Robert Ackland is currently a Fellow in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU). He has degrees in economics from the University of Melbourne and Yale University (where he was a Fulbright Scholar), and was awarded a PhD in economics from the ANU in 2001. Robert’s PhD research was in the application of index number theory to global comparisons of income and poverty. Since 1994, he has worked as a consultant in poverty analysis and targeting for organisations such as The World Bank (based in Washington DC, 1995-1997), Asian Development Bank and AusAID.
In 2002, Robert moved into a new area of research at the intersection of information science and empirical social science – the development of new methods (and associated e-Research tools) for quantitative analysis of social and economic phenomena on the Internet. Robert is developing research methods that combine information retrieval, data visualisation and more traditional quantitative social science methods such as social network analysis. He is applying these methods in new research into political party networking on the WWW, the abortion debate online, and online environmental activism.
In 2007, Robert was awarded a National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS) Visiting Fellowship and a James Martin Visiting Fellowship, and is spending six months at OII pursuing his research into online networks and continuing development of the VOSON e-research tool (http://voson.anu.edu.au).