Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Research

Through my work in Collaborative Information Seeking (CIS), I have explored ways to bring diversity to solving common and complex problems. In the context of collaboration, I had identified three levels: (1) collaborating due to a requirement; (2) collaborating to do division of work; and (3) collaborating to bring in differences in skills, ideas, and opinions. It was this last level where I focused most of my research since 2008. I argued and empirically showed through many studies published at SIGIR conference, Journal of IP&M and other high-impact scholarly places how people with diverse set of skills and backgrounds could create synergic solutions that teams without that diversity cannot.

In my work with Social Information Seeking (SIS), I have pushed the idea of Wisdom of the Crowd to see how multiple viewpoints could help in quality control as well as achieving more comprehensiveness in sense-making. I even developed a new search system interface that would allow people to see different viewpoints in order to grasp a better sense of a controversial issue. This idea of bringing diverse set of people together to work on information seeking and sense-making tasks has been at the core of my Coagmento system.

Since 2018, I have been actively involved in studying issues of bias and diversity in search and recommender systems. My research has resulted in new methods for explicating and addressing these issues in many scenarios. I have also worked tirelessly to bring awareness about these issues through talks and other engagements at local and global stages. As this research has expanded to include studies of explainability and fairness, I have also been working on establishing a Responsible AI group at UW. This group, potentially as a new center, will help me continue pushing the DEI objectives in scholarship, education, and outreach.

Chirag Shah

Information School (iSchool)
University of Washington
Mary Gates Hall 310B, Seattle, WA 98195, USA