WI20-06: Trends in DI Conversations on Online Forums



Applications to DI have declined in recent years but extant research shed little light on what has been driving these trends. Research surveys and interviews based on self-report data may not reveal more personal situations or cover financially vulnerable populations. This study will help address these limitations by utilizing a text analytics and text analysis approach, to explore how individuals communicate about DI on internet forums. This study aims to 1) collect data from online forums on disabilities to gain an understanding of the DI process from the applicants’ perspectives, 2) examine how changes in these conversations coincide with changes in the broader economic environment as well as changes in DI policies during the period of observation, 3) develop recommendations, which will include a standard text analytics and text analysis methodology using machine learning, to leverage data from online forums to more effectively expand access to and use of DI information for applicants.


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