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What’s in an infodemic? Exploring patterns of information consumption, trust & decision-making ahead of the COVID-19 vaccine




MAS: Media Arts and Sciences

Faculty Supervisor:

Deb Roy

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Visiting Asst Professor, dimitrad@media.mit.edu

Project Description

Up until now, there has been limited (and often conflicting) information around the COVID-19 vaccine, partly due to the slowly growing scientific knowledge on the virus, partly due to the lag of prompt information response by public health institutions and, lastly, partly due to the growing misinformation amplified in the (social) media ecosystem. The challenge is heightened by the growing politicization of the virus and the vaccine, which leads to a deeper polarization of an already fragmented society. People's experiences of this pandemic are incredibly diverse and deeply personal. Meanwhile, different people and stakeholders, such as the state and the federal government, the media, public health authorities and the scientific community are telling them what to do, what they should think about and what they should worry about. Individuals and communities need information around COVID-19 that is meaningful, actionable and relatable to their needs and concerns. The project aims at: - Diagnosing concerns, misconceptions and unaddressed/undermined questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine - Lifting up people’s lived experiences as a means of understanding hopes and concerns around the future COVID-19 vaccine and identifying information and communication voids - Exploring people’s trust in media and social institutions and probe the origin of low trust levels by understanding the role of prior lived experiences and personal values. The project builds on a dataset of 40 recorded and transcribed facilitated conversations that aim at lifting up people’s lived experiences as a means of understanding their perceptions, thoughts and future decisions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.


We are looking for a UROP with some background in NVivo and graphic design, who is interested in learning how to code data in NVivo.