• 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.
    • Communicating stroke: a narrative inquiry

      Gelinas, Mary F. (2008-05)
      This narrative research in communication addresses the lived experience of individuals who have suffered stroke. Specifically, I examine how the realities people create and the relationships they enact contribute to their sense of identity after the occurrence of a stroke. Health crises are times of reconstitution of self and relationships (Lorber, 1997). The present research has been conducted from a human science perspective, employing the epistemology of constructionism, the theory of social construction of reality, and narrative inquiry and conversational interviewing to produce an understanding of the experience of life after stroke. In this study, stroke survivors are considered active interpreters, managers, and creators of the meaning of their health and illness.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Community identity and sense of place in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Sul, Eun Sook (2005-05)
      Autobiographical narratives of shared experience are explored in a narrative qualitative approach regarding people who have come to Fairbanks, Alaska and decided to stay. Six co-researchers shared their lived experience regarding what influenced their staying in Alaska and resulting changes to their identity. This research is based on a Communication perspective, in particular, adopting Costructionism as epistemology for this study. Social Construction of Reality is the theoretical basis for a discussion of social construction of identity, social construction of community, and social construction of sense of place. This study focuses on the experience of changes in the co-researchers' identity through communicative interaction with other community members.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • #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.
    • 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.
    • Exploring relationships between employees' locus of control, individualism and collectivism orientation, and upward dissent message strategies

      Ingwar, Nadia Ingerslew; Sager, Kevin L.; Richey, Jean A.; DeCaro, Peter A. (2014-05)
      This thesis investigated the relationships among individualism and collectivism, locus of control, and upward dissent. Students at a northwestern university were asked to complete a survey that measured the participants' levels of individualism and collectivism, locus of control orientation, and self-reported use of upward dissent message strategies. As predicted, internal locus of control and individualism were significant positive predictors of upward dissent. Unexpectedly, however, external locus of control and collectivism were also significant positive predictors of upward dissent. The research questions concerned the ability to predict the use of particular upward dissent message strategies. Use of each of the four strategies could be predicted from employees' locus of control and individualism and collectivism orientation.
    • 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.
    • How much does a man cost? A dirty, dull, and dangerous application

      Hatfield, Rebecca A.; Taylor, Karen; DeCaro, Peter; Carlson, Cameron (2017-05)
      This study illuminates the many abilities of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). One area of importance includes the UAV's capability to assist in the development, implementation, and execution of crisis management. This research focuses on UAV uses in pre and post crisis planning and accomplishments. The accompaniment of unmanned vehicles with base teams can make crisis management plans more reliable for the general public and teams faced with tasks such as search and rescue and firefighting. In the fight for mass acceptance of UAV integration, knowledge and attitude inventories were collected and analyzed. Methodology includes mixed method research collected by interviews and questionnaires available to experts and ground teams in the UAV fields, mining industry, firefighting and police force career field, and general city planning crisis management members. This information was compiled to assist professionals in creation of general guidelines and recommendations for how to utilize UAVs in crisis management planning and implementation as well as integration of UAVs into the educational system. The results from this study show the benefits and disadvantages of strategically giving UAVs a role in the construction and implementation of crisis management plans and other areas of interest. The results also show that the general public is lacking information and education on the abilities of UAVs. This education gap shows a correlation with negative attitudes towards UAVs. Educational programs to teach the public benefits of UAV integration should be implemented.
    • I have a secret: choosing the persons to whom secrets are revealed

      Ahmadova, Natavan (2006-05)
      This Human Science research on secrecy is focused on the choices individuals make in choosing with whom they will share a secret. Specifically, this research probes the lived experience of women regarding their decision making about secret sharing and about choosing a person with whom to share a secret. In-depth, conversational interviews were conducted with five women. Narrative analysis was used to interpret the capta, resulting in three main themes. The findings show that characteristics such as trusting the potential secret keeper, predicting their possible reaction, and what benefits might be derived from self-disclosure are important for the participants in choosing to whom they will reveal secrets.
    • "I'm a winner": the influences of group exercise on identity construction in cancer survivors

      Schirack, Marsha A.; Arundale, Robert; Cooper, Christine; Skewes, Monica (2010-05)
      This research addresses the lived experience of individuals that have been diagnosed with cancer and who have participated in an oncology rehabilitation program as part of their treatment. Specifically, it examined the influence of the rehabilitation program in reshaping the participant's sense of identity. The study employs conversational interviewing to access the participant's understandings of the experience of the exercise program during cancer treatment, and utilizes thematic analysis in identifying three major themes emerged: 'I'm a Proactive Person', 'We're in the Same Boat', and 'There are Second Chances... You Better Make the Best of it'. Directions for future research include a study incorporating men and women, longitudinal studies, and research examining participants with a greater age range.
    • 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.
    • Intercultural mentoring: how international students identify and foster key socialization relationships

      Rossi, Elizabeth A.; Taylor, Karen M.; Richey, Jean A.; DeCaro, Peter A. (2014-05)
      Mentoring is a widely studied relationship because of the critical job it serves for socialization and integration into the university system. Mentoring relationships can serve as sources of academic, social, and emotional support. Support while adapting to a new environment can heighten overall satisfaction an individual feels as well as increase the individual's overall success. Mentoring for domestic students entering the university is clearly valuable, but becomes more complex for international students. Intercultural communication is an interaction that takes place between individuals or groups who are from different cultural backgrounds. Understanding how diverse our world is can bring better awareness to all who come to the university for learning and teaching. Also, understanding how exchange students from dissimilar countries maneuver throughout the socialization process and how mentors helped can allow organizations to encourage mentoring of international students. This understanding can help faculty and administrators formulate a process where exchange students can rapidly move through the socialization process and become integrated members of the organization. Although extant research has investigated the ways mentorship can be a helpful resource for newcomers in expediting the socialization process, this particular study looks at how those key relationships were identified and transformed over time. The scope of this research offers the University of Alaska a better understanding of different types of mentors and how they help international students. It also shows how mentorship bonds are formed and maintained over time between individuals who are from different cultural backgrounds.