NGOs: My dissertation explores how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) influence the public and politics of the global North. The number of NGOs in the global North has increased substantially in recent decades, but a small number of leading NGOs – NGOs that receive deference from a variety of audiences – have occupied most of the academic attention. By contrast, small- to medium-sized NGOs are rarely examined systematically despite comprising the vast majority of NGO population. I explain what those small NGOs do to increase their credibility vis-à-vis their audiences and what kind of impact they bring about at the individual and international levels, bridging the micro- and macro-level dynamics.
Wildlife conservation: Why do some wildlife conservation issues attract public attention while others remain in obscurity, even when such issues have high objective severity? I argue that NGOs play an important role affecting public attention to particular issues. To examine my argument, I exploit the unique attributes of wildlife conservation as a way to cope with selection bias. Here, the existence of an animal must be confirmed prior to any conservation effort, so issues are observable regardless of whether they attract public attention.
Big data: I use print and social media (Twitter) to measure public attention to conservation issues. NGO data are collected from national registers. With Elizabeth Bloodgood and Ajah (Powered by Data), I also work on a project that analyzes how different governments collect and publish NGO data.
Transnational networks: With Sarah Stroup and Wendy Wong, I analyze how some NGOs successfully increased recognition from their peers, using transnational organizational network data in 1993-2013 (http://tsmoworkshop.wikispaces.com/).