Welcome! My name is Gabriel Mugar and I am a researcher and faculty member at the Emerson College Engagement Lab. I completed my PhD at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies where my dissertation explored the newcomer management strategies of digital participatory platforms and how newcomers negotiate such strategies.

My research on the experience of newcomers to digital participatory platforms is inspired by scholarship on the commons and collective action, which emphasizes the importance of participants sharing a clearly defined set of rules and norms. I situate my research at the intersection of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Science and Technology Studies (STS), which allows me to examine the tension between the forces that push for the stability of infrastructure and the needs of the user.

I primarily draw on ethnographic tools like participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Building on the findings from a small sample of users, I also collaborate with data scientists to run queries that examine how my findings generalize across the platform in question. I also use surveys methods to gather qualitative data about user activity on digital participatory platforms.

Prior to graduate school I was a segment producer for Current TV and founded the Transformative Culture Project, a Boston-based nonprofit that supports career development for young media professionals across southern New England,


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