Dissertations

Dissertations chaired

How journalists perceive internal and external pressure: 
A qualitative investigation of their decision-making process

By Beth E. Concepción (2011)

Abstract
While covering issues the public needs and wants to know, journalists face competitive and organizational pressures that result in situations they perceive as challenging because of aspects such as competing loyalties and ethical ambiguities. In determining their path, journalists consider factors such as training, routines, and perceived pressure from inside and outside the news organization.

Through in-depth interviews with individual reporters at small market television stations, this study examines journalists’ perceptions of situational challenges and factors that influence their decision-making process. The study examines what meaning and significance the reporters ascribe to their experiences, and their understanding of what influences them the most.

Conference papers, articles, awards
August 2009: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Boston, MA; Paper Presentation: “Teaching journalists how to navigate ethical dilemmas: A case study of ethics in the newsroom”

April 2009: USC research paper competition, third place (highest placement among SJMC students)

A grounded theory analysis of how college students search for health information on the internet: The case of HIV/AIDS

By Kim Smith (2008)

Abstract
The researcher presented 30 students from two Southeastern universities with the following hypothetical situation. “Pretend that your close friend or relative had acquired HIV/AIDS. Where do you go on the Internet to get information?” Students used a tape recorder to record their comments as they searched, using the “think aloud” protocol, which allows for the collection of data while an event is taking place. The researcher transcribed their “think alouds” and analyzed them using grounded theory, a process allowing a theory or model to emerge from the data The model revealed that students progress through a three-stage process as they forage (search) for HIV/AIDS information. The researcher discusses the three stages, “anxiety” “knowledge,” and “help,” and what they mean for health policymakers, health science librarians, health Web site designers and editors, who want to improve the quality of online health information, and consumers’ ability to evaluate it.

Peer-reviewed publication
Anxiety, Knowledge and Help: A Model for How Black and White College Students Search for HIV/AIDS Information on the Internet.” The Qualitative Report, January, 2011

Referred presentations
A Grounded Theory Analysis of how College Students Search for Health Information on the Internet: A Case of HIV/AIDS. Paper, based on dissertation, presented at the AEJMC convention in August, 2009, Boston

College students’ search for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet: A pilot study: Kim Smith. Paper presented at Ronald McNair Conference, A&T State University, Jan, 2008.

College students’ search for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet: A pilot study: Kim Smith. Paper presented at the National Communication Association convention, Nov. 2007, Chicago.

Committee member

Communities in Transition: A Mixed-Methods Study of Changing Social Settings and Individual, Household, and Community Well-Being in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda

By Eric P. Green

Abstract
This study investigated the feasibility of conducting social ecology research in a post-conflict setting with mass internal displacement. A mixed-methods research design was used to investigate changing social and physical environments and well-being as internally displaced persons in northern Uganda began to leave large camps and return to their villages of origin or resettle elsewhere in the region. Data collection methods included household surveys (n = 548), in-depth interviews (n =98), and a youth Photovoice project. Innovative approaches to sampling involved geospatial technologies (GT) and a village-led household enumeration effort. Photovoice, GT, and village leader projects each included participatory components. Findings include (a) lessons learned about the process of using GT to learn about communities, build relationships, and pursue opportunities for social action; (b) results of a pilot study suggesting that village leaders are capable, willing, and rational data collectors; (c) a local history of migration and current trends suggesting that movement out of camps was underestimated by international agencies and misrepresented as a ‘resettlement-oriented’ process; (d) data on household return experiences depicting a process not characterized by community coordination; (e) qualitative support for the construct of psychological sense of community (PSOC) as defined by McMillan and Chavis (1986); (f) null results of a confirmatory factor analysis of the Sense of Community Index as a measure of PSOC; (g) evidence that PSOC may moderate the relationship between war experiences and symptoms of depression and anxiety; and (h) results of a student Photovoice project that describe this unfolding period of transition and reveal often overlooked community strengths. Results of this study suggest that social ecology research in this context is feasible; in particular, participatory methods were found to improve data quality. Findings also support the use of a mixed-methods approach to understanding and estimating return and resettlement following mass internal displacement.

While covering issues the public needs and wants to know, journalists face competitive and organizational pressures that result in situations they perceive as challenging because of aspects such as competing loyalties and ethical ambiguities. In determining their path, journalists consider factors such as training, routines, and perceived pressure from inside and outside the news organization.
Through in-depth interviews with individual reporters at small market television stations, this study examines journalists’ perceptions of situational challenges and factors that influence their decision-making process. The study examines what meaning and significance the reporters ascribe to their experiences, and their understanding of what influences them the most.

Publications and presentations
Kloos, B., Townley, G., & Green, E. P. (in press). Reconcilable differences? Human diversity, cultural    relativity, and the psychological sense of community. American Journal of Community Psychology.

Green, E. P. & Kloos, B. (2009). Facilitating youth participation in a context of forced migration: A Photovoice project in northern Uganda. Journal of Refugee Studies, 22(4).

Green, E. P. & Ocaka, T. (2008). Village leaders as data collectors: Willing, capable, and rational. Households In Conflict Network, Research Design Note 9.

Green, E. P. (2008, December). Uganda Photovoice. Talk presented at the Museum for African Art’s Conversations with a Continent lecture series, New York, NY.

Green, E. P. (2008, April). Communities in Transition. Talk presented at the Reconstructing Northern Uganda Conference, London, Ontario, Canada.

Green, E. P., & Kloos, B. (2007, June). Finding your way in community-based research: GPS/GIS Mapping as a method for learning about communities, building relationships, and organizing sampling strategies. Poster presented at the 11th biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, Pasadena, CA.

External reviewer

Universal Visual Communication: Developing a Multidisciplinary Paradigm for Visual Communication In a Globally Changing World

By Andrzej Gwizdalski

Abstract
The universal visual communication paradigm (UVCP) proposed in this thesis responds to the conceptual and empirical gap in studying the universal aspects of visual communication within the context of the globally changing visual culture of the twenty-first century. The creative contribution of this study comprises the development of the holistic and multidisciplinary UVCP, which also involves an original definition of global visual culture and the design of novel visual methods. The UVCP is supported by empirical findings from a cross-cultural comparative study based on fieldwork ethnography, as well as surveys and experiments designed for the purposes of this research and conducted with 130 participants from major urban areas in Argentina, Australia, China, Germany and Poland.

A Study of Australian Press Photographers and their Work

By Grahame Griffin

Abstract
Although some research has been conducted into American press photographers, little is known, in a formal and systematic sense, about Australian press photographers. By combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies, this study provides information about, and offers insights into, the working life of Australian press photographers.

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