Research Methodology

Research Methodology

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4020-5.ch005
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Social media and online forums create a community and social network where information flows, and members provide informational, instrumental, or spiritual support. This type of interconnectedness ultimately relieves stress. Social sciences literature offers theoretical definitions for social support and stress. The authors leverage these definitions and employ concepts from linguistics and the social network theory to develop information-theoretic and machine-learning-based models to assess social support and stress among communities. The methodology estimates social support and stress in health communities and evaluates their effectiveness.
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Research Methodology

This research provides an understanding of conversations in social media among families dealing with autism. A systematic analysis of relevant interactions and feedback on health issues helps the caregiver provide efficient care. Moreover, the efficacy of social support through social media is timely and efficient. This study examines social support and stress via sentiments in information exchanged among members of the online autism community. Literature in the social sciences domain contains extensive work on the social support concept. However, a formal mathematical definition of social support and stress for online interaction does not exist. Therefore, the authors have leveraged empirical definitions of social support and stress available in computational science and social science literature that overlap with the application domain (for example, healthcare and online modes of interaction). A sentimental analysis tool and a social network analysis tool evaluate social support and stress at the structural network level. The authors will systematically analyze relevant interactions among members of autism communities on Twitter and blogs.

This research investigates whether the online autism community provides members with enough social support in the form of information sharing and networking. Perceived social support by community members can reduce psychological distress for parents of children with autism.

A social network study explores difficulties that have concerned network scientists. These challenges include questions about the diffusion of social messages and interactions or activities of members.

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