Recent Submissions

  • 'It's a magnifying glass': the communication of power in a remote field station

    McDermott, Victoria; May, Amy; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean (2019-05)
    Remote field stations play a critical role in advancing our understanding of the world and how humans cause environmental change. Remote field stations are sentinels of Earth's climate, environment, and biodiversity that provide scientists with the infrastructure to collect data in inaccessible areas of the globe. These research stations are considered isolated, confined and extreme (ICE) environments which provide people with unique opportunities and intensely stressful potentially life-threatening situations to overcome. Traditionally, remote field stations have been considered harassment hell for men and women, alike. There is little research on the impact of remote field stations on communication and factors that influence power communication within remote field stations. In the present study, the researcher traveled 10 hours north of Fairbanks, Alaska to Toolik Field Station in the Brooks Range of the Alaskan Mountains. The researcher interviewed 20 participants, 15 males and 5 females, willing to talk about their experiences in remote field stations and especially their experiences at Toolik. Using theories of power construction, standpoint theory, and contrapower harassment this study sought to understand how remote field stations impact communication dynamics and the influence of gender on communication within a remote field station. Findings in the present study suggest that gender is a crucial factor that impacts power dynamics in remote field station. Through the data collected in this study, three areas of opportunity were identified for overall camp improvement, including group cohesion, reintegration coping strategies and overcoming gender barriers.
  • Identity crisis: how ideological and rhetorical failures cost Egyptians their revolution

    Abou Ghalioum, Ramzi; DeCaro, Peter; O'Donoghue, Brian (2019-05)
    The Egyptian uprising, which began on January 25, 2011, and ended on February 11, 2011, culminated in the ending of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign as dictator. After free elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood ascended to power in the country, they were ousted in a military coup d'état only one year after their ascension to power and were replaced by former military general Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. The symptoms which led the country to rise up against Mubarak continue to exist under el-Sisi today, indicating that no revolution really took place. This paper answers the question, "why did the revolution fail?", offering a rhetorical reason for the revolution's failure. The uprisings, which were billed as decentralized, offer unique opportunities for analysis of rhetorical strategy. This paper uses the reconstitutive-discourse model, a critical model which examines a rhetor's reconstitution of their audience's character, to examine the rhetoric of three different parties in the revolution. First, it examines the rhetoric of all protestors irrespective of source via Twitter and on the ground protestors; next it looks at the rhetoric of Wael Ghonim, who is credited with instigating the uprisings, and Mohammed ElBaradei, an influential figure who became interim vice-president in the aftermath of the uprisings. The study found that first, the uprisings were not really decentralized and indeed has leaders. Further, rhetorical failures on the part of its leaders caused the uprisings to fail in their goal of democratic revolution.
  • Learning To Teach Where You Are: Preparation For Context-Responsive Teaching In Alaska's Teacher Certification Programs

    Vinlove, Amy Louise; Richey, Jean; Hornig, Joan; Hirshberg, Diane; Rickard, Anthony; Roehl, Roy (2012)
    Context-responsive teaching is defined in this project as teaching that responds to individual student needs and interests, linguistic backgrounds and family characteristics, the local community and the local natural environment. Context-responsive teaching, as defined in Chapter 1 of this dissertation, consolidates into one concept the pedagogical knowledge, skills and dispositions associated with culturally responsive teaching, place-based teaching, differentiated instruction, and purposeful collaboration with parents, families and communities. The research completed for this project examines current practices relative to preparing context-responsive teachers in Alaska's elementary and secondary teacher certification programs. A survey examining context-responsive teacher preparation experiences was developed and distributed to practicing teachers in Alaska who received their initial teaching certification from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), or the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), and who graduated in 2006, 2007 or 2008. The experiences of the graduates were juxtaposed with information on the three programs gathered through interviews with teacher educators currently working at UAA, UAF and UAS. Current practices at the three institutions are examined in relation to a literature-based framework of "best practices" in context-responsive teacher preparation. Following a presentation of the data gathered in this mixed-method investigation, nine research-based recommendations are offered for strengthening context-responsive teacher preparation in the state of Alaska.
  • Reading Comprehension Strategies In Children With High-Functioning Autism: A Social Constructivist Perspective

    Cotter, June Ann; Richey, Jean (2011)
    Individuals with autism see the world, by definition of the diagnosis, in a very different way than the typical student. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is a defining characteristic of this disability. Students with autism both can and need to learn to comprehend when reading to be successful in school and in life. This study evaluated the reading comprehension abilities of three students with autism and using a strength-based approach targeting comprehension strategies. These strategies also appear to have increased the students' communication skills. All participants were medically or educationally diagnosed with autism. All had an educationally-defined label of autism and had been identified as having difficulty with reading comprehension. The study is presented as a case study with limited participants. The author investigated the reading comprehension abilities of each student and through direct instruction provided support for the skills the student already possessed. Additional skills were then introduced thereby increasing the students' abilities to comprehend. An additional effect of increasing student personal communication skills was also noted.
  • Down side up: representations of Down syndrome in Born This Way

    Olson, Bekah L.; May, Amy; Hum, Richard; Lazarus, Jason (2018-05)
    Stereotypical media representations of people with disabilities reinforce stigma, resulting in dehumanization. Conversely, positive representations create counter narratives that challenge stereotypes and stigmatized information disseminated by the media. While some studies have explored media depictions of people with disabilities in general, there is a lack of research focusing specifically on Down syndrome. Born This Way, a reality TV show, provides an opportunity to explore mass media depictions of Down Syndrome. Qualitative content analysis was used to understand how Born This Way constructs representations of adults with Down syndrome. Four major themes were identified. Born This Way's representation of people with Down syndrome is a departure from previous portrayals of people with disabilities. Specifically, people with Down syndrome speak for themselves and take back their narrative. Instead of dehumanizing individuals with Down syndrome, Born This Way represents people with Down syndrome as capable, independent, sexual, and multifaceted. Although Born This Way depicts differences associated with Down syndrome, these differences do not become more important than the person with Down syndrome. The portrayals in Born This Way have the ability to educate and influence viewer perceptions of people Down syndrome and positively influence viewers who have Down syndrome as well. Additionally, Born This Way seems to be offering a type of vicarious social support for parents of children with Down syndrome.
  • Women In Alaska Constructing The Recovered Self: A Narrative Approach To Understanding Long -Term Recovery From Alcohol Dependence And /Or Abuse

    Richey, Jean Alice; Brown, Jin G. (2003)
    Autobiographical narratives are explored in a qualitative approach regarding women in Alaska who have been successful in long-term recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse. The literature review includes an integrative approach to theoretical perspectives from the disciplines of Human Communication, Anthropology, and Psychology. The epistemological orientation of Constructionism grounds this study, as well as provides a framework for theoretical understandings from the narrative co-construction of self-identity, gender studies, health belief and health behavior change models, anthropological views on alcohol and culture including Native American and Alaska Native approaches, and various psychological and transpersonal strategies for overcoming alcohol addiction. Today, a diverse resource of recovery paradigms and tools are available to women who have problems with alcohol. As a result, this study explores the applicability of various methods of recovery as they occur in the real lives of women in Alaska. Two emergent themes of recovery derived from nine narrative interviews are discussed in regard to identity reconstruction: (1) Survivorship and (2) the Transcendent Self. The emergent themes represent the reconstructed constitutive interpretations of a woman's self-identity as the recovered self. The process of recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse constitutes a uniquely personal and culturally specific journey for women. A recovered lifestyle is a completely different way of being for the woman who had previously been immersed in a culture of alcohol addiction---she now must construct a healthy self. A woman's process of recovery from alcohol addiction cannot be separated from the world of social/cultural/gender interactions in the construction of a healthier lifestyle. Whether a recovering person's social interactions are with professionals or are everyday interpersonal exchanges with intimates and others, they form the context within which the discursive evolution of identity is embedded. The narrative stories of the lived world of women in Alaska who are maintaining long-term recovery from alcohol problems provide an understanding of cultural, ethnic, and gender influences, various treatment and recovery paradigms, relational tensions, and the process of identity construction in the maintenance of ongoing recovery.
  • #effyourbeautystandards: message construction in the body positivity movement on Instagram

    Bahr, Nike; May, Amy; DeCaro, Peter; Hum, Richard (2018-05)
    Beauty is a socially constructed concept that delineates specific characteristics of physical appearance which are to be perceived as aesthetically pleasing. In Western cultures, the ideal of this constructed beauty can be found to center on thinness. Reinforced through media images, the thin ideal can lead to internalization and increased body dissatisfaction in female viewers. To counteract body dissatisfaction resulting from internalization of these ideals, advocators on the social media platform Instagram can be seen to popularize the concept of body positivity. The resulting social movement aims at enabling individuals who do not fit the normed thin ideal to develop a benevolent approach to their physique. In the analysis of a sample of 280 Instagram posts concerned with the body positivity movement, a clear trend towards an adjusted construction of self-presentation was observed that clearly differs from socially enforced norms of beauty and ideal body size. When constructing posts that are concerned with body positivity, users of Instagram adjust the creation of their digital personality to fit the norms of imperfection and honesty inherent in the movement. Interviews conducted by the researcher further confirmed that the public recognizes that the messages communicated within this movement reveal personal stories and insecurities to both function as inspiration and motivation to the audience while also constituting a means of receiving validation.
  • Communication Under Pressure: Analyzing The International Whaling Conference As A Transnational Public Sphere

    White, Michelle Rene; Taylor, Karen (2013)
    Whaling has become one of the most popular international issues of our time. At the center of this controversy, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is positioned to conserve and manage whaling policy. Annual reports of the IWC were analyzed along with communication theories for a textual analysis approach to the issue. The USA, Japan and Norway are often the center of the heated dialogue, which takes up time and limits reaching consensus or productive policy change. This research aims at understanding this conference and examining where tensions flair and what can be done to enhance our communication in this ever globalizing community.
  • Employee Performance Appraisal Systems: Effects On Communication Within Organizations

    Towne, Nicholas D.; Cooper, Christine (2006)
    In this study, 318 supervisors and staff members of a medium sized northwestern university responded to a questionnaire concerning their performance appraisal system and the effects it has on communication with their organization. Several key findings resulted. First, when staff members perceived their supervisors were providing valid, timely appraisals they felt there was more teamwork, information flow, and involvement in the organization than those employees that did not feel their appraisals were valid. Second, as supervisors believed performance appraisals were linked to important outcomes, staff members perceptions of appraisals rose. Finally, contrary to the literature, supervisors reported that when they conducted appraisals in a compliant manner performance appraisal discomfort decreased. This can be attributed to the lack of important outcomes being linked to the appraisals. In this university, 39% of the staff members reported they had not received their appraisals as required.
  • A Narrative Study Of The Lived Experience Of Contemporary American Women In Intimate Relationships With Men Who Have Chronic Low Back Pain

    Heath, Gina; Brown, Jin (2008)
    Everyone experiences pain to one degree or another, but pain that has outlived its usefulness in assisting the body to avoid injury, and causes other physical and emotional complications, is known as chronic pain. In American medicine, chronic pain is described as that which persists longer than six months and is not relieved by standard medical care. Chronic pain usually leads to a spectrum of other physical and emotional complications, including sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, and severe depression, among many others. Creating and maintaining relationships with others takes effort and energy, and this is especially true in a marital relationship. Marriage between two able-bodied people is challenging enough, so the added variable of chronic pain forms new dimensions of relationship difficulty that must be addressed.
  • Who Is In Charge Here? A Feminist Communicology Of Followership And Leadership In An Academic Organization

    Jordan, Robert Locke; McWherter, Pamela (2008)
    This feminist critical study explicates the ways that followership is conceptualized at an academic organization in the Pacific Northwest. Through the use of qualitative methods, stories were solicited providing descriptions of events that define the hegemonically masculine ways that followership is conceptualized, suggesting the need for a feminist critical analysis and revisioning. A number of themes emerged from conversational interviews including: conceptual verisimilitude, archetypes of leadership, alternative conceptions of followership, the role of action in leadership and followership, and the emergent organization. The capta gathered from this qualitative study suggest a revisioning of human organization and recognizes leadership and followership as existing in a reciprocally defining communicative relationship. Leadership and followership are found to be constructed in an existential exchange addressing a specific need within an organization and its immediate requirements. When viewed from this communicative perspective organizational members come to develop a more sophisticated, relational, and dialectic understanding of the construction of leadership and followership.
  • A Communication Perspective Of Alcoholism Recovery: Narratives Of Success

    Arlen, Kathryn Grace; Brown, Jin (2007)
    Understanding alcoholism and how it wreaks havoc upon the human condition has been and continues to be a prime concern for social scientists, psychologists, physicians, therapists, the legal system, a host of other concerned professionals, and society in general, particularly those who suffer from this "dis-ease" (Denzin, 1987a). Much past research has focused upon physiological concerns, suggesting disease, genetic, or even allergic connections. While such research certainly carries significant import and credibility, this study focuses on the social construction of the alcoholic identity and eventual evolution into a recovering identity. The methodology of narrative inquiry with conversational interviewing as method provides insight into six individuals' shifting perceptions of self and relationships from their alcoholic experiences to increasingly more viable social interactions and eventual positive self identity construction. Emergent themes focus on interactive social context, divided feelings toward alcohol, communication of individual responsibility, and realignment of human values.
  • Living A Tattooed Life: The Female Experience

    Cleveland, Kara G.; Brown, Jin (2008)
    The present research is rooted in Human Science, and employed the epistemology of Constructionism, as well as the theoretical perspective of Social Construction of Reality. I used Narrative Inquiry as methodology and conversational interviewing as my method of collecting data. I interviewed six women who provided narratives of their lived experience of constructing their identities through tattoos. Three emergent themes, along with three sub-themes, are discussed in regards to the lived experiences of tattooed women: (1) becoming tattooed constructs who you are; (2) becoming tattooed develops relational identity with (a) friends, (b) the tattoo community, (c) family; and (3) the communication of "tattoo remorse" is differentiated from an earlier recognition of tattoo regret. This research provides insight into the lived human experience of tattooed women through their own natural language.
  • Survey Research On The Relationship Between Immediacy Behaviors, Communication Competency, And Philanthropic Success

    Drygas, Emily Cameron; Cooper, Christine (2008)
    In this study, 124 Alaskan-based development professionals responded to a questionnaire concerning their perceived communicative competency and their self-reported immediacy behaviors in relation to fund-raising success. Several key findings resulted. First, in relation to the role of communication competency, this study suggests that fund-raising success is driven by the donor, rather than the fund-raising professional's communication competency. Second, the study found that successful fund-raising professionals have higher levels of verbal and non-verbal immediacy behaviors (when compared to non-successful fundraisers). Third, this study finds that development professionals who work in the geographic region of Northern Alaska use less verbal immediacy behaviors than those development professionals who represent regions in south-central, southeast, interior, and statewide districts. Finally, the demographics presented in this study support the priority need for Alaskan fundraisers to continue to grow their donor base since only 14% of the respondents reported that they are reliant on face-to-face meetings with donors for gifts in the range of $18,000--$300,000. This can be attributed to the "newness" of philanthropic work in Alaska and highlights the incredible growth potential for this field in the future.
  • Keeping The Home Fires Burning: The Effects Of Military Induced Separations On Marital Intimacy From A Female Perspective

    Cynar, Deborah J.; McWherter, Pamela (2008)
    In this study, a convenience sample of 56 female, married, military wives in northwestern community responded to a survey questionnaire concerning intimacy promoting communication skills, marital satisfaction, and military induced separations. The results indicated a strong correlation between marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. This study also explores the difference between the type and frequency of military induced separations and their influence on marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. To further describe this military population, several post hoc tests for difference found significance between military branch affiliation, and between those who had or had not received premarital counseling on levels of perceived marital satisfaction, and intimacy promoting communication skills. Further, no significant difference was found to exist between education level or employment status of the at home spouse on levels of perceived marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. A description of the implications of the findings, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
  • Relationship maintenance, democratic decision making, and decision agreement

    Tucker, Jenna M.; Sager, Kevin L.; Richey, Jean; Taylor, Karen (2012-05)
    Relationship maintenance uses different strategies to maintain a relationship at the desired level of intimacy. Democratic decision making is a practice through which each individual has equal rights in the decision-making process. The present study investigated connections among two areas of research. In particular, this study examined the correlations among relationship maintenance behaviors, democratic decision making, and decision agreement. Both hypotheses in the study were supported, which suggests relationship maintenance promotes democratic decision making, which in turn promotes decision agreement.
  • Questing for friendship: a conversation analysis of Dungeons and Dragons

    Greenstreet, Brandon J. (2012-05)
    This study addresses the doing, of friendship, the dynamic, continuous, unpredictable and emergent process of relating, as described by the Dialectics of Friendship. Examining, segments of the talk among a small group of male friends playing, the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons using the approach of conversation analysis, this study sought to determine the ways in which these friendship dialectics are evident in their utterance by utterance micro-level talk-in-interaction. The resources and practices they employ in interactionally achieving a number of different conversational actions as their talk unfolds were revealed and can be understood or interpreted as enactments of one or more of the contradictory poles of six dialectics, demonstrating empirically dialectical contradictions, the tensions between their polarities, and their interdependence and interaction with other dialectics arises emergently out of talk-in-interaction, and is taken up and negotiated by participants.
  • Communicating to persuade: the effects of language power and nonverbal immediacy on the efficacy of persuasion

    Gadzhiyeva, Natavan M.; Sager, Kevin; Richey, Jean; Decaro, Peter (2012-05)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of powerful speech and nonverbal immediacy on the efficacy of persuasion in a hypothetical sales presentation. Language power and nonverbal immediacy were hypothesized to affect persuasiveness through the potentially powerful nature of both, and to have an interaction effect on persuasiveness. A sample of 211 undergraduate students at a Northwestern University voluntarily completed an online survey, which contained a video clip of a sales presentation. Each participant randomly viewed one of four video clips, which differed in terms of language power (high vs low) and nonverbal immediacy (high vs low). A two way ANOVA indicated that language power had a main effect on the extent of persuasion. However, there was no main effect for nonverbal immediacy, and no interaction effect between language power and nonverbal immediacy. The findings of this study suggested that in a sales presentation, the power of language is an important factor for determining the persuasiveness of a salesperson.
  • We need to talk and the nation is watching: a textual analysis of drug interventions

    Denhalter, Bailey J.; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; Taylor, Karen (2012-05)
    Addiction is something that millions of people struggle with. Many are unable to or do not realize that they have a problem. Previously kept as an embarrassing family secret, drug interventions have gone Hollywood. The entertainment industry began publicizing these once private affairs for the nation in the early 2000's; unfortunately, publicity does not ensure a problem will be addressed in the appropriate manner. Drug interventions are typically conducted in secret, away from the prying eyes of neighbors or community members. By a stroke of genius or insanity, the producers at A & E realized the American public's fascination with the dark underbelly of society and televised the taboo phenomenon of interventions. The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify emergent themes through the comparison and textual analysis of multiple episodes of A & E Television Networks series Intervention, focusing on family participation in illicit drug interventions. These televised interventions offer a rare and unique glimpse into the processes and consequences for those involved. The viewer is given the opportunity to observe the effects an intervention may have on the family unit, as well as on individuals.
  • Grandparents, great parents: negotiating the role transition to custodial grandparent

    Burnett, Leanne Alaine (2012-05)
    An ever increasing number of grandparents in the United States are taking on the responsibility for providing primary care for their grandchildren. Focus group interviews conducted in two urban communities in Alaska were the basis of this study examining how grandparents negotiate the role transition as they become custodial grandparents. Role theory was used to inform the analysis of the data. The two major themes which emerged suggested these transitions were effected by role conflict and role timing. The grandparents participating in the study indicated that involvement in peer support groups helped them to more successfully negotiate this difficult role transition.

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