2014 OII MSc thesis prizeMasters student Tim Muntinga has received the 2014 OII MSc thesis prize for his thesis titled “Deadly Choices: An Eye-Tracking Study of the Susceptibility of Medical Patients to Selecting Rogue Online Pharmacies in Search Results”, in which he examined the susceptibility of Dutch medical patients in various hospitals to selecting rogue pharmacies in Google organic search results with a methodological combination of eye-tracking and a retrospective (gaze-cued) think aloud protocol. A significant proportion of participants were found highly susceptible to rogue pharmacy selection due to deviations in employed ocular search strategy.

Professor Ralph Schroeder, MSc Programme Director, said: “The topic of rogue online pharmacies and the black market of counterfeit or contaminated medicines is new and vitally important. This is a remarkable piece of research, of publishable quality, with clear and impactful implications for counteracting this potentially dangerous practice.”

Tim said: “Paramount was the contribution of my supervisor, Dr Greg Taylor. Greg’s combination of endless energy, attention to detail and expertise of search engines catalyzed this outcome. The ability to combine a clinical topic in human computer interaction with his microeconomic background was refreshing in our discussions. I am also thankful to the six scholarships that made my time at Oxford possible: Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen, Foundation De Korinthiërs, Dr. Hendrik Muller’s Vaderlandsch Fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, VSB Fonds and KAS Bank”.

Tim is currently continuing his studies as a DPhil student at the University of Oxford beginning in October 2014.

The OII accepts up to 34 students a year for its MSc programme in Social Science of the Internet. The programme is designed to provide students with the in-depth understanding of the social science concepts, theories and methods required to undertake and assess rigorous empirical research or policy analysis of Internet-related issues.