Before moving to MSU, Dr. Stern served as the Director of the Web and Emerging Technologies Initiative and as a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. Previously, he served as a tenured Professor of sociology at theCollege of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina and before that atOklahoma State University. He was recruited to NORC at the University of Chicago from his previous position in order to build their research capabilities in web and emerging technologies, data science, innovative, technologically based research methods, and survey methodology by means of experimental work, mentorship of junior faculty, administration and a directorship of an initiative focused on web and emerging technologies.
Substantively, his research focuses on theories of information seeking and digital inequality in the context of health. That is, his work focuses on the exclusion of marginalized and traditionally underrepresented groups in the areas of internet usage, social media, and mobile emerging technologies as they relate to health information seeking and other pursuits. Most of his work in this area centers on how diverse segments of society effectively use information and communication technologies and what this means to the future in terms of broadening inequality through access to information and proficiency in using these technologies regarding health information seeking, the “rural”penalty, health information seeking and communication with heath providers, educational opportunities, and economics.
Methodically, he has done considerable work in mobile technology use, data science and analytics, on web survey design and administration, effective use of limited dependent variables, customizing growth curve models to time series data, employing administrative and big data to augment survey responses, and using qualitative data from cognitive interviews to design more effective questionnaires for paper, web, and mobile surveys. His experimental research in emerging technologies and social media has included in-depth analysis of client-side para data, diverse approaches to probability and non-probability sampling for web-only surveys, and assessments of response patterns to examine spatial clustering and geographically based coverage error for internet use. Over the past 12 years, he has conducted hundreds of experimental treatments in web and mobile surveys in order answer important questions about technology usage in data collection.