The Covid-19 Experience: an Analysis of Ideology and Information Spread Through Social Media (DSI-SRP)

This DSI-SRP fellowship funded Priya Bhatt to work in the laboratory of Jonathan Metzl in the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society during the summer of 2022. Priya is a junior with a major in Medicine, Health, & Society.

In this study, Priya conducted an analyses of social media and political messaging utilizing novel data science techniques such as transformer models. She specifically assessed ways that racialized para-policy attitudes and opinions about healthcare reform may have shifted over time. She ultimately assessed the effects of on-the-ground racial and political attitudes on policy implementation, specifically focusing on zero sum narratives, racialization of political costs and benefits, and polarization.

This summer, Priya and the team focused on conducting a thorough literature review to determine best current methods in conducting such thematic analyses. Findings included a distinct differentiation between social science and data science methods in discerning racist attitudes through social media analyses. These findings have been applied to strengthen our own analyses.

The featured image, representing Priya’s research, is an image of her RStudio workspace and code developed this summer that was used to create a master dataset sampling information from different areas in order to be compared to Facebook data.

In addition to receiving support through a DSI-SRP fellowship, this project was supported and facilitated by the DSI Data Science Team through their regular summer workshops and demo sessions.