Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Information Science

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, vii, 448 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Teresa Harrison

Committee Members

Teresa Harrison, S.S. Ravi, Luis Luna-Reyes


agenda setting theory, collective action, E-petitioning, slacktivism, social network analysis, We the People, Internet, Political participation, Social media, Marijuana, Police brutality, Collective behavior, Mass Behavior

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science


The purpose of this research is to gain a better understanding of the impact of e-petitioning as a collective mobilized action taken to express policy preferences and the way that signing behavior takes place. Previous studies have analyzed e-petition signature data to track and understand the relationship between signing activity, time, and success of a petition (Hale et al., 2013; Yasseri et al., 2014). By using data mining techniques, namely market basket analysis and social network analysis, this research will explore three case studies that consist of three sets of similar petitions that were initiated on the US e-petitioning platform, We the People (WtP), to determine if there is evidence of mobilized collective action through individuals signing more than one petition on a particular policy issue. Case Study #1 examines a set of 132 petitions related to the topic of White Genocide. Case Study #2 considers a set of 56 petitions related to the policy issues surrounding legalizing Marijuana in the US. Finally, Case Study #3 analyzes a set of 31 petitions related to police brutality issues in the US.