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The Center for Rural Pennsylvania 2019 Research Grant Projects


The Role of Rural Public Libraries in Providing Access to Online Government Services
Dr. Sara Grove of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania will use publicly available data, focus groups, and an original survey to examine online services provided by rural public libraries, challenges to service provision, and innovative programs. Dr. Grove noted the importance of the research as public libraries have taken on roles beyond those associated with being book repositories.

Attitudinal Survey of Rural Pennsylvanians
Michael Behney of Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg will survey approximately 2,000 Pennsylvanians, both rural and urban, to identify their current views on a variety of topics. He will compare these responses with similar surveys conducted in 2008 and 2003 to analyze trends over time. The research will provide policymakers with information needed to understand the current perspectives and key concerns of rural Pennsylvanians and how these have changed over the past decades.

Information Systems Security (ISS) Readiness Assessment for Municipalities in Pennsylvania
Dr. Jungwoo Ryoo of Pennsylvania State University – Altoona will assess the cybersecurity readiness of rural and urban municipal governments in Pennsylvania in terms of their infrastructure, literacy, and daily practices. The research will also provide an inventory of the types of security technologies, programs, and platforms used in local governments.

The Economic Impact of Pennsylvania’s Rural Community College Campuses
Dr. Matt Saboe of West Chester University of Pennsylvania will assess the economic impact of rural community college campuses in Pennsylvania. In addition to secondary data, he will collect primary data through interviews with key stakeholders to develop policy implications and recommendations.

Analysis of Expenditures and Participation in Public School Sports
Dr. Brian Foster of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania will use Pennsylvania Department of Education data to analyze how rural and urban Pennsylvania schools compare on athletics expenditures and participation. He will also examine how those factors relate to various sociodemographic and school district indicators.

Exploring Disparities in School Sports Participation in Rural Pennsylvania
Dr. Michael Blair Evans of Pennsylvania State University will use quantitative and qualitative data to examine trends in rural Pennsylvania sports participation and expenditures. The research is looking to identify characteristics of rural schools and their communities that influence school sports participation.

Availability of Hospice and Palliative Care in Rural Pennsylvania
Dr. Lisa Kitko of Pennsylvania State University will analyze Medicare data to identify hospice organizations and determine the current and future demand for these services in rural Pennsylvania. Dr. Kitko will also conduct interviews with hospice and palliative care providers to explain the challenges and opportunities for delivering these services in rural Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Emerging Cider Industry and its Contribution to Artisan Beverages and Sustainable Agritourism
Dr. Alison E. Feeney of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania will inventory, map, and analyze characteristics of the state’s cider industry, including production and consumption, in both rural and urban locations. Dr. Feeney will also provide policy considerations that may help to build this industry and its potential for sustainable agritourism.