Gabriel Mugar

Gabriel Mugar

PhD Candidate

337 Hinds Hall | Phone: (315) 443-5509


My research looks at the experience of newcomers to open online collaborative communities like Wikipedia and citizen science projects like Planet Hunters. In particular, I look at how platform designers and community managers create tools and interact with newcomers and conversely, how newcomers negotiate their new settings by navigating, adopting, resisting, and repurposing the social and technical constraints they are confronted with. 

I locate my research at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction and Science and Technology studies, scaling my level of analysis between a consideration for the creation and maintenance of an online platform for work and the experience of the user.

I use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and surveys. I also collaborate with data scientists for large scale analysis of user behavior.

From 2012-2016 I was a research assistant for Dr. Kevin Crowston and Dr. Carsten Østerlund on a NSF grant funded research project investigating learning and motivation of volunteers on I am currently a research affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. 


  • Newcomers to online communities
  • Governance of online communities
  • Expertise sharing in organizations
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Supported Cooperative Work
  • Social Computing
  • Science and Technology Studies


Spring 2016:

IST 649 Human Interaction w/Computers


Semester Course Section Title
Spring 2016 IST649 M800 Human Interaction W/Computers