Our society's intense dependence on energy can drive new energy technologies to scale up with dramatic speed. There are benefits and costs associated with such rapid deployment, especially if the technologies consume large amounts of land or other resources or if the effects are not yet fully understood.
Policy makers can benefit from having a clear understanding of the scope and depth of possible concerns and benefits to ensure standards are appropriately tailored for workplace safety, environmental protection, and community health and welfare
The goal of this project is to develop a rapid and inexpensive technique to use social media channels to elicit concerns and perceived benefits of new energy technologies from stakeholders and members of the public who are knowledgeable about the emerging technology. Most approaches rely heavily on subject experts, but experience shows that citizens and stakeholders often contribute valuable insights.
This project builds on earlier work to conduct a rapid assessment of concerns about hydraulic fracturing. Those results were reported at a National Academy of Sciences workshop in May 2013. A powerpoint of that presentation is available here. A journal article publishing that work is available here.
Researchers at the EnergyTrans Lab are experimenting with using Facebook and Twitter advertising channels to reach out to knowledgeable people about new energy technologies. So that we might validate the findings of the method against previous research, our first project focuses on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the United States. Future work will investigate other new energy technologies.
In this effort, we are not passing judgment on the technology itself. We are merely gathering perceptions from people who both support and oppose the technology. Our goal is to produce a complete list of possible benefits and costs. This list will be useful to policy makers who are charged with the responsibility of managing risks and benefits of the technology.
Immediately below: Map of 2013 responses by state
Far below, Map of 2015 responses by state
News! (May, 2017)
August 1, 2017
The manuscript is basically done! Out for last review by our undergraduate research team of co-authors. The results are intriguing! We expected to find many more similarities than we did. The work leads to some important insights.
May 8, 2017
Beth has finished making all the maps (see below), the tree diagrams, and has done the Chi-squared stats on the descriptor data. Now with the semester winding down, we can throw ourselves into writing.
March 7, 2017
We completed the review of all the coding and updated a few of the codes. We learned about tree diagrams and are experimenting with making diagrams that summarize data that is usually presented in a table format.
January 17, 2017
We began validating our coding process and experimenting with new tools to make maps and graphical summaries of data.
October 15, 2016
Our team of three is using the qualitative data analysis tool dedoose.com to analyze our data from our survey. Compared to a previous Facebook-based approach, we succeeded in hearing from a wide range of stakeholders, including many people working in the oil and gas industry. We will continue to analyze our data and write up our results this winter.
December 5, 2015
Our Facebook "marketing" strategy was successful! With $200 we received 404 responses in one week. Our Twitter campaign was not successful! With zero expenditures, we received only a handful of responses. The three members of the research team are now using dedoose.com to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data from the FB survey. We are also preparing PPT presentation for Dec 9th in Arlington, VA at Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting.
November 4, 2015
We have read the academic literature from others who have used Facebook or Twitter marketing channels to recruit respondents to a survey instrument.
After consideration, we have decided that Instagram is not as promising a channel as Facebook or Twitter.
We are testing our survey instrument, using Qualtrics.
We plan to present results at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Risk Analysis in Arlington VA in December 2015.
We also plan to produce a publication in a professional academic journal about the methodology we develop.
We are beginning work by studying concerns and perceived benefits of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. One reason to select this technology is to enable us to compare our results with earlier published work. This project differs from the previous work on this issue because we will be developing a much more sophisticated and varied approach to using Facebook and Twitter. It will also ask about benefits in addition to concerns
Our media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter are designed to direct interested and knowledgeable people to a survey website with open-ended questions (where people can express their concerns and perceived benefits of fracking).