Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Faculty of Business and Law

School of Economics and Finance

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Ben Chan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law
Professor Benno Torgler
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law
Dr Stephen Whyte
Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law


Online dating is now the number one way people find their marriage partner in developed economies (Australia, USA, UK, France, Germany, to name a few). Pioneers of mate choice behavioural Science such as in economics (Becker in the 1970’s and 1980’s), in evolutionary biology (Trivers in the 1970’s), and in social psychology (Kenrick & Buss in the 1980’s) propose that marriage markets find equilibrium in heterosexual complementary production based on men and women’s reproductive investment and cost. Such theories have been repeatedly tested and shown to be replicable for heterosexual populations. But little is known about how minority sexualities engage online dating and the mechanisms that drive mate search behaviour and choice, particularly in a cyber-settings.

Utilising a novel data set collected as part of a QUT 2016 online dating survey, with a participant pool (gay n=342; lesbian n=110; asexual n=106), coupled with ABS & HILDA data, our study proposes to explore economic, personality, and socio-cultural factors impacting both preference and behaviour for minority sexualities in the Australian online dating market.

Research activities

Research activities during this project may include:

  • a literature review
  • quantitative research
  • participating in writing a scholarly paper.

This project is expected to run for 10 weeks.

Skills and experience

This project would suit an application from a current motivated undergraduate student that was interested in behavioural economics research exploring human behaviour in large scale decisions relating to gender, sex and sexuality. The current VRES research proposal and data could easily be extrapolated into an Honours or Master's thesis should the student wish to continue on into a HDR course in the future.


Contact the Graduate Research Centre at for more information on the Vacation Research Experience Scheme.