• Cognitive learning in the presence of immediacy: an exploratory study of the relationship between perceived and actual cognitive learning and nonverbal immediacy

      McGee, Keli Hite; McWherter, Pamela; Brown, Jin; Arundale, Robert (2000-05)
      The immediacy construct continues to be a hot topic in Instructional Communication. It is shown repeatedly to positively affect student perceptions of the classroom. Although student perceptions of the classroom are important for a more conducive learning environment, increasing student learning is also important. The effects of teacher immediacy on cognitive learning are still unclear due largely in part to the inability to consistently and accurately assess actual learning. Many studies relate cognitive learning to immediacy, but the primary use of student self-reports to measure cognitive learning limits the interpretation to student perceptions of their learning rather than necessarily actual learning. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between perceived cognitive learning and actual cognitive learning. Although the data of this study supports previous findings that perceived student learning relates to teacher nonverbal immediacy, this study found no relationship between perceived and actual cognitive learning.
    • Organizational communication and culture in female predominated workplaces

      Comstock, Sarah Rush (2000-05)
      While equality of the sexes has still not been achieved, the ongoing struggle for parity has paved the way for an influx of females into workplaces. In many organizations this increase has resulted in a higher ratio of females to males. Offices that are predominated by on sex or the other create communication problems, attitudes, and ways of dealing with co-workers on an interpersonal level that organizations with a balance between males and females do not face. This study will explore the perspective of females working in gender predominant organizations, and also observations on organizational culture; intra-organizational communication; communicated support among organizational members; and the overall uniqueness of the organization.
    • Organizational culture and meanings in tension: an analysis of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

      Worley, Shelly Lisa (2000-05)
      The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is an organization that is responsible for observing volcanic activity in Alaska and surrounding regions. This organization has a great impact on the public and agencies in Alaska because it is responsible for ensuring the safety of many Alaskans, and to many people who live in neighboring regions. AVO is not only responsible for saving lives, but also responsible for notifying agencies that depend on this organization for volcanic crisis notification. This study is an ethnography of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and through interpretation of my data as research too, I provide a sense of place for this organization. Detailed journals of my experience as a member of this organization have been analyzed to understand the culture of the place.
    • Mass media theory and women's zines on the world wide web

      Wagaman, Jennifer Elaine (2000-08)
      Two mass media theories, 'Spiral of Silence theory' and 'Uses and Gratifications theory, ' have been used to explain and evaluate media usage from a feminist perspective. These theories both succeed and fail when used to analyze the World Wide Web as a mass medium. In order to effectively examine so-called 'fringe' groups and their publications on the Web, a new theory is needed that considers the more user-driven interface that the Internet and the World Wide Web provide for users. Using a modest case study of women's Web zines, (online underground magazines) this paper attempts to show how some young women use the World Wide Web to publish a different proportion of ideas and opinions than those currently available in the mainstream mass media, and goes on to show that the two current mass media theories used most by feminists are inadequate for the study of the World Wide Web as a mass medium. This paper takes into consideration historical theoretical approaches to the mass media, as well as the social constructionist principles important to looking at the media from a feminist point of view. Finally, it lays a framework of theoretical assumptions that should be considered when examining the Web as a mass medium.
    • Competency-based education: teaching and assessing oral communication in Fairbanks, Alaska high schools

      Barnett, Diane Blair (2000-12)
      Nationwide developments in the area of educational standards and accountability have produced a movement toward competency-based education in which teachers are increasingly tasked with facilitating the competencies within these developing standards. As a result, professionals in the Communication discipline have an opportunity to apply their knowledge of effective communication practices to provide benefits for students and teachers. The first phase of this study examined State and local educational standards in areas of speaking, listening, and group communication. Local and State standards identified as most closely aligned with standards developed by Communication professionals served as the basis for developing a questionnaire used in the study's second phase interviews to determine how local high school teachers operationalized and assessed these competencies in their classroom curricula. Results indicated that while speaking competencies were the most clearly defined and assessed in the classroom, listening and group communication competencies were in need of further clarification.
    • An analysis of participatory communication for development: insights from feminism and social construction

      Dare, Alexa MacKellar; Arundale, R.; Caulfield, R.; McWherter, P. (2001-05)
      This study examines participatory communication for development from a communication perspective. The purpose of this study is to elaborate on communication's central position in creating, maintaining and enacting participation. I use both a social construction perspective and a feminist perspective to analyze and elaborate on participatory communication for development. Implications for both the practice and the theory of participatory communication emerged from the analysis. Implications include the theoretical elaboration of dialogue, process, trust, and knowledge as informed by communication theory as well as practical suggestions for facilitation and responses to common critiques of participatory approaches to development. The feminist analysis highligths the need for further development of issues of gender in participation.
    • A communicative journey from dysfunctional-to-functional in a therapeutic community for substance abuse

      Cramer, Victoria Jean; McWherter, P.; Brown, J.; Leipzig, J. (2001-05)
      The research question for this study explores change in the lived experience of the substance abuser whose life is moving from dysfunctional-to-functional and investigates how communication grounds this change in human interaction. Communication appears in experience as one changes from addictive substance dysfunctionality to a balanced functionality. The communicative processes, in the setting of a therapeutic community, are constructive to such transitions. The methodology for answering this question of how suggests addressing the lived experience of transition. Narrative analysis of the eight open-ended interviews produced three emergent themes. Those emergent themes are (1) isolation, (2) self-disclosure, and (3) connectedness. The process of communicative interaction is a vital step demonstrated in all three emergent themes within the context of a therapeutic community.
    • Student diversity and curriculum in the basic public speaking course: implications for creating an advanced public speaking course

      Sehnert, Shannon E.; McWherter, P.; Brown, J.; Arundale, R. (2001-05)
      This research study employs qualitative narrative analysis in order to develop an understanding of the lived experience of Graduate Teaching Assistants teaching the basic public speaking course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Interviews with Graduate Teaching Assistants reveal three themes. First, it is important to recognize and address each student's abilities and experience as unique. Second, based on individual students' abilities and experience, they should be allowed to select and define their own speaking situations and goals. Finally, students must have a comfortable and collaborative environment in which to experiment, practice, and respond to the choices made by their classmates. In a subsequent focus group interview, the co-researchers responded to a published course description for an advanced public speaking course. Co-researchers identified specific aspects of the advanced course description as addressing the emergent themes, providing implications for creating an advanced public speaking course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
    • Understanding the lived experience of racist hate speech on American university campuses

      Matusitz, Jonathan Andre (2001-12)
      This research employs narrative methodology in order to understand the lived experience of students who have experienced racist racist hate speech on American university campuses. Thematic analysis of in-depth, conversational interview capta (Kvale, 1996) was used to find commonalities in co-researchers' experiences. The literature review includes a contextual and historical section on racism, and a detailed, standard definition of racist hate speech. Emergent themes from these narrative interviews were found in regard to victims' experiences of racist hate speech on American university campuses. Those themes are discussed in the order of the co-researchers' experience: (1) indignation and anger, (2) stereotyping, (3) ethnic resentment, and (4) ethnic superiority. The co-researchers' experiences illustrate that racist hate speech is not only talk, but can be experienced through other communicative actions.
    • Russian women's experience of friendship: examining the application of American theories

      Dukhovskaya, Elisaveta N. (2002-05)
      This qualitative exploratory study examined Russian women's lived experience of their friendships with other Russian women, and the applicability of American theories of interpersonal relationships and friendship in interpreting that experiencing. The relational dialectic approach to friendship served as the theoretical framework of this study. The capta obtained by means of conversational interviewing of five Russian women were analyzed thematically. Interpreting the women's experience using relational dialectics produced four themes involving three dialectics. Two more dialectics observed in American friendships, certainty/uncertainty and affection/instrumentality, were not evident in interpreting the friendship experiences of these women. Analysis also provided insight on cultural similarities and differences between Russian women and American in the definition of friendship. Implications for future research considering the culture and the relational dialectics of friendship were noted.
    • The social construction of self in fan cultures: creating self identity in fan communities

      Hazlett, Susan Diane; McWherter, Pamela; Brown, Jin; Sheane, Sue (2002-05)
      Star Trek fans have long been portrayed in the media as overweight women and geeky men. This study takes a closer look at Star Trek fans and their lived experience. Through conversational interviewing, the nature of the reality experienced in fandom is explored and implications for the relationship between the reality shared by participants in everyday life and the reality shared by fandom is sought. The analysis, which was carried out throughout the interview process, provided insights into the realities experienced by fans.
    • People's experiences of gossiping: a narrative analysis

      Nekrassova, Dina V. (2002-12)
      This study employs narrative methodology to develop an understanding of meanings people make of their gossiping experiences. Four theoretical approaches are identified in the review of literature: functionalistic approach, gossip as information management, and gossip as a social form of discreet indiscretion which extended as a basis for examining gossiping as a communication experience. Four themes emerged from six narrative interviews, regarding the co-researchers' interpretations of their gossiping experiences: secrecy as a gossiping experience, gossiping as a negative experience, gossiping as a positive experience, and gossiping as being connected. The equivocal nature of gossiping stems from the participants' engagement in two distinct sets of practices out of single set of resources.
    • Communication apprehension: a narrative analysis of the PRCA-24

      VanDeventer, Karri C. (2002-12)
      This exploratory study examined individuals' lived experience with communication apprehension (CA). CA has been explored extensively over the past 35 years by researchers seeking psychological explanations for communication phenomenon and employing the premise that CA exists as a "trait-like" characteristic of personality or as a relatively permanent behavioral disposition. Grounded in a constructionist epistemology, this study presumes that meaning is created, maintained, and transformed through communication with others. From this perspective, CA is an individual's evaluation of anticipated or occurring communication events, based upon his/her prior experiences interacting with others in specific situations. Though CA researchers acknowledge this situational basis of communication apprehension, it has been largely overlooked in past research given the reliance on the "trait-like" perspective. To gain insight into people's actual experiences when filling out the PRCA-24, this research utilizes in-depth conversational interviews to examine the situational specificity of the most popular CA measurement instrument, the Personal Record of Communication Apprehension-24 (PRCA-24).
    • 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.
    • The social construction of formal and informal expectations of Army officers' wives

      O'Donnell, Lauren C. (2003-05)
      This research study utilizes qualitative narrative analysis to better understand the lived experience of United States Army officers' wives, particularly in regard to the socially constructed expectations for officers' wives to assume traditional women's roles. The study is undertaken from the epistemology of Constructionism and the theoretical perspective of the social construction of reality. Narrative interviews with eight Army officers' wives revealed one principal emergent theme, labeled "Noblesse Oblige," as well as several sub-themes encompassing aspects of officer's rank and position as social status, perceived expectations of officers' wives and the resulting reactions and actions, and role preservation of officers' wives. The experiential reality of contemporary Army officers' wives is fraught with tension over the acceptance of traditional women's roles, socially constructed perceptions of status, and issues of identity as they relate to a marital relationship.
    • Voices from the third shift: advocate/caregiver perceptions of effective communication in medical encounters

      Babers-M., Terri (2003-09)
      A review of related literature, together with experiential understandings of the author, indicates that interpersonal communication in medical encounters is often triadic rather than dyadic in nature. The central interest of this research is to understand what commonalities of lived experience exist for women who act as advocate/caregivers communicating in medical encounters. The distinction of this study is that the focus is on the socially constructed, lived-experiences of the advocate/caregiver and her understandings of communication effectiveness in interpersonal communication in the medical encounter, rather than on the needs, responsibilities, and competencies of either the provider or the patient. A qualitative research design was used for this study. It consisted of two concept-rich, self-contained focus group conversation/interviews with female caregivers who are employed full, time and who serve in medical encounters as advocates for the family members for whom they care in the home. From an interpretive perspective, this study investigates the socially constructed perceptions, revealed in narratives told in focus group conversations, of advocate/caregivers about their communication experiences as advocates for a patient in medical encounters and what co-constructions of communicative reality they understand to be essential to their perceptions that communication has been effective.
    • Leading and following at a 21st century university: identifying desired outcomes for a student leadership program

      Trabant, Tonya Denise (2004-05)
      Leadership has been discussed, debated, practiced, and researched for millennia. In the 20th century alone, no less than ten types of leadership were defined and empirically studied. In the higher education context, student leadership development is addressed from a wide variety of theoretical and programmatic approaches and co-curricular leadership programs have been one of the fastest growing areas in higher education in the past decade. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Leadership Program was initially structured as adaptations of other models. Critical to the future success of the program is the reformation of elements to fit UAF's unique context and an adequate outcomes assessment plan to determine that elements are functioning as intended. In order to develop an understanding of leading and following at UAF, program stakeholders participated in focus group interviews, individual interviews, and a written assessment. Participant observation was also used to gather rich data about the institutional culture of leadership at UAF. Data was thematically analyzed as well as categorized using national standards. One final result is a model of desired student leadership competencies for the UAF Leadership Program.
    • Communication between Russian teaching assistants and American undergraduate students

      Popov, Aleksey Sergeyevich (2004-05)
      This research employs qualitative narrative analysis in order to better understand the lived experience of American undergraduate students' interactive relationships with Russian Teaching Assistants particularly in Communication courses 13lx 'Fundamentals of Oral Communication - Group Context' and 141x 'Fundamentals of Oral Communication - Public Speaking' at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Narrative interviews revealed several emergent themes. They are: assertiveness in the classroom, language barrier, grading difficulties, Russian TAs' enthusiasm, and getting used to the classroom environment.
    • Through the looking glass: constructing sexual identity

      Foore, Kimberly Ann (2004-05)
      The present research explored how contemporary women define their sexual identity and communicate their needs/wants for sexual gratification during the act of sexual intimacy. Using human science epistemology, methodology, and methods, eight women's narratives were co-constructed into two emergent themes: Defining sexuality as self-stereotyping identity and Setting the stage for uncertainty as mask. This research explored the unique definitions of sexuality from the co-researchers perspective and ultimately determined that sexual identity is inextricably bound to self-presentation and impression management. It was also discovered that these women communicate their sexual needs nonverbally and 'hide' behind a mask of uncertainty out of a culturally developed fear of being judged and/or labeled negatively for being too sexually experienced.
    • Touristic encounters of an intercultural kind: communication between volunteers and international visitors at a visitors information center

      Peterson, Sherrill Lea (2004-05)
      This qualitative research examined the lived experience of volunteers in providing information to international travelers at a Visitors Information Center. The research focused on intercultural communication during these touristic encounters. Interpersonal communication and meaning engagement practices between volunteer information providers and international visitors were examined from a narrative theoretical perspective. Narratives of six volunteer information providers were gathered using conversational interviews and analyzed using the method of thematic analysis. Six themes emerged from volunteers' narratives of their experience: independent/package tour travelers, visitors' expectations, information as product/process, foreign language skills, adaptability and accommodation, and public inebriation of homeless local residents. Contrary to expectations, volunteers reported that the experience of providing information for international visitors was very little different from providing information to visitors with cultural patterns of communication similar to their own. Several explanations are offered for the apparent absence of difficulties in providing information to international visitors. The surprising finding warrants further research.