Facebook and Political Attitudes

This project will be conducted through the Social Networks and Political Psychology (SNaPP) Lab, directed by Professor Jaime Settle. Its purpose is to determine the effects of exposure to political content on Facebook on Facebook users’ political attitudes, including political ideology and candidate preferences. Despite extensive research on the relationship between social media and politics, there has yet to be a direct investigation into whether or not political posts on Facebook affect the beliefs of those viewing them. A significant portion of the research will be devoted to developing a method for realistically testing this relationship using actual content from participants’ own Facebook timelines. An examination of the methodologies of existing social media studies (both inside and outside of political science) will help to determine the best approach for this study. The time this summer will be used to design and pilot test research ideas with the goal of creating a research design that can be conducted in the fall of 2016 as part of the Omnibus project.

[Read more…]

Final Wrap-up

This is my final blog post, and it’s time to wrap up my summer research experience.  Getting the bad news out of the way first, unfortunately my own, short project did not yield any conclusive results.  Whether a physician was employed did not seem to have a significant effect on the physician’s assessment of healthcare quality.  There were a variety of reasons for this result.  I was limited to public use data, and was not able to control for possible intangible differences between hospitals.  In addition, the Community Tracking Study has physicians estimate their ability to provide high quality care and does not empirically measure quality.  There is a good chance that the actual quality of care a physician provides might significantly differ from a physician’s own opinion of their care quality.

[Read more…]

Being exclusive (and inclusive) with regressions

When I finish up my research this summer, I will have produced two papers.    One of those is already finished; I spent a good deal of time compiling a comprehensive literature review on the integration between physicians and hospitals in the healthcare industry.  The second part of this research experience is ongoing.

[Read more…]

Regression Analysis

Steven Levitt, one of the most famous economists alive and author of Freakonomics, once said, “Regression analysis is more art than science.”  After creating my own complicated regressions for the first time, I am starting to agree with him!

[Read more…]

Physician-Hospital Integration and Healthcare Quality

In my research project I have decided to look at physician-hospital integration’s effect on the quality of care provided.  When physicians and hospitals work together it can greatly affect patients.  If physicians and hospitals are not competing but instead acting as one organization, the decrease in healthcare market competition means that organizations can increase prices without fear of another organization charging less.  Not all effects of the integration are negative, however.  If hospitals and physicians are working together, they can more easily purchase expensive technologies that improve patient care.  For example, physicians in solo practice can’t afford to have digital medical records, but large, integrated organizations can easily purchase and implement this expensive technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.  I wanted to find out how integrated organizations affect patients, so I decided that the greatest affect a physician-hospital relation could have on patients is in terms of healthcare quality.

[Read more…]