Job Function: As associate director for research, John Horrigan plays a key role at The Pew Internet & American Life Project, producing reports that explore the impact of the internet on all aspects of American life. "I'm responsible for survey design and report writing in the area of how home broadband connections impact user behavior and social networks and how people put their networks in motion to get help and advice," Horrigan says. He also serves as an interface about the findings and what they mean, often communicating with reporters and speaking at conferences. "For example, I was in Tokyo last month for a workshop on the digital content industry for the World Economic Forum," he says.
"I'm the in-house social scientist, so I use a statistical approach to get data into sensible and usable form," he says. "For example, if we see in the data that people with broadband connections are more likely to get health care via the internet, I will try to disentangle the effects to see if it is associated with a pattern of internet use or another impact."
In a Day's Work: "There's almost always a report in my inbox," Horrigan says. "If I can block out half a day to write, I'll try to do it. Some of our research involves partnerships with outside organizations, so I will often need to work with partners on projects, too," he says.
Oddest Encounter: "Six months ago, I got an email from an elderly aunt of mine. She was taking a course on the internet, and the instructor said, ‘The internet is good for keeping in touch with your social networks, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.' My aunt raised
View From The Desk: "We're in Washington DC, and I have an office with a I see other parts of the office and some cubicles."
Outside Interest: "I've taught a course in public policy for undergraduates for the past five years for the University of Texas's Washington DC program. My job has a policy component with telecom and internet, but it's fun to get pushed by the students to see other aspects of policy."
If Not Econtent, Then What? "I really do like what I'm doing. Perhaps I'd be teaching at a university."