This symposium will feature the following five presentations by emerging scholars, each of whom is using innovative methods to contribute to the macro social work knowledge base:
● The first presenter engaged youth in a pilot study of ecological momentary assessments (EMA; i.e., brief surveys answered via cell phone at varying times and locations). She will use results from EMA's to study the role of ambient environmental factors in shaping substance use.
● The second presenter used computational science to assess how health-related information diffuses through social networks. Through this approach, she is identifying optimal modes for disseminating vital information, especially within vulnerable communities.
● The third presenter took a virtual approach to traditional systematic social observation methods to neighborhood measurement. These digital observations allowed her to test the relationship between neighborhood disorder and criminal recidivism, while avoiding reliance on secondary data and resource-intensive primary data collection.
● The fourth presenter developed web scraping algorithms to create a dataset of community development aid allocation in Myanmar, while training satellite imagery to predict wealth in project villages. Matched geo-tagged aid and wealth data, allowed her to explain variation in the distribution and impact of different community development approaches.
● The fifth presenter used a mix of interviews, spatial analysis, and participatory photo mapping to engage youth as co-researchers in community assessment. Her study has immediate relevance to redevelopment plans set for public housing in Boston.
Varying in methods and content areas, presentations in this symposium will be relevant to a broad audience. Realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches will be offered, along with recommendations for future use of each approach in social work scholarship.