In this study we will determine how computer science data mining principles can aid researchers in the creation of ethnographic decision models. Our approach uses these principles to determine which decision attributes will be most useful for predicting whether homeowners will lease land for hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is a controversial process of extracting natural gas where millions of gallons of chemicals and water are pumped into the ground to fracture rock and release the gas for collection.
This research identifies and analyzes the breadth and depth of the network of non-profit environmental organizations, conservation-oriented sportsmen groups, county conservation districts and state parks that advocate Marcellus Shale drilling issues within northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania where drilling occurs. The purpose of this study is to identify where resources are being mobilized and where environmental activities that focus on Marcellus Shale issues are underrepresented in the state.
Unconventional extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary study of the effects of rapid economic development and environmental impacts on human quality-of-life. Our research team includes eight faculty and staff with expertise in economics, anthropology, sociology, satellite image analysis, political science, risk communication, environmental education and geographic information systems. We will develop a quality-of-life index specific to our study population and the issue of gas extraction.