Karra publishes study in PLOS One

Mahesh Karra, Associate Director of the GDP Center Human Capital Initiative (HCI) and Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, recently published a study in the multidisciplinary open access journal PLOS One.

The study, entitled “Causal Language and Strength of Inference in Academic and Media Articles Shared in Social Media (CLAIMS): A Systematic Review,” was published in PLOS One on May 30, 2018

Text from the article:

This study examines the state of causal inference in health research as it reaches the consumer–the endpoint of the research pathway–by systematically reviewing the articles that are most likely to have been shared on social media. We argue that the academic research publications comparing an exposure and health outcome and media articles covering them that reach the public should at minimum have language that matches the strength of their causal inference, with a preference for studies demonstrating stronger causal inference.

Based on these principles, the objectives of this study were to identify the media articles and related academic literature measuring the association between an exposure and a health outcome most shared through social media in 2015 and assess 1) the strength of causal inference in research articles from scientific journals, 2) concordance between strength of inference and the use of causal language in those articles, and 3) the strength of causal language used in corresponding media articles.

Karra’s academic and research interests are broadly in development economics, health economics, quantitative methods, and applied demography. His research utilizes experimental and non-experimental methods to investigate the relationships between population, health, and economic development in low- and middle-income countries.