In Progress

Leveraging big data to improve global health care quality

Faculty Member: Margaret Kruk

The major goals of the research group in Quality and Responsiveness of Global Health Systems are to develop novel metrics of health system quality in low- and middle-income countries and to investigate the determinants and consequences of poor quality to inform quality improvement interventions. We work with publicly available secondary data, such as Service Provision Assessment (SPA) surveys, and are currently undertaking a major analysis to identify more efficient metrics for health facility quality in low-and middle-income countries.

High-Impact Research in Decision Science

Faculty Member: Jennifer S. Lerner

Dr. Jennifer S. Lerner is a Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Co-founder of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory. Drawing insights from psychology, economics, and neuroscience, her research examines human judgment and decision making. As an undergraduate research assistant, you would work with Dr. Lerner and her team on a variety of projects relevant to economics, finance, public health, and national security.

Aggression & Decision-Making

Faculty Member: Professor Joshua Buckholtz

We are interested in how and why people make poor cost-benefit decisions in order to harm others. For example, why might someone choose to hurt another person in a dispute when the consequences for this action loom large? This project will investigate how and why people make decisions to aggress using a series of behavioral tasks looking at traits such as aggression, decision-making, impulsivity, and cognitive flexibility.

The Representation of Dictators in Contemporary Arabic Literature

Faculty Member: Sami Alkyam

This project focuses on the manifestation/s of dictators and dictatorships in contemporary literary genres—the representation of its various configurations, and the politics of re/writing history. Specifically, the project focuses on contemporary Arabic novels that call attention to the parallel/s between narrative and the rhetorical processes and structures that once played a role in empowering dictators and helping them to create godly-like figures of themselves. Each literary work offers an articulation of history and history-making where it is conceived as a fluid narrative that is ideologically constructed through interaction, rejection, and recognition. The project focuses on opening a discussion on how novels can be read as tools of dissent against “Arab dictators” ongoing rhetorical self-empowering over their own people and nations.

Project Title: The Abolition of Capital Punishment in Austria, 1770‐1970

Faculty Member: Alison Frank Johnson

Faculty member has collected from archives in Austria hundreds of decisions in death penalty cases made by the Habsburg Emperor. These decisions reveal the crime, information about the convict, rates of execution, and substitute punishments. Faculty member needs help organizing the data to allow quantitative analysis.

Constance Baker Motley and the American Century: A Biography of Race, Gender, Class and Social Change

Faculty Member: Tomiko Brown-Nagin 

This project considers what 20th century American history looks like if it is told through the life and workplace experiences of Constance Baker Motley—the black woman lawyer, politician and judge who rose from poverty to play a decisive role in three social movements that reconstructed American law and society.

Fisheries Management, Food Security and Human Nutrition

Faculty Member: Dr. Christopher Golden

Our project will tackle the following four questions: 1) what is the current role of fish and other seafood in maintaining macro and micro-nutrient nutrition for populations around the world; 2) how will projected changes in global fish stocks affect human nutrition; 3) which populations have the greatest nutritional vulnerability to changes in the status of fisheries; and 4) which marine conservation and fisheries management strategies would pay the largest health dividends at a variety of scales from local to global?

The Origins of State Capacity in China

Faculty Member: Professor Yuhua Wang

This project examines the historical origins of state capacity at the sub-national level in China. Using historical, quantitative data, investigate the impact of war, crops, and the imperial civil service exam system on contemporary China's local state capacity.

Description of RA Duties: Responsibilities primarily include collecting data from Chinese sources, such as gazetteers. Some simple data analysis might be involved as well.

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