Recent Submissions

  • The "choking game": content analysis of persuasive messages, attitudes, values, and beliefs in mediated talk

    Nobs, Rebecca D. (2009-05)
    "The 'choking game' is an activity played by children typically ranging from 9-17 years of age that has been linked to many deaths among young children and teenagers. This study employed the use of content analysis to look at different persuasive messages, attitudes, beliefs, and values in mediated talk in regards to the 'choking game' in an effort to better understand what communicative approaches may be useful when attempting to influence children regarding this 'game.' Several key findings resulted from this research. The results of this study suggest that cognitive dissonance theory could be utilized to persuade children to stop playing this 'game.' Consistent with persuasive norms, the study suggests that mediated conversations about the 'choking game' utilize fear appeals more than other emotional appeals, as well as use narrative evidence more frequently to persuade children to stop participating in this 'game.' The results also suggest the level of risk associated with playing the 'choking game' is underestimated by those who have not had personal (self or peer) experience with negative consequences. The findings indicate the need for future research in parent-adolescent communication regarding this issue, as well as studies on persuasive approaches and their relation to persuasive outcomes"--Leaf iii
  • Scientists and journalists: framing the interaction

    Gilbert, Marie E. (2010-12)
    "Humans have sent fellow beings into space, created cyberspace, determined the likely origins of our universe, and identified the genetic origins of ourselves. As members of a variety of broader, general publics, each of us likely came to know about these scientific outcomes as the result of a journalist talking to a scientist, followed by the journalists' work reaching us through television, radio, a print medium, or the Web. Few members of the public are reported to understand much about science and scientists are portrayed as unable to communicate to the everyday person. The media, as the primary source of science information to the public are viewed as ineffective transmitters of scientific information. The fields of science communication and public understanding of science investigate how science is communicated to the public using surveys and questionnaires of scientists and journalists. While these methods garner valuable data, they generally do not allow for an in-depth view of the perceptions scientists and journalists have of each other. Using narrative inquiry and semi-structured conversational interviewing, governed by the theoretical perspective of social constructionism, this research project explores the perceptions of scientists and journalists of each other and on their respective roles in communicating science"--Leaf iii.
  • Constructed identities: lived experience and the struggle to integrate the sexual and religious identities among lesbians, gays, and bisexuals

    Fredericksen, Alan C. (2010-12)
    "Most, if not all, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals struggle at one point of their lives to reconcile their sexual and religious identities. This struggle can be either helped or hindered within the interpersonal communicative acts that lesbians, gays, and bisexuals encounter on a daily basis throughout their lives. This study uses narrative interviews to examine the impact and affect that various interpersonal communicative acts have had on five people, some of whom identified as lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Though there is much research available regarding the struggle of this population to integrate these two identities, none was available to this researcher from a communication perspective. This study is grounded in social construction, assumed an interpretivist perspective, utilized a phenomenological lens, and analyzed the data via a thematic method. The major themes that emerged from this analysis demonstrated that interpersonal communicative events with family members, friends, religious leaders, church members, partners and acquaintances do indeed impact and affect the religious and sexual identity formation and maintenance as well as the potential of identity integration for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals"--Leaf iii.
  • Harnessing intercultural energy: developing interdisciplinary insight and solidarity through an organizational communication study

    Uppal, Charu (2010-05)
    "Globalization provides us with an opportunity to interact on a daily basis with our counterparts across the globe. This study attempts to delineate the working of a multicultural department in an atmosphere of globalization. In order to conduct the organizational analysis, three main ideas were utilized (a) communities of practice; (b) diversity is the key to innovation, and (c) engineering the engineer, a process of socialization. These theoretical ideas guide the process of understanding the lived experiences of organizational members within a multicultural engineering department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This human science research is grounded in the epistemology of constructionism, guided by interpretivism and its related branch, symbolic interactionism. The study utilized conversational interviewing, focus group meeting, and participant observation for the process of data collection. Relying on the ideas presented by my co-researchers, I employed thematic analysis to draw the following themes: (a) sitting on the fence: an insider/ outsider communication perspective, (b) too much of a good thing: role of cliques in group communication gone sour and finally, (c) the brick wall: a communication barriers perspective. These themes illustrate the communication practices within the engineering department, allowing for an in-depth understanding"--Leaf iii
  • Hush, little baby: exploring the need for interpersonal affection in infancy

    Lee, Estrella D. (2010-05)
    "This study seeks to explore the links that are being made between a lack of interpersonal affection during infancy and an individual's later integration into society. Researching neglect proves difficult due to the limited ways in which data can be collected. Therefore, the base of this study employs qualitative content analysis of secondary data sources, with a supplemental piece employing standardized open-ended interviews. Interpretation of results informed the following five links, each connecting a lack of interpersonal affection to: arrested physiological development, an inability to fulfill attachment needs, erratic behavior, an inability to connect socially, and the ability to effectively receive interpersonal affection. Initial conclusions drawn from the study affirm affection to be a genuine need and a foundational component throughout the lifespan, with a final conclusion highlighting the difficulty in rectifying the detrimental effects caused by interpersonal neglect, further emphasizing the need for increased societal awareness"--Leaf iii
  • Zerging newbs: conflict tactics for MMORGP forums

    Ischenko, Inna (2010-05)
    "Just like with face-to-face conversations, the discussions that occur online can take a wrong turn and spiral into a conflict. The study utilized content analysis methods on computer-mediated talk via World of Warcraft forums. The research focuses on the verbal tactics used by players for avoidance, cooperation and competition conflict management styles. The results of the study showed that in the observed forum the outcome of the conversations that contain elements of conflict could not be foreseen through the use of verbal tactics that represent certain conflict management behavior. The duality of the forum was examined with the use of structuration theory. Some of the rules and resources that contributed to the understanding of the observed community were need for identification, use of proper grammar and spelling, and experience level. While replying to the posts, forum members focused on responding to the user, not just the question posted. Thus, the identifiable features (e.g., avatar's level) were referenced. The appropriation of players' experience as a credibility resource was apparent in the comments when one's game skills and knowledge were challenged"--Leaf iii
  • It takes a village to raise a teacher: an examination of training and recruitment practices of rural Alaskan school districts

    Crocker, Donald J. (2010-05)
    "The social and professional lives of rural Alaskan school teachers are unique. They live in an isolated environment and interact with students and community members from the position of a member of a 'sub-cultural', or better, of a "co-cultural" group member. This work examines the recruitment and training practices of rural Alaskan school districts with regard to teachers from the Lower 48, the expectancies constructed by and for teachers in these practices, and how violations of these expectancies affect teacher's social and professional lives in rural Alaskan villages. Qualitative conversational interviews were conducted with 3 administrators currently working in rural Alaskan districts, and 5 teachers who came to teach in rural Alaska from the Lower 48. A thematic analysis produced 13 emergent themes. Several communicative strategies typical of co-cultural group members (Orbe, 1998) were identified, indicating the participants' positions as members of a co-cultural group. A critical comparison of the way in which teachers and administrators affected one another's experiences in rural Alaska revealed that during recruitment sessions both administrators and teachers enacted the position of members of the dominant U.S. culture. However, during the first training sessions for new teachers, administrators shifted their position to co-cultural members. Working within the dominant Alaskan Native culture the administrators worked to prepare teachers for their new societal position as a member of a co-cultural group in rural Alaska"--Leaf iii
  • Exploring cross-cultural differences and similarities: use of self construal and conflict management styles among students in the U.S. and Latvia

    Bergsone, Linda (2010-05)
    "In this study 87 students from the U.S. and 111 students from Latvia responded to the questionnaire concerned to their perception of conflict management styles and self construal in conflict situations with close friends. The goal of the study was to explore the use of the key variables cross-culturally. Several key findings resulted. First, findings revealed that in both cultures in conflict situations with close friends used more cooperating conflict style than dominating and avoiding. Second, the study showed that U.S. Americans used more independent self construal and Latvians used more interdependent self construal. Third, this study finding showed that in the U.S. American sample independent self construal relate to use of the cooperating conflict style and in the Latvian sample interdependent self construal related to use of the cooperating conflict style. Additionally in this study was found that conflict management questionnaire items in both cultures loaded similarly in dominating and avoiding. Cooperating items in both cultures loaded differently. Last, was no similarities found in factor loadings between U.S. Americans and Latvians. This study attributed for farther exploration of conflict management style and self construal use and understandings cross-culturally"--Leaf iii
  • Taking a stand on not taking a stand: media bias in the online reporting of COVID-19

    Johnson, Kyle; Hum, Richard; Taylor, Karen; Timm, Kristin (2021-05)
    This thesis was written to examine the digital communication strategies of three major news organizations when reporting on COVID-19 in the U.S. for bias. The research looked at social media posts, online article counts and themes, main websites of each organization and audio/visual broadcast segments from all three organizations posted online. This research used an advocacy approach, examining the tension between entertainment and journalism ethics by holding news organizations to journalism standards to see how they compare. Results showed that NPR and Fox News produced more online articles than MSNBC and linked to their own articles on twitter more. The audiovisual content from MSNBC and Fox News did not follow the code of ethics created by the Society of Professional Journalists. All three organizations used biased methods for providing information to the public, during a time period where public knowledge is key to managing a pandemic.
  • Creating safety policy and procedures in an active shooter event

    Nash, Mechelle L.; Taylor, Karen; DeCaro, Peter; Hum, Richard; Heckman, Daniel (2020-12)
    School and workplace active shootings are on the rise and seem to be the norm today and there is not a working policy in place to train for an active shooter event in our organization, Golden Valley Electric Association. The purpose of this project was to develop a workable policy and procedure for the employees and to enhance the safety culture within our organization. To achieve this goal, a training presentation was created using the ALICE Training Institute’s protocol to train the workforce. The ALICE acronym stands for A=Alert, L=Lockdown, I=Inform, C=Counter, E=Evacuate. Over the course of research for this project, research indicated that a crisis management plan (CMP) and crisis management team (CMT) would be a better option for training the organization, not policies and procedures. A sample crisis management plan and outline for the crisis management team were created. The crisis management team would deal with the policies and procedures and ensure the success of training the workforce and enhancing the safety culture of the organization. The recommendations are for the organization to select the CMT, review the CMP created, and implement and maintain the plan. Following and implementing these recommendations into practice would ensure the workforce was trained and would strengthen the safety culture of the organization.
  • 'I am the last frontier': idealized Alaskan themes through media and their influence on culture, tourism, and policy

    Lawhorne, Rebecca; Hum, Rich; O’Donoghue, Brian; McDermott, Tori (2020-05)
    A large body of literature suggests that in media history there exists prominent narrative themes about the State of Alaska. These themes affect both resident and visitor perceptions and judgements about what life is and should be in Alaska and subsequently, create values that ultimately influence how the state operates. The evolution of these themes are understood in a modern capacity in the Alaska reality television phenomenon of the early 2000’s. This study concludes that the effect of these forms of media may create conflict and ultimately, may not work in the state’s best interests. The researcher believes that the state has new tools to use in its image management. She recommends that new forms of media be cultivated Alaskan residents, tourism industry leaders and special interest groups as a means of alleviating the misrepresentations, expanding communication representation and developing positive visitor experiences for younger visitors who utilize new forms of media. Communication Theory, interviews and content analysis are used to present a study on Alaskan culture, its presence in media and the influence mass media has on this unique environment.
  • Engineering communicators: agenda setting impacts on perceptions of communication for engineering students

    Heaney, Lindsey; Taylor, Karen; Hum, Richard; Trochim, Erin (2020-05)
    What is effective communication? Within the job industry, communication is a sought after and valued skill when it comes to hiring employees. The engineering field is no different with communication skills being an important component of the discipline through project management and working with others from a variety of backgrounds. However, there is a gap between what the engineering profession is expecting and what is being produced from college institute engineering programs regarding communication skills. To better understand this phenomenon, message constructs regarding communication in course materials and perceptions from engineering students were examined through anonymous surveys and curriculum analysis. Through the lens of agenda-setting theory, clear themes between course materials and the surveys center around emphasis on the end result and the use of god-terms when referring to communication. Furthermore, communication by example with faculty and staff play a key role in the way students perceive and understand communication’s role within the profession.
  • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

    Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
    The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
  • You say I can, I think I can: peripheral route persuasion as a contributor to employability self-efficacy for undergraduate students

    Uzzell, Brandon W.; Sager, Kevin; Arundale, Robert; Richey, Jean (2011-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the persuasive communication phenomenon between university students and professors concerning students' post-degree employability. Communicative interactions were examined as originating with the Elaboration likelihood model's peripheral route cues (persuasive messages) and the outcomes of these interactions as student's employability self-efficacy (beliefs about employability). Hypotheses predicted that a positive correlation exists between perceived peripheral route cues and employability self-efficacy of students. Senior level undergraduate students at a Northwestern university voluntarily completed an electronic survey containing need for cognition, peripheral route cues, and employability self-efficacy measures. Analysis indicated that employability self-efficacy could be successfully predicted by peripheral route cues. Results showed an overall significant positive correlation between the predictor and outcome variable. Implications of these results, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
  • "My language, your language": Thai mothers' expectations for their children's heritage language usage

    Piyamahapong, Janejira (2011-05)
    Immigrant parents who share the same ethnic background usually have high expectations and positive attitudes toward their children's heritage language usage. They are willing to put their time, money, and other effort in order to pass their heritage language on to their second-generation children. This research looked at some of the cross-cultural marriage couples--Thai mother and American father, who together have U.S. born children, and the mothers' expectations for their children's heritage language usage. Specifically, it examined these mothers' lived experience through conversational interviewing. Thematic analysis was utilized as data analysis. Four major themes emerged during the analysis of data: (a) It's my child's future, I want the best for them, (b) I was struggling when I first moved here, (c) This is OUR language, and (d) Embarrassment and resistance. These themes allowed and structured the results of this study. Directions for future research include a study incorporating American fathers and mother's education.
  • Sense versus sentiment: emergent persuasive strategies of non-profit organizations in dichotomous economic climates

    Miller, Alexis S. (2011-05)
    This study seeks to explore the rhetoric employed by the United Way in contrasting economic contexts. With a theoretical framework of Aristotle's Theory of Rhetoric, this study employs rhetorical criticism. Interpretation of results suggests that pathos is most prevalent in crisis conditions, such as a recession, whereas logos is most prevalent under stable economic circumstances. Initial conclusions drawn from the study highlight the importance of community supportiveness appeals in crisis conditions.
  • Teaching adolescents conflict management skills

    DeLong, Debra M. (2011-05)
    In response to a parents request a workshop to teach a conflict management workshop to high school students was created. A pre-post test design to assess the effectiveness of the workshop was used, with the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as the measurement. Responses were available for 76 students who were evenly divided between females and males. Overall preferences for using conflict styles did not show a statistically significant change; however, preferences for individual styles did change, with competition showing a statistically significant difference.
  • Well-being: the looking glass in 4-D

    Bays, Joey M.; Richey, Jean; Arundale, Robert; Anahita, Sine (2011-05)
    Well-being affects all of us. It is intricately interwoven with our identity and interactions. This study explores the relational contexts in which well-being is created, maintained, and diminished. In order to accomplish this goal, three main themes were addressed: (a) the co-researcher's understanding of what well-being is, (b) the co-researcher's understanding of how community affects a person's well-being, and (c) a description of the co-researcher's best of times and worst of times. These phenomenological themes guide the context and process of this research. This study is grounded in the theoretical stance of interpretivism with a constructionism epistemology; the methodology employed is phenomenological research utilizing conversational interviewing methods. I thematically analyzed the emergent capta from the interviews into the following themes: (a) What is Well-Being?: a definition of well-being and (b) The Struggle in the Search: co-researchers lived experiences of wellness. These themes offer an in-depth exploration of understanding the meaning of well-being the lived experiences informing those understandings.
  • The relationship between the achievement motive and downward communicative adaptability

    Weaver, David E.; Sager, Kevin L.; Dexter, Charlie; Mason, Charles (2019-05)
    In this paper, a model was created linking the Achievement Motive to Downward Communicative Adaptability. As theorized in the model, there is a significant positive relationship between the Achievement Motive and Downward Communicative Adaptability. Participants who supervise or manage others completed an in-person paper and pencil survey. The collected data were entered into an SPSS data file, and a simple correlational analysis was run. A significant positive correlation was found between the Achievement Motive and Downward Communicative Adaptability.
  • Outdoor education and feminism: a review of the outdoor adventures program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Bessent, Danielle; Taylor, Karen M.; May, Amy; Oldmixon, Mark T. (2019-05)
    This report is an organizational review of the Outdoor Adventures (OA) Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). I will be reviewing the communication strategies within the program as well as the risk mitigation and socialization process of the organization. The goal of this document is to provide a theoretical background to justify decision making and communication practices within the organization based on a feminist critical perspective. This document provides recommendations based upon improving communication dynamics that play a role in the gender disparity as well as the processes through which staff of the organization are socialized. This document provides a brief history of the OA program at UAF and a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis to give perspective on the current state of the program. Next this project contains an overview of the gender disparity in the outdoor field, ways in which risk management is viewed and implemented, and the socialization processes of staff members within the program. Methods used to review the organization included document review, direct observation, and autoethnographic practices. The results of this project include documents to aid in socialization and risk management processes and further explores recommendations to mitigate the gender gap, update risk management practices, and train staff.

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