Professor Laeeq Khan

Social Media Analytics, Digital Divide, Online Engagement


The key goal of any research program should be furthering knowledge that is meaningful and centered on advancing human and societal well-being. Being fascinated by communication technologies due to their potential for connecting people across distances, my research is shaped by my quest for understanding how media affects its audiences. The pervasive use of social media has led to new realities and understanding them well holds great importance for me. In the age of data, understanding of emerging issues should be grounded in theoretical frameworks.

I believe that researchers should be open to diverse perspectives. This includes diversity in the research methods and theoretical constructs. My research philosophy is shaped by my inner desire to make a difference in the field of communications. I strive to research topics that are meaningful and attain great satisfaction in trying to answer questions about issues that impact us all.

My research program is based on three core tenets: (i) Engagement, (ii) Relevance, and (iii) Integrity. It is very important for research to not only be engaging and interesting for the researcher, but also conceived in a way that excites the researcher. I find research issues that bridge my academic and industry experiences as very stimulating.

In terms of relevance, research should be relevant to the needs of the times and aligned with a vision for the future. We often encounter research that may be useful for some, but not addressing the pressing needs of what matters to the wider society, industry, and practitioners. Research has to play a role in the advancement of meaningful knowledge. In this regard, I believe that media use should also be understood in a balanced way to involve attention and exposure to a full range of traditional and digital sources of information, news and entertainment.

Lastly, meaningful research must hinge on the principles of integrity in all stages of the process. I view research integrity directly translating into work that is based on highest standards of excellence. High research quality must be reflected in novel data collection procedures, superior analysis and interpretation. Moreover, a clear understanding of the research roles when collaborating on projects is of great importance. Group work can prove daunting if responsibilities are not clearly spelt out. I truly believe that effective collaboration depends on effective communication amongst members.

Social media use is already visible in a range of fields including health, government, journalism, education, business, advocacy, public relations, and risk communication. I see a common element that binds these different areas—how users engage with others. The future is exciting and is set to present a myriad of challenges and opportunities that I wholeheartedly aim to embrace.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh. Donec hendrerit dui ut nisi tempor scelerisque.

Project Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin id arcu aliquet, elementum nisi quis, condimentum nibh.

Following is a list of my most recent publications. [Please contact me if you need help tracking down the full text of a particular paper. I’m happy to oblige.]

Refereed Journal Articles, Proceedings & Book Chapters

Digital Inequality in the Appalachian Ohio: Understanding how Demographics, Internet Access and Skills can shape Vital Information Use (VIU)

Abstract: Access to information and resources via the Internet is an increasingly vital dimension of contemporary life. However, there can be several impediments to optimal Internet utilization in the form of access, skills, and motivation. Even when access is available, several digital inequalities arise as citizens often lack the skills and motivations to pursue those vital uses through the Internet to the best of their advantage. Digital inequalities in the hills of the Appalachian area of Ohio are often manifested in terms of social, cultural and geographic divides. Not only do the hills block wireless signals and make cables expensive to install, but regional poverty also drives away telecom investment. We conducted a survey of Appalachian Ohio to explore digital inequity issues and the determinants of online participation for things that matter. Through a number of analyses, we explore how Internet access and digital skills impact online contribution to the community in terms of services and resources considered to be basic social needs: health, employment, education, and social media. These social needs, what we have called Vital Internet Use (VIU) can determine citizens’ political and civic participation, societal contribution, and overall benefit to their communities. Centered on the concepts of digital access, Internet skills, and benefit outcomes, we extend knowledge in this domain and propose a comprehensive framework of VIU.

Khan, M. L., & Idris, I. K. (2019). Recognize Misinformation and Verify Before Sharing: A Reasoned Action and Information Literacy Perspective, Behavior & Information Technology, [PDF]

Abstract: The menace of misinformation online has gained considerable media attention and plausible solutions for combatting misinformation have often been less than satisfactory. In an environment of ubiquitous online social sharing, we contend that it is the individuals that can play a major role in halting the spread of misinformation. We conducted a survey (n = 396) to illuminate the factors that predict (i) the perceived ability to recognize false information on social media, and (ii) the behavior of sharing of information without verification. A set of regression analyses reveal that the perceived self-efficacy to detect misinformation on social media is predicted by income and level of education, Internet skills of information seeking and verification, and attitude towards information verification. We also found that sharing of information on social media without verification is predicted by Internet experience, Internet skills of information seeking, sharing, and verification, attitude towards information verification, and belief in the reliability of information. Recommendations regarding information literacy, the role of individuals as media gatekeepers who verify social media information, and the importance of independent corroboration are discussed.

Welser, T., Khan, M. L., & Dickard, M., (2019). Digital remediation: social support and online learning communities can help offset rural digital inequality, Information, Communication & Society. .

Abstract: Based on the view that learning is a fundamentally social activity, this article investigates whether the promotion of knowledge through online community-building has the potential to advance individual and collective cognitions with regards to information and communication technology (ICT) use, and the implications such outcomes have in terms of social inequality. For this study, an online learning community was developed as part of two introductory courses and online collaborative tools were integrated into students’ weekly activities; survey data was then collected to test the effects of the community intervention on students’ perceived socio-technical skills. Survey data (N = 373) shows that social networks and support are important factors that are predictive of engagement and self-efficacy in participatory activities online; that students who grew up in rural areas tend to perceive themselves as less skilled in online participatory activities than students from less rural areas; and that participants in the online learning community reported greater improvements in self-efficacy than students who were not. Literature on digital inequality is used to guide our discussion of the social implications of these findings, and both policy and future research suggestions are addressed.

Khan, M. L., (forthcoming). “Big Data and Entrepreneurship.” In Tang and Mahoney, The Handbook of Media Management and Business, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Khan, M. L., Zaher, Z., & Gao, B. (2018). Communicating on Twitter for Charity: Understanding the Wall of Kindness Initiative in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. International Journal of Communication, 12, 25. Retrieved from[PDF]

Abstract: This study highlights the important role of social media for charity through an analysis of tweets about the “Wall of Kindness” charity initiative in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, we employ a theoretical lens of Social Influence to explore how individuals and organizations employed Twitter to promote charitable initiatives. User engagement on Twitter centered on content sharing, identification through hashtags, and imitative behaviors promoted the Wall of Kindness initiative across countries. Results from the thematic analysis revealed that Twitter users were tweeting about the Wall of Kindness to provide information, encourage donations, inspire others into action, and build an online community. Our content analysis revealed that a majority of the tweets were neutral and supportive of the initiative; and users mostly shared textual information, followed by images, and videos, tweeted news links, and solicited donations about the Wall of Kindness. Furthermore, media organizations, wall enthusiasts, and journalists were most active in tweeting about the charity initiative. Implication for future research are discussed. 

Khan, M. L. (2017). Social Media Engagement: What Motivates User Participation and Consumption on YouTube? Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 236-247.[PDF]

Abstract: This study unearths the motives for YouTube user engagement that has been conceptualized as active participation and passive content consumption. In light of the Uses and Gratifications framework, a sample of 1143 registered YouTube users completed online surveys that helped gauge user behavior. Results showed that for participation on YouTube, the strongest predictor for liking and disliking videos was the relaxing entertainment motive; commenting and uploading being strongly predicted by social interaction motive; sharing being strongly predicted by information giving motive. Passive content consumption in the form of video viewing was most strongly predicted by relaxing entertainment motive, and reading comments predicted by information seeking motive. Greater YouTube experience negatively predicted liking, and anonymity played a role in sharing and uploading videos. Males were more likely to dislike YouTube videos in comparison with females.

Peng, W., Ratan, R. A., & Khan, M. L. (2015, January). Ebook uses and class performance in a college course. In 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) (pp. 63-71). IEEE.[PDF]

Abstract: This research explores ebook use among undergraduate students, drawing from the technology acceptance model (TAM) to examine ebook usage and adoption. Undergraduates enrolled in a large course at a mid-western university in the United States completed surveys at the beginning and the end of the semester. A great amount of variance was found in ebook use. A small number of students made a large number of highlights, while the majority of students only made a small number of highlights. A majority of students did not utilize the note and bookmark features. Additionally, we found that perceived usefulness of ebooks positively predicted ebook views and perceived ease of use positively predicted ebook highlights. eBook views were also found to positively predict academic performance. Implications of the findings are discussed.


Khan, M. L., Wohn, D. Y., & Ellison, N., (2014). Actual Friends Matter: An Internet skills perspective on teens’ informal academic collaboration on Facebook. Computers and Education, 79, 138-147. http://10.1016/j.compedu.2014.08.001.

[PDF] Abstract: Social media platforms such as Facebook enable adolescents to collaborate on academic activities, but this kind of participation may require a set of higher-order Internet skills. This study explores the factors that predict informal academic collaboration on Facebook, such as seeking help, discussing schoolwork, and finding class-related resources. Based on survey data collected from high school students (N ¼ 690), we found that academic performance, perceived support from ‘actual’ Facebook friends, higher order Internet skills (especially information seeking skills), and instrumental support from Facebook friends predicted academic collaboration on Facebook. In light of these findings, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Wohn, D. Y., Ellison, N., Khan, M. L., Fewins-Bliss, R., & Gray, R. (2013). The Role of Social Media in Shaping First-Generation High School Students’ College Aspirations: A Social Capital Lens. Computers and Education, 63, 424-436.

[PDF] Abstract: Using survey data collected from a sample of high school students in the United States (N ¼ 504), this study examined how different types of social capital associated with parents, close friends, and Facebook Friends were related to students’ confidence about their knowledge of the college application process and their expectations about succeeding in college. We found that social media use plays a significant role only for first-generation students – students whose parents did not graduate from college. For first generation students, finding information about college through social media was associated with higher levels of efficacy about college application procedures. Having access via social media to a broader network of people who could actively answer questions and provide informational support was positively related with first-generation students’ expectations about their ability to be successful in college, but was not the case for non first-generations.

Khan, M. L., & Boehmer, J. (2013). Small Business use of Facebook for Marketing: The Case of a Family-Owned Mediterranean Restaurant. Proceedings of the 78th Annual Association for Business Communication International Conference, October 23-26, 2013, New Orleans, LA.

[PDF] Abstract: Facebook pages are transforming how organizations and business market themselves and communicate with their audiences. Especially, small businesses are increasingly trying to adopt social media tools to market themselves and gain competitive advantage. The present case study introduces a social capital perspective on social media use for small businesses’ in reaching out to their customers. A social media platform such as Facebook can be a vital element of the overall marketing strategy and be especially valuable for building customer relationships. Potential avenues to build social capital in a small business setting are illustrated, using the case of a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant. Implications for small businesses and future research on this topic are discussed.

DeMaagd, K., Chew, H. E., Huang, G., Khan, M. L., Sreenivasan, A., & Larose, R. (2013). The use of public computing facilities by library patrons: Demography, motivations, and barriers. Government Information Quarterly, 30(1), 110-118. doi:

[PDF] Abstract: Public libraries play an important part in the development of a community. Today, they are seen as more than store houses of books; they are also responsible for the dissemination of online, and offline information. Public access computers are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people understand the need for internet access. Using a series of surveys conducted in 12 libraries across the state of Michigan, the current study is a step towards understanding why the computing facilities are widely used, and what are the motivations behind their use. In addition, barriers and other factors that hinder usage are also discussed. The findings from this study will help policy makers and library administrators evaluate the current allocation of scarce resources, help them promote greater use of the library’s resources, and guide their future course of action. The study is conducted as part of a federally funded public computing center grant.

Ellison, N. B., Wohn, D.Y., Khan, M. L., & Fewins-Bliss, R. (2012). Reshaping access: An overview of research on access to higher education, social media and social capital, White paper for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

[PDF] Our review of the extant literature suggests that there is potential for social media to be leveraged in ways that potential reshape networks and information flows. The literature on college access and post-secondary success points to multiple factors that influence why, when and whether young people pursue higher education. Some of these factors, such as the importance of peer feedback, may be especially well-suited for social media interventions. Although no technological tool is a panacea, social media possess social and technical affordances that might ameliorate college access patterns. We have outlined some of the challenges and opportunities in this space in order to explicate some of these possibilities.

Khan, M. L. (2011). Developing a More Robust Approach to Global Supply Chain Information Systems in a Turbulent World. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Conference on Telecommunications & Information Technology (ITERA), April 8-10, 2011, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

[PDF] Abstract: A global supply chain comprises producers, consumers, distributors, and retailers who may span trans-national boundaries. This paper reviews literature on global supply chains and offers recommendations about the key characteristics of a robust global supply chain information system. Issues related to standards diffusion at an international level are also discussed in light of the network effect theory. A review of an automotive supply chain case study (MOSS) has been presented to highlight the new approach to the effective use of inter-organizational information systems (IOS). Emphasis is laid on an industry standards approach that is non-proprietary and increasingly web-based.

Mishra P. & Khan, M. L. (2009). Webcasting. In Stride Handbook – E-Learning (pp. 84-87). IGNOU.

[PDF] The transformation of the Internet towards the Web 2.0 and its proliferation has opened new avenues for its use in the education sector. Expansion and development of the broadband services coupled with better and improved infra-structure besides ever increasing content development, have created a nexus in which the benefits of streaming audio and video are increasingly being realised. The tide may be turning in favour of developing countries, where an increasing amount of content is being produced and consumed that is different from the traditional media. As with other Internet technologies that transcend national boundaries, webcasting provides opportunities to receive content ranging from sports to entertainment and education, at the click of a button. Internet users are also offered greater choice in what they view and listen. An Internet user in the United States may view or listen to streaming content produced in another part of the world. Similarly, students in a school in Kenya with access to the Internet may listen to video lectures produced in the United Kingdom. Scientific conferences today are increasingly being webcast to allow those without the means and the ability to physically attend, benefit from experiencing the event. Webcasting offers great potential in the field of distance learning. It serves as a cost effective and efficient mechanism to deliver lectures on a global scale. It also allows for harnessing multiple intelligences for the benefit of a wider audience.


Invited Book Chapters & Papers

Khan, M. L. (forthcoming). “Big Data and Entrepreneurship.” In Tang and Mahoney, The Handbook of Media Management and Business, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Ellison, N. B., Wohn, D.Y., Khan, M. L., & Fewins-Bliss, R. (2012). Reshaping access: An overview of research on access to higher education, social media and social capital, White paper for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mishra P.  & Khan, M. L. (2009). Webcasting. In Stride Handbook – E-Learning (p. 84-87). IGNOU.

Conference Presentations & Panels

  • Khan, M. L. Social Media Management: Teaching Data Analytics, Social Media Marketing, and  Content Strategy (Teaching Panel), Sponsored by: Media Management, Economics, and Entrepreneurship Division and Communication Technology Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC),  August, 2019, Toronto, Canada.
  • Grigoryan, N; Idris, I.; Gao, B.; King, R.; Khan, M. L.; and Titsworth, S., Navigating Fake News: An Assessment of Students’ New Media Literacy Skills” in News Division, Broadcast Education   Association (BEA), August, 2019, Las Vegas, NV. [2nd Best Paper Award]
  • Khan, M. L. (2018). Theoretical and Ethical Challenges and Strategies of Teaching Digital Analytics, Communication Technology and Newspaper and Online News Divisions, Association for  Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC),  August 09, 2018, Washington D.C.
  • Khan, M. L. (2018). Social Media Analytics at Crossroads, Panel Research Presentation in Something Old, Something New, and Something Borrowed: A Discussion of Mass Communication Research Matrimony, Broadcast Education Association (BEA), April 07-10, 2018, Las Vegas, NV.
  • Khan, M. L. (2017). If You Build It, They Will Post”: The Beneficial Applications of Higher Education Institutions Creating and Utilizing Social Analytics Labs, Human Communication and Technology Division, National Communication Association (NCA), Nov 16-19, 2017, Dallas, TX.
  • Sweitzer, B; Khan, M. L. (2017). Dialogic Orientation of U.S. Universities on Twitter: A Social Media Analytics Approach, Panel: Studying Audience Behavior in a Convergent Environment: Locating Synthesis and Integration in Audience Research and Analytics, Broadcast Education Association (BEA), April 22-25, 2017, Las Vegas, NV, United States.
  • Khan, M. L, Zaher, Z.; Newton, G., (2017). How social media defined Rio Olympics: A text analytics approach towards understanding the impact of Zika Virus, International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, May 25-30, 2017, San Diego, CA, United States.
  • Khan, M. L, Zaher, Z. (2017). Sharing online to caring offline: How social media helped build Walls of Kindness across three countries, International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, May 25-30, 2017, San Diego, CA, United States.
  • Khan, M. L., (2015). It’s all about Relatedness: Social Media Engagement—A Self Determination Framework. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), August 06-09, 2015, San Francisco, C.A., United States.
  • Khan, M. L., (2015). The Dynamics of Social Media Use in the UAE. European Media Management Association (EMMA) Annual Conference, 28-29 May 2015, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Russel, C., & Khan, M. L. (2015). Out-of-School Pakistani Children in the United Arab Emirates, The 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2015), March 8 – 13, Washington D.C.
  • Takahashi, B., Tandoc, E., Khan, M. L., Yuan, S., Oshita, T., & Duan, R. (2014). Social media uses in environmental risks and crises: Reviewing the past and developing new theoretical considerations. National Communication Association (NCA) 100th Annual Conference, Nov 20-23, 2014, Chicago, IL.
  • Khan, M. L., (2014). What motivates users to interact? Understanding Social Media Engagement through Likes/Dislikes, Comments, and Shares. International Communication Association (ICA) 64th Annual Conference, May 22-26, 2014, Seattle, WA.
  • Besley, J., Oh, H., Khan, M. L., Chen, L. (2014). Does Being a Jerk Work: Testing the Impact of Aggressive Communication in the Context of Health and Environmental Risk. International Communication Association (ICA) 64th Annual Conference, May 22-26, 2014, Seattle, WA.
  • Khan, M. L., & Boehmer, J. (2013). Small Business use of Facebook for Marketing: The Case of a Family-Owned Mediterranean Restaurant. In Proceedings of the 78th Annual Association for Business Communication International Conference, October 23-26, 2013, New Orleans, LA.
  • Khan, M. L., (2013). Do you read comments? The appeal of user generated comments on a video-sharing site. Beyond Convergence: Mobile, Social, and Virtual Media Conference, October 24-26, 2013, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV.
  • Khan, M. L., & Solomon, J. (2013). Flaming, Criticism and Appreciation on Social Media – An Analysis of Discourse on YouTube Videos. National Communication Association (NCA), November 21 – 24, 2013, Washington, D.C., United States.
  • Khan, M. L., & Solomon, J. (2013). Advocacy, Entertainment and News—An Analysis of User Participation on YouTube. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), August 08-11, 2013, Washington, D.C., United States.
  • Wohn, D. Y., Ellison, N. B., Khan, M. L., Fewins-Bliss, R., & Gray, R. (2013) Social media and first – generation high school students’ college aspirations, International Communication Association (ICA) Conference.  June 17-21, 2013, London, UK.
  • Khan, M. L., (2012). Comments on YouTube Videos: Understanding the Role of Anonymity. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), August 09-12, 2012, Chicago, Illinois, United States.
  • Terracina-Hartman, C., & Khan, M. L., (2011). Are Trees Social? Social Media usage Among Nonprofit Environmental Groups. Convergence and Society: Journalism, Sustainability, and Media Regeneration, October 26-28, 2011, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Khan, M. L. (2011). Developing a More Robust Approach to Global Supply Chain Information Systems in a Turbulent World. In Proceedings of the 9th Annual Conference on Telecommunications & Information Technology (ITERA 2011), April 8-10, 2011, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
  • Khan, M. L., & Hussain, S. A. (2007). The Three-Tiered Model for Strengthening Industry-Academia Linkages. In Proceedings of Pakistan’s 5th National Conference on Quality Assurance in Education. PIQC Institute of Quality, Lahore. Paper presented at PIQC.



%d bloggers like this: