William Dance

Senior Research Associate, PhD student

Research Interests

Keywords: disinformation; misinformation; deception; manipulation; social media.

My primary research interest is using corpus linguistic approaches to investigate deception and manipulation in online spaces. Situating myself within forensic linguistics, my research focuses on how people manipulate others linguistically and also how, on the internet, ideas spread from their inception until they cease to exist.

My PhD thesis, 'The Dissemination of Disinformation on Social Media', uses corpus approaches to study the replication and reception of online disinformation (fake news) on social media. It focuses on how people share misinformation and disinformation online to legitimise their views and how people use ’fake news’ to convince others to align with their own ideologies.

I am also a Senior Research Associate in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University working on the ‘Questioning Vaccination Discourse’ project (Quo VaDis).

The Quo VaDis team aims to achieve a better understanding of how the public view vaccinations by using large-scale computer-aided discourse analysis to investigate how the press, public, and policymakers talk about vaccines. This will help us to better understand both pro- and anti-vaccine belief in Britain and across the world.

The project has three main partners (Public Health England; the Department of Health and Social Care; the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) and through these partnerships we will feed into future public health campaigns for both adult and childhood vaccination, helping to develop evidence-based policy responses.