Research Quick Take

Here at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), our faculty have been quite busy! Here are some of the projects that our faculty have recently published.

“A Marvelous Machine: Creative Approaches to Securing Funding and Building Public Support for Streetcar Projects in Four U.S. Cities” by Dr. Jeff Brown

Planning Chair Appointed Associate Dean | College of Social Sciences &  Public Policy

In his recent article, Dr. Brown examines how supporters of streetcars have engaged in a host of creative strategies to satisfy or bypass streetcar critics. To do so, he conducts a case study of four American cities with recently built streetcars (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Tucson). Although not all four cities ended up with streetcars, he finds that streetcar supporters pursued projects that would transform public opinion, circumvent a burdensome regional planning process, and take advantage of a national funding environment willing to fund streetcars in urban areas.

“Post-script – When post-racialism fails: Meghan Markle and the limits of symbolism” by Dr. Shantel Buggs

Shantel Buggs | Sociology

In her recent article, Dr. Buggs responds to the contemporary discourse around race, gender, and class, among other factors, that informs current understandings of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Her article lends particular focus to arguments, concerns, and insights raised by other authors in this special issue in addition to recent media interviews involving the Duchess.

“The micro-task market for lemons: data quality on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk” by Dr. Douglas Ahler

Doug Ahler | Political Science

In his recent article, Dr. Ahler examines the data quality of the survey firm, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). To do so, he fields three surveys between 2018 and 2020. While he found no evidence of a “bot epidemic,” significant portions of the data—between 25 and 35 percent—were of dubious quality. Namely, suspicious IP addresses are more prevalent on MTurk than on other platforms. Moreover, many respondents appeared to respond humorously or insincerely, and this behavior increased over 200 percent from 2018 to 2020.

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