This project is funded by the Northwestern University Office of Provost, the NSF Grants: CNS-1010904, OCI-0904356, IIS-0838564, SBE-1063901, UL1RR024146-06S2, NIH CTSA award UL1RR025741, 5UL1RR025741-04S3, Army Research Laboratory under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-09-2-0053, BCS-0940851.

In this project, we are investigating how to self-assemble student- and faculty-based project teams that are optimally effective according to various criteria such as learning, cohesiveness, and final performance.

We plan to address this research goal in two phases. In phase one, we would first like to understand the socio-technical motivations behind the team formation process that influences students’ decisions to select potential teammates. We intend to use a multi-theoretical multilevel model of team assembly to examine which mechanisms (e.g., skill, level, role, resources) explain why students select others as team members. Then, in phase two, we will implement interventions in the team assembly process to modify the recommendations users receive. The goal would be to help them select more suitable teammates to facilitate improved learning, project designs and cohesiveness. Ultimately, our goal is to determine if providing users more information about their potential teammates and allowing participants to choose their own teams gives them more agency in the process and increases their motivation to learn.

To help us address our research objectives, we plan to use My Dream Team (MDT), a web-based team recommender tool developed by SONIC with the goal of facilitating the assembly process of project teams. The platform provides the opportunity to better understand the assembly behaviors of people through the application of social science theories and the analysis of digital trace data. MDT uses matching and ranking algorithms to provide theoretically driven recommendations for team membership.

Publications and Presentations:

Twyman, M., Newman, D., DeChurch, L., & Contractor, N. (2016, July). The Ties that Form Teams: Self-Organization, Homophily, and Multiplexity. Paper presented at 11th Annual INGRoup Conference, Helsinki, Finland.
*Runner-up: “Best Student Paper” Award

Twyman, M., DeChurch, L. & Contractor, N. (2016, April). The Impact of Homophily and Multiplex Networks on the Assembly of Teams. Poster presented at the Sunbelt XXXVI Conference, International Network for Social Network Analysis, Newport Beach, CA.

Twyman, M., Wax, A., DeChurch, L., & Contractor, N. (2015, July). Looking for Leadership: Understanding Team Assembly in a Web Technology. In A. Wax and M. Twyman (co-chairs), Technologies for Studying and Enabling Teams. Symposium conducted at the 10th Annual INGRoup Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Asencio, R., Huang, Y., DeChurch, L., Contractor, N., Sawant, A., & Murase, T. (2015, July). The MyDreamTeam Builder: A Recommender System for Assembling & Enabling Effective Teams. Poster presented at the Interdisciplinary Network Conference for Group Research (INGRoup) Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.
*Best Poster Award

Twyman, M., Wax, A., DeChurch, L., & Contractor, N. (2015, June). Emergence of Assembly & Leadership Networks in Teams. Poster presented at the NetSci 2015 International School and Conference on Network Science, Zaragoza, Spain.


Noshir Contractor (PI),  Leslie DeChurch

SONIC Team Members:  Brennan Antone, Diego Gómez-ZaráJackie Ng, Marlon Twyman

Developers: Anup Sawant, Xiang Li