Xiaoxiao Shen: An integrated and interactive chat suite for online discussions

Aug. 30, 2022

A new integrative and interactive chat tool called ReChat allows users to administer, monitor and analyze live conversations and gather data from discussions among study participants.

ReChat is a tool that will allow users to manage multiple live chat sessions using an automated moderator. The approach can improve the ability to study interpersonal communications while lowering costs and expanding the number of participants in a study.

XiaoXiao Shen, a graduate student in politics, came up with the idea for ReChat when she wanted to conduct an online chat experiment as part of a research project. She noticed that there was no online tool available to help her moderate the conversation, so she decided to develop one herself.

With ReChat, study participants click a link to join an online chat room that is moderated by an intelligent bot, which the researcher can pre-program with questions and instructions to guide the conversation. The tool includes multi-language support, and can be embedded into common survey platforms or used as a stand-alone interface.

ReChat may be useful for academic researchers in the social sciences, who often conduct studies that involve discussion among participants. Researchers typically run in-person studies that involve low sample sizes and high costs of recruiting participants and moderating conversations. 

Along with its viability in research studies, the tool may be of use to marketing companies that want to host product focus groups.

“A lot of innovations come from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It is not as common for social scientists to develop an innovation, but I think that's something that we may see more of in the future.” — Xiaoxiao Shen


Development status:
Patent pending. ReChat may become a startup company, but Princeton is interested in exploring investment and partnership opportunities. 
National Science Foundation I-Corps Hub Northeast Region

Learn more: 
[email protected]

Licensing contact:
Tony Williams
Associate Director
[email protected]