1. Contemporary criminological and social theories
2. The adoption of technological tools in policing
3. The co-construction of technology and society − social aspects of the Internet
4. Methodology and methods for social research, especially in online environments
5. Trained in social science research methods: research and study skills; data collection in context; ethics and philosophy of social research; quantitative methods; qualitative methods; and case studies. Experienced in designing and undertaking surveys; interviews; focus groups; and analysing data using computer software, e.g., SPSS, NVIVO, ParaView, Weka.
For my doctorate, I focused on the nature of cybercommunities; and, in particular, the notion of the cybercommunity Second Life as a hotbed of deviant behaviour. I challenged this general notion via demonstrating that when Second Life is viewed through the lens of modernity, the dominant image of life in the cybercommunity shifted from deviance to solidarity. I argued that Second Life had a reflexive relationship with the modern world in which many features of the real world were mirrored in the cybercommunity. Moreover, I challenged the major motif in policing in the real world − surveillance through technologies − both in the very idea and its effect, and demonstrated the importance of social bond in bringing individuals together to conform to rules and norms.
Since the completion of my doctorate, I have been exploring (i) the roles played by technology in social theories about modernity and (ii) the sociological nature of the technical and social development of the Internet. These studies inspired the formulation of a theory of Phatic Technology − defined as technologies that establish, develop and maintain human relationships. Of course, the Internet is not the first phatic technology, but without question the Internet has made phatic technology a central part of modern life. My work has been directed towards a greater understanding of the sociological significance of phatic technology by establishing a relationship between phatic technology and contemporary social theories. The theory of phatic technology serves as a conceptual framework for investigating a range of the important questions that arise from current developments of social technologies in social life, especially in areas such as deviance and surveillance.