Yuerong Hu's Dissertation Defense

Yuerong Hu

PhD student Yuerong Hu will defend her dissertation, "Complexities and Nuances of Online Book Reviews in Scholarly Research."

Abstract: In the last two decades, the abundance of online book reviews has opened up unprecedented research opportunities for scholars who are interested in empirically studying the interaction between readers and books, particularly in digital humanities (DH). However, limitations and challenges have emerged from existing scholarly conceptualization and usage of such datasets in DH. In particular, the real-world complexities and nuances associated with online book reviews have been under-investigated, which poses questions about the scholarly usability of such datasets and the significance of research findings. To address these gaps, this dissertation conducts three case studies on online book ratings, ranked book lists, and textual reviews collected from Douban and Goodreads (two large online book review platforms based in China and the U.S. respectively). The case studies empirically illuminate three under-examined aspects of online book reviews: transiency, cultural dependency, and user participation dynamics. The findings of this dissertation (1) empirically reveal the real-world complexities and under-investigated features of online book reviews and their impacts on scholarly research; and, (2) demonstrate practical methods for examining and improving the scholarly usability and interpretability of such datasets for more contextualized and critical research on online book reviews.

Questions? Contact Yuerong Hu