Data Clean Up

When I took government research methods in the Fall 2013 semester, Professor Chris Howard warned us that while research was rewarding, it could also be very tedious.  Part of the “tedious” element of my project has been data cleaning. Each state had three separate excel sheets detailing the meta data for the project. This included the number of articles published in August 2009, the number of articles with healthcare related key terms, and the names of the newspapers that published these articles.  However, the computer program I am using for my project, R, is very finicky and does not work correctly if there are too many spaces or extra commas in documents read into the program.

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Local Media Coverage and State Level Ideology

Hello! My name is Joanna Borman and I am working on an independent project this summer that deals with media coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). My project is an extension of work I have been doing through the Social Network and Political Psychology Lab (SNaPP) Lab on campus.  The lab is run by Government professor Jaime Settle and primarily covers the intersection of political science and psychology, or political behavior.  However, over the past year my team (dubbed the “Obamacare Group”) has been collecting information on the ACA in order to better understand one of the most seminal events in American politics over the past decade.

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Biased Newspaper Coverage and Biases in Newspaper Readership

Hello! My name is Will Evans. I am a sophomore at William & Mary, majoring in Government. I will be working in Professor Settle’s Social Networks and Political Psychology Lab this Summer. I will be studying the relationship between biased local newspaper coverage, and the political ideology of newspaper readerships. I will aim to answer the question: does biased local newspaper coverage of ideologically contentious legislation correlate with an ideologically biased newspaper readership? To explore this question, I will analyze newspaper coverage of the Affordable Care Act in California, Texas, and Florida. Using original data collected from newspaper articles written in August 2009 (the height of the healthcare debate) covering the Affordable Care Act, I will analyze the recurrence of ideologically charged key words. An abundance of specific ideologically biased keywords in an article will indicate the ideological biases of the publishing newspaper. Examples of these keywords are “ration” and “public option.” Throughout the healthcare debate, conservatives have emphasized the potential “rationing” of healthcare, while liberals have avoided the term because of its negative connotation. Therefore “ration” will likely appear more in conservative newspapers, aiming to highlight problems with the ACA and promote a conservative argument. The same concept applies to the keyword “public option,” a frequent element of the liberal argument in support of the ACA.

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