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Visual analysis of e-mail communication to support digital forensics & e-discovery investigation in organisations

Sathiyanarayanan, M. (2020). Visual analysis of e-mail communication to support digital forensics & e-discovery investigation in organisations. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The main aim of the research is to design and develop interactive visual solutions to explore the information in E-mail communication data to support E-discovery compliance in an organisation. The solutions intent to assist the world of digital forensics and investigations, which will enable users/analysts to explore, identify/find/discover interesting communication behaviour and characterise information of interest. In this research, we designed & developed software prototypes through a structured process of abstraction, design and testing, by using a well-known methodology called Design Study Methodology (DSM). We describe our analysis/approach through examples applied within the context of a real-world application domain. Doing so is intended to explore and answer a series of research questions in ways that will improve the role of visualisation in Digital Forensics and E-discovery investigations.

The work identified the knowledge gap, challenges, requirements and tasks in Digital Forensics and E-discovery involving the analysis of E-mail communication data from the unstructured interviews with the organisation domain experts and from the literature. We employed user-centered design (UCD) which involved iterative design process for 3 years and built several visual solutions based on the requirements and tasks. We evaluated the solutions by conducting an empirical study with the experts to understand E-discovery tasks, visual solutions and the interface that can help analyst, to investigate and navigate within communication data, to identify/find/discover various patterns, trends, anomalies and information that might be interesting/relevant to investigation. The solutions were deployed in the collaborator's E-mail platform.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
[thumbnail of Sathiyanarayanan, Mithileysh_PhD_Final.pdf]
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