Investigators: Dr. Susan Furrer, Executive Director of the Center for Applied Psychology, a division of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology & Dr. Francesca Maresca, Director of Health Outreach, Promotion and Education (H.O.P.E.) for Rutgers Health Services
A number of student surveys have indicated that the college experience is intense and for some students, beyond challenging. Surveying large numbers of students yields useful aggregate data, but smaller focus group data yields more detailed qualitative information that can be used to inform both interventions as well as potential directions for further exploration.This study is intended to examine the transition experience for seven different groups of students: international, transfer students, LGBT students, first gen, veterans and first-year students engaging in the traditional New Student OrientationO experience.

Questioning Bias
Principal Investigator: Dr. Andres F. Rengifo, Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice in partnership with the Vera Institute for Justice
Research suggests that bias crime is more prevalent than is shown by official reported crime data. Compared to similar offenses without bias motivation, bias crime also has more serious negative consequences for victims and communities. This study seeks to develop and validate a Bias Crime Assessment Tool (BCAT) that can be used by schools, law enforcement and community organizations to improve victim identification among under-reporting Hispanic, immigrant, youth and LGBTQ communities. The research will provide a sensitive and practical tool to improve bias crime victim identification and also help reduce barriers to reporting for victims. The results are expected to foster more effective victim identification and service provision, and improve bias crime data reporting, education, and institutional responses.