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Reddit Reveals a Societal Shift

January 2024

Male college student wearing suit jacket and tie.
Chase Westhoff

What does Reddit have to do with health science research? More than you’d think. The social news-aggregation website known as Reddit is a place where users can post content and vote up or down on what is shared by other members. Among the plethora of topics on Reddit there is a strong vein of health-related content.

Researchers at BYU’s Computational Health Science Research Collaborative are crunching data to see how Reddit users search for and sift through medical information and how this has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chase Westhoff, a recent graduate in computer science, participated on the interdisciplinary team that is conducting the research. “Working with Dr. Christophe Giraud-Carrier on this project allowed me to learn about data scraping, data analysis, and project planning,” Westhoff says. “Being on this team has helped me better understand the research process and the difference I can make as a researcher.”

“I am extremely grateful for the support of generous donors. Without it, I would not have been able to participate,” Westhoff says. He is now a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at BYU.

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