Abdullah Shaar and Andrew Edward present their paper on Twitter analysis during the pandemic
Abdullah Shaar and Andrew Edward present their paper on Twitter analysis during the pandemic

CMU-Q student researchers use Twitter to assess the pandemic’s impact on GCC shipping

Two students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a QF partner university, have analyzed tweets to learn more about people’s experiences with shipments to the GCC during the pandemic.

Andrew Edward and Abdullah Shaar originally looked into the question for a summer class that explored data analysis during the pandemic. In December 2020, they presented their findings at the 31st Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS).

The idea for the project began with a common frustration for many people living in Qatar during the pandemic. Edward explained, “I had a shipment that was delayed for two months, and I wondered if I was the only one affected. Abdullah and I went onto Twitter to see if other people were sharing this experience. We realized there were so many tweets that we could gather data and analyze it.”

Shaar explained that the first step was to look back at tweets before the pandemic began: “We gathered the data from one year prior and compared it to tweets that were made during the pandemic. We found there was a definite change and people were more dissatisfied in 2020.”

After presenting their findings as the final project for the class, information systems professors Houda Bouamor and Nui Vatanasakdakul recommended the students submit the work to the ACIS conference. The paper was accepted, and Edward and Shaar presented at the virtual conference held in December 2020.

“The conference was a fantastic experience,” said Edward. “People were enthusiastic about the project, and they gave us very important feedback for improving the paper and looking deeper into the data.”

The students are now looking to further develop the analysis and to submit it to an academic journal. “I feel like this is what any scholar aspires to do. You always want to keep working on the research. We want to develop more findings that can be used by other researchers or other studies to improve on the situation that we have here in the GCC.

Edward will graduate in May 2021 with a degree in information systems. Shaar will graduate in May 2022 with dual degrees in biological sciences and computer science.

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