Scoring Struggles: Documenting Lived Experiences of Web Search

February 2020 – December 2021

Being ranked in web search engines can make or break or business, reputation, or career. While much work on the politics of search engines has focused on questions of bias, discrimination, and design, rather little is still known how people who depend on these results experience the system on a daily basis. Big companies and organizations may have the resources to hire PR and marketing consultants to affect their standing in the engines. But how do less well-resourced people make sense and cope with their predicament?

In this project, we document the lived experiences of people struggling with web search results. Through a series of qualitative interviews, we collect the stories from small business owners and local activists to politicians running for public office and people re-entering society after prison terms.


Singh R, Eng A, Gonzales D, Lee C, Li E, McGovern C, Pinch A, Williams-Ceci S, Wisniewski K, Yang, S and Ziewitz M (2020). Scoring Struggles: Everyday Experiences of Web Search Engines. Working Paper #1, August. Ithaca, NY: Digital Due Process Clinic.

Funding: NSF CAREER Award (#1848286)


Picture of Amy Eng

Amy Eng

Student Researcher

Picture of Annika Pinch

Annika Pinch

Student Researcher

Picture of Cassidy McGovern

Cassidy McGovern

Student Researcher

Picture of Ciarra Lee

Ciarra Lee

Student Researcher

Picture of Kyrz Wisniewski

Kyra Wisniewski

Student Researcher

Headshot of Deana Gonzales

Deana Gonzales

Student Researcher

Picture of Emma Li

Emma Li

Student Researcher

Picture of Sterling Williams-Ceci

Sterling Williams-Ceci

Student Researcher

Headshot of Ranjit Singh

Ranjit Singh

Graduate Teaching Fellow

Malte Ziewitz

PI; Director

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