Dispersal of risk-related information in social networks

Bachelor thesis assignment

Dispersal of risk-related information in social networks

In crisis situations, there are numerous ways in which people can both obtain and spread relevant information. They have newspapers and TV at their disposal to learn what to do when a calamity occurs, they can rely on what they learn from their neighbours and friends, or look for information on Internet, for instance. They can also act as a source of information for others, for instance by talking to people in their environment, or posting messages on Facebook or Youtube (Gutteling & de Vries, 2012). Exactly how this information is spread from person to person, however, is largely unknown. Another unknown is how patterns of information dispersal depend on demographical variables as level of education, age, etc.

This project, therefore, aims to shed light on how risk-related information spreads in a population and how this is influenced by background variables.

It is exploratory by nature, and is part of an ongoing research project. Results will be used in other, subsequent studies. The project requires the student to design a tool or questionnaire to adequately measure the dispersal of information in a population, and conduct the study using a sample representative of the Dutch population or the population of a specific risk-prone area.


Chan, E. Y., & Saqib, N. U. (2015). Online social networking increases financial risk-taking. Computers in Human Behavior, 51(PA), 224–231.

Chung, I. J. (2011). Social Amplification of Risk in the Internet Environment. Risk Analysis, 31(12), 1883–1896.

Gutteling, J. M., & de Vries, P. W. (2012). Informatie zoekgedrag bij dreigingen en crises. Ruimtelijke Veiligheid en Risicobeleid, 3(9), 19-30.

Moussaïd, M., Brighton, H., & Gaissmaier, W. (2015). The amplification of risk in experimental diffusion chains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(18), 5631–5636.

Renn, O., Burns, W. J., Kasperson, J. X., Kasperson, R. E., & Slovic, P. (1992). The Social Amplification of Risk: Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Applications. Journal of Social Issues, 48(4), 137–160.

WODC rapport Informatiemiddelen en zoekgedrag bij dreiging en crises: https://www.wodc.nl/onderzoeksdatabase/informatiemiddelen-en-zoekgedrag-burgers.aspx


Interested in this assignment? Please contact coördinator Sven Zebel (s.zebel@utwente.nl).