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Research

Below are the core aims of our Signature Program. We anticipate further development and activities along the way, depending on additional opportunities and support that we may obtain through other means.

a) Facilitate the development of an international network to address the aims of the program

Our international network includes several countries/institutions: Spain (University of Valencia), Canada (McGill University), and the Netherlands (Leiden University).

b) Conduct international survey in the United States (University of Minnesota), Spain (University of Valencia), Canada (McGill University), and the Netherlands (Leiden University)

The coordinating team will work on developing a core survey to evaluate people’s beliefs about ASD risk factors and treatments. The survey will be translated from English to Dutch and Spanish, and administered online in our network. The team also plans to engage in data collection here in MN at the State Fair in August 2016. The findings from this survey will reveal potential global similarities and differences in public views.

c) Conduct a qualitative analysis of misinformation arguments in the World Wide Web

The coordinating team will work on identifying a core set of websites that are high in popularity, and spread misinformation about ASD

The team will perform a qualitative analysis of a selected set of websites across countries to identify the different arguments that are put forth. The websites will be analyzed for features such as content claims, design attributes, rhetorical appeals, and reasoning flaws. Findings will be compared to identify common themes and/or unique approaches.

d) Disseminate the findings in the Department of Educational Psychology and College of Education & Human Development and inform instruction/course design

The findings from our research projects will be disseminated via a one-day colloquium in the EPSY department and will be used to inform the content of relevant courses offered in our Department (e.g., courses in Special Education focused on ASD risk factors and treatment options, courses in Psychological Foundations focused on debunking of misinformation). Our long-term goal is the development of a study abroad course focused on understanding ASD with an emphasis on debunking global misinformation.