Dhavan V. Shah is the Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is Director of the Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC) and Scientific Director in the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS). Housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication with affiliated appointments in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Marketing, and Political Science, his research focuses on the influence of electronic and digital media on social judgments, civic engagement, and health support.
He has developed three major lines of inquiry, with his most recent work extending insights and techniques from his prior examinations of the influence of message construction and online interactions on the development and deployment of digital technologies for individual and community health. These programs of research center on: (1) the influence of message framing and processing on decision-making and opinion formation; (2) the capacity of mass and interpersonal communication, especially in online communities, to encourage civic engagement and political participation; and (3) the effects of computer-mediated interactions, particularly the expression of social support, on the management of cancer, aging, and addiction. Across these domains, he has increasingly applied computational techniques to social science questions, employing computer-assisted text analysis, machine learning, network mapping, and predictive analytics to study politics, civic life, and public health.