Center of IT Impact Studies (2015-…)
Kristjan is currently the head of Center of IT Impact Studies (CITIS) at the University of Tartu. CITIS is a research and teaching project jointly funded by the University of Tartu and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (through SF-funding). It is designed to become a leading Estonian academic research and teaching center focusing on the impact and usage of technological applications in the fields of governance and public services in Estonia. More specifically, CITIS makes use of large scale data that is produced by the ecosystem of Estonian e-governance and investigates what is economic, social and political impact of e-governance. CITIS was established in September 2015 and it runs for four years. As of September 2016 CITIS runs with the crew of six, four senior researchers and two PhD candidates.
Post-doctoral research (2012-2014)
Kristjan has completed the Marie Curie / ERMOS post-doctoral research fellowship at the Institute of Government and Politics at the University of Tartu. His post-doctoral research project was entitled ‘The Impact of ICTs on Political Behavior. Explaining the Impact of Internet Voting and Voting Advice Applications on Voters’ Preferences, Choices and Turnout’. The purpose of this project was to explain the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on political participation and electoral behavior. More specifically, the effects of internet voting and voting advice applications (VAA) were taken under scrutiny as the two most tangible technological applications directly linked to act of voting. The central research question of this project asked, what are the effects of internet voting and VAA usage on voter’s preferences, vote choice and electoral turnout ? The key deliverables of this post-doctoral research were three peer-reviewed journal articles and the data repository making the data available for interested researchers. The latter goal has been achieved with the initiation of the Estonian National Election Study that hosts a number of high quality survey data.
E-voting studies in Estonia (2005-…)
Since 2005, one of Kristjan’s defining areas of interest has been internet voting in Estonia, as well as comparatively. Since 2009, he has managed and fielded all Estonian internet voting surveys (in total of six post-election studies), since 2013 raised funding for three consecutive e-voting studies, published a number of conference papers, reports and articles in this domain. The main research questions in this domain cover e-voting diffusion patterns in the population, behavioral profile of e-voters and its political neutrality. Kristjan is currently working toward an international research project to merge e-voting survey data from Estonian with those of Norway, Switzerland and Canada. The latter will provide empirical basis for the first comprehensive comparative behavioral study on the effects of e-voting. This ongoing research will be one of the key areas of research in the coming years. In addition to survey data, Kristjan has worked with the log files of Estonian e-voting data (from 2013, 2014 and 2015 elections), a large-scale population level anonymized dataset that enables to understand basic behavioral mechanisms of internet voters on a population level. Using the same log files, Kristjan and his team proposed in 2014 a fully-automated identification algorithm that is designed to detect individual and system level anomalies in real time as the logs are being generated during the election period. The latter is an example of how knowledge produced in the university laboratories can be fed back to the society and be applied in solving relevant problems in real world.