Penn Staters invited to take survey about COVID-19 behaviors, vaccine hesitancy

October 11, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A research project conducted jointly by the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State University Libraries will assess COVID-19 beliefs, including vaccine hesitancy, throughout the Penn State community. A team of student researchers will survey students, employees and recent graduates (spring 2020 and later) about their attitudes, beliefs and methods of gathering information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.

survey will be available from Oct. 11 to Nov. 19 on the REDCap secure web platform. The link to the survey is All survey participants will remain anonymous and no identifying information will be requested. The survey can be accessed on mobile devices, tablets and computers.

“The information obtained through surveying such a large and diverse community will help researchers understand the impact of misinformation during a pandemic,” said Ryan Murphy, one of two second-year medical students at the College of Medicine who comprise the research team. “Large amounts of information and research regarding the pandemic are made available daily, so it is important to gauge how people are gathering information about the virus and vaccinations, as well as their trust in information regarding the pandemic.”

Lauren Pomerantz, the second team member, added, “The survey results will help increase understanding of how methods of gathering COVID-19 information correlate with health-promoting behaviors like mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and vaccination. They will also help us understand how infodemic-related information from Penn State — that which is aimed at countering false or misleading information — is influencing pandemic-related behaviors and vaccine hesitancy across all campuses. Finally, the results may help to identify any areas for improvement in responding to the pandemic.”

Bradley Long, embedded health sciences librarian at the College of Medicine’s Harrell Health Sciences Library and adviser to the student researchers, noted that some of the information circulating about COVID-19 since early last year has been either misleading or inaccurate.

“Our goal is to try to better identify how this information overload has influenced the beliefs and behaviors, including vaccine hesitancy, of our fellow Penn Staters,” Long said.

Survey participants are eligible for a random drawing to win one of 15 $10 gift cards to either Starbucks or Panera Bread. One grand prize of a $30 Grubhub gift card will also be awarded.

The research project is funded by a University Libraries Faculty Organization grant. For more information, contact Long at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 11, 2021