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Stephanie Arriaga conducts original qualitative research: Academic year 2016-2017

In collaboration with Dr. Jessica Mulligan, Stephanie Arriaga ’17 created her own research project. The project: Technological Barriers to Insurance Coverage Under the ACA explored how users experience the on-line market places for signing up for health insurance. Ms. Arriaga employed qualitative methods of direct observation and life history interviewing in this project.

This research project employs ethnographic methods of direct observation and interviewing to understand how people used the insurance marketplaces that were created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Although many individuals used social media, they did not feel comfortable attempting to sign up for coverage online. These individuals repeatedly commented that the online insurance marketplaces are “too difficult,” “complicated” and “just not user-friendly.” This research documented the enrollment barriers that individuals encountered and argued that policymakers should pay more attention to user experience when creating new technology platforms for social services. Her research was supported by an undergraduate research grant. She presented her work at the college’s annual celebration of scholarship.