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The Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa is proud to present the 2013-2014 recipients of the Social Sciences Funding Program (SSFP). The awards are designed to support seed funding to develop pilot data and to conduct preliminary work that will enable UI researchers to submit competitive applications for external research grants and/or supports new directions in scholarly/creative activity.

Examples of previous successful SSFP proposals are now available for downloading.  Sign in here with your Hawk ID and password to access.


Richard Funderburg
Richard Funderburg, Assistant Professor, Urban & Regional Planning
Economic Impacts of Local Development Subsidies

This research estimates the potential returns Iowa would gain with legislative adoption of a blight criterion for the use of tax increment financing (TIF) in local real estate development projects. All previous efforts to measure economic development impacts studied large spatial units of observation such as municipal boundaries or Census block groups even when few parcels receive any public investment. The funding of this proposal enables the design and testing of a prototype project evaluation model at fine spatial resolution of land use (parcel or 1 square km) with the collection and purchase of microdata. This research estimates the benefits of adopting a blight criterion using quasi-experimental methods in which we identify and match controls for parcels of TIF districts.

Matthew Hill
Matthew Hill, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Pueblo on the Plains: Chronology and Technology of Culture Contact

The 17th/early 18th century Scott County Pueblo (14SC1) and two adjacent archaeological sites (14SC304 and 14SC409) on the High Plains of Kansas shed light on how Spanish colonialism changed the technology and economies of Native American societies across North America, not just those in areas of direct cultural contact with the Spanish. Our central hypothesis is that these sites form a related community occupied by both Puebloan migrants, who fled Spanish persecution in the northern Southwest, and Plains Apache residents, who underwent profound social, technological, and economical changes due to their extended contact with these refugees. Our results will relate not only to the histories of these Native American groups but also more broadly to the global impacts of colonization, particularly the unintended and indirect consequences. Social Sciences Funding Program support is requested for summer archaeological field excavation and laboratory analyses to produce supporting data for a National Science Foundation grant proposal

Marc LindermanMarc Linderman, Associate Professor, Geography
Land Management and Hydrology Influences on Floodplain Vegetation:  Monitoring and Modeling for Decision Support

The primary objective of this proposal will be to develop field calibration and vegetation survey data to support the development and validation of an aerial hyperspectral scanner and associated image classification methodologies with a particular focus on mapping floodplain vegetation. These analyses will be integrated with available historical land use information (land use and hydrological control) and floodplain hydrology estimates (flooding frequency and inundation period) to develop a spatial framework to provide critical insight into possible fine-scale to landscape drivers of vegetation patterns and invasive species distributions.

Julianna Pacheco, Assistant Professor, Political Science
The Role of State Newspapers on Governmental Attention to Tobacco and Vaccines

I propose to draw upon the 50 policy arenas of the American states to explore the role of media on policymaking from 1990-2010 on two issues: tobacco and vaccines.  Media attention will be measured by the total number of stories on tobacco and vaccines that appeared in the state newspaper with the highest circulation rates using the America's Newspaper archive.  I also plan to categorize the stories according to major topics within each issue to measure problem definition from the media's perspective.  I request half time GA support (20 hours) for two semesters to aid in this collection effort.  Previously, I collected data on bill introductions and gubernatorial speeches on tobacco and vaccines; hence, this project will contribute to an already extensive dataset on policymaking in the American states.  I plan to demonstrate the feasibility of the data collection effort and submit a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation next year to extend the number of issues beyond the two proposed here.

Teresa Ann Treat
Teresa Ann Treat, Associate Professor, Psychology
Do Food Cravings Alter Visual Attention to Food  Among Overweight and Obese Women?

Food-related problems present both public health (i.e., obesity) and clinical (i.e., disordered eating) challenges.  Research suggests that visual attention to food-related information may play a role in problematic food consumption, but serious conceptual and methodological limitations have constrained prior work.  The proposed study would evaluate whether greater craving for unhealthy (vs healthy) foods is associated with heightened visual attention to unhealthy (vs healthy) foods in a community sample of 100 women whose weight varies from normal to obese.  The proposed research would evaluate (a) whether manipulated exposure to foods that are high versus low in added fat/sugar alters visual attention to unhealthy vs healthy foods, particularly among those who struggle with overweight or obesity; and (b) whether visual attention to specific foods is associated with craving judgments of these foods.  The results of the proposed research would set the stage for the development of techniques designed to alter problematic visual-attention patterns in NIH-funded research.

Pamela Wesely
Pamela Wesely, Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning
Collaborative Web Technologies in the Second Language Classroom: A Multiple Case Study

Collaborative Web technologies offer rich and vital opportunities for complex, meaning-focused communication, yet how people teach and learn productively with these technologies in the second language (L2) classroom has not yet been determined.  These free and low-cost collaborative Web technologies (often referred to with the term "Web 2.0") encompass social networking, blogging, microblogging, media sharing, wikis, and more; they have been shown to be accessible to teachers in most K-12 public schools, as they depend on modest Internet access and computer availability. The L2 classroom in the United States includes settings where native English speakers are taught foreign or world languages (e.g. Spanish, French, German), and where non-native English speakers (English Language Learners, or ELLs) are instructed in English.  This pilot study aims to explore classrooms where L2 instructors use collaborative Web technologies.  Using seven diverse model programs that use these technologies extensively, this multiple case study seeks to investigate, describe, and explain what is occurring in these L2 classrooms, and how the use of these technologies affects teaching and learning language; two additional major purposes of this pilot study relate to testing research instruments and identifying appropriate participant groups to prepare for a proposal to external federal funding agencies.