Dr. Caroline Orr studies misinformation, disinformation and malinformation related to COVID and vaccinations, in addition to conducting research in the domain of cognitive security.
Orr earned her Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was honored to receive the Charles C.Clayton award for outstanding early-career performance. While at VCU, Dr. Orr and her colleagues won the International ABERJE Top Paper Award in 2016 for their research investigating vaccine-related misinformation on social media. Along with her colleagues, Dr. Orr pioneered a new theory-based mixed-methods approach to studying misinformation on social media platforms and was among the first to develop a theory-based framework for classifying misinformation on image-based platforms. Dr. Orr’s dissertation focused on the synthesis of meta-analytic methods with structured, qualitative coding schemes and a newly-developed taxonomy of behavior change techniques to first evaluate how behavior change theory was being used in published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and whether the use of theory was associated with effectiveness, and secondly, to identify, isolate, and quantify the effectiveness of individual behavior change techniques used in RCTs. Her work provided a framework for investigating not only whether an intervention is effective, but what component or combination of components accounted for the effects, which could be used to greatly reduce waste, decrease costs, and minimize participant burden in future complex behavior change interventions. Dr. Orr also worked as a research analyst and journalist during this time, focusing on detection and analysis of foreign and domestic disinformation campaigns and the role of social media and alternative media sites in online extremism and radicalization. In 2019, Dr. Orr led the Election Integrity Reporting Project at Canada’s National Observer in the lead-up to the Canadian federal election. Her work on that project was the subject of a 2020 white paper, Digital Fractures: Disinformation, Democracy, and the Media, and is being used as a model for the study of disinformation in newsrooms. In August 2021, Dr. Orr joined ARLIS as a postdoctoral research associate.
During Pregnancy: A Theory-Based Meta-Analysis. Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University