PhD student, Public Health and Health Systems

Robert Gauthier 


PhD, Public Health and Health Systems

Graduate supervisor

James Wallace

My thesis

Machine Learning (ML) strategies involve using computer algorithms to “learn” different patterns present in the data and identify where these patterns occur. My research aims to investigate how machine learning (ML) strategies can assist researchers conducting thematic analyses of online communities through developing, applying, and validating a toolkit.

My initial study worked with researchers to performing a ML guided reflexive thematic analyses of Reddit addiction recovery communities. From this study, I identified the potential for a toolkit to enhance qualitative researchers’ ability to collect and interact with data created by online communities by providing access to ML strategies. To develop, apply, and validate my toolkit, I am engaging with a multi-institution vaccine hesitancy research project, lead Samantha Meyer, PhD, where our researcher team aims to perform thematic analyses of online communities that seek to improve public health's understanding of vaccine discourse.

My time in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS)

I have greatly enjoyed my time in the SPHHS due to it having such a supportive and friendly community. The community offers many different perspectives grounded in a variety of life experiences which I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and receive feedback from.

University of Waterloo