Recent Submissions

  • Major Shaming in Undergraduate Students

    Dunn, Cara
    Undergraduate college students face stigmas when selecting a college major. These stigmas stem from stereotypes about each major which leads to shaming, a cycle that is identified and discussed in this research. Smith's (2007) Stigma Theory and Meisenbach’s (2010) Stigma Management Communication were used to examine what the stigmas surrounding certain college majors are and how these ideologies impact students. This research specifically focused on the stigma communication cycle of stereotyping, spreading stigmas, and shaming. Undergraduate students in an introductory communication course were asked to complete a Qualtrics survey and focus group where they explained their college decisions and how they have encountered major stigmas. Research was analyzed using thematic analysis and a qualitative examination of findings followed. Future research regarding this thesis should identify additional resources for educators to overcome the stigma cycle in university culture.
  • Run for Your Life: An Autoethnography

    Tharp, Kyle
    This thesis is an autoethnographic analysis of congestive heart failure and recovery. Everyone gets sick, and sickness becomes a central part of the ill person’s identity. Illness is a fundamental part of being human. Advancements in medical techniques and technology allow more and more people, people who would have otherwise been dead or unable to function, to enjoy living in the world of the healthy, even if their health may be fleeting or fragile (Frank, 1995). Congestive heart failure and severe cardiomyopathy are such illnesses and are a perfect ground for a narrative approach to medicine due to their fluctuation between periods of clinical stability and exacerbation (Volpe & Testa, 2019). Arthur Frank (1995) establishes the narrative genre of automythology as a medical journey and highlights the importance of storytelling in medicine, develops the idea of the body as a text - and that of the sick body as a story to be told in order to heal - and that the story of the sick is worth telling. Medicine is organized and communicated through storytelling events (Hunter, 1991) and through medical narrative, humans can come to better understand themselves, their illness, each other, and the world around them (Cousins, 1979). Volpe and Testa (2019) state that storytelling is a pivotal tool for healing in many cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure and cardiomyopathy (2019). Through trials and tribulations, death and eventual rebirth, a transformation can occur that provides a new approach to living. Through an automythology composed of journals, lived experiences, stories, and analysis applied to the structure of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, I utilize the healing power of narrative. Through the reclamation of my identity as a runner, I come to better understand my own condition and journey while assisting others on theirs.
  • The Polymediated Experience of Broadcasting and Consuming Highly-Skilled Video Game Gameplay

    Luttrull, Benjamin
    This thesis explores how the increase in accessibility of live broadcasting platforms for players of video games, such as, affects the ways highly-skilled game players are using their gameplay to create content to be consumed by others. For players and viewers who commit to beating a game as quickly as possible, or speedrunning it, preference for this type of content leads to both groups coming together in community around their shared gameplay interests. This paper applies the polymedia theory of Madianou and Miller (2013) and the concept of polymediation (Calka, 2015) to explore how these groups experience gameplay in a mediated setting. Through ethnographic observations at a major speedrunning broadcasting event and a public chat server, and follow-up interviews and Super Mario World gameplay, three ways in which this type of gameplay content is mediated are analyzed. First, it is mediated through the deliberate, audience-focused additions of technological and gameplay-enhancing content. Second, it is mediated through a purposeful separation of casual gaming for entertainment from “serious” gameplay as a craft. Finally, it is mediated through the engagement and collaboration of an inclusive gameplay-centered community.
  • Defining family : college students' definitions of family and their perceptions of same-sex family advertisments

    Harlan, Sarah Beth
    As the number of same-sex families continues to grow, many companies are taking notice of the desirable market. With buying power estimated at $830 billion, marketers are beginning to target the LGBT population with advertising featuring gay and lesbian individuals and families. As these advertisements become more prevalent, it is important to measure audience's perception of them. This study measured reactions to an advertisement featuring a same-sex family, as well as the effect of the same-sex familial advertisement on consumers' attitudes toward the advertised brand. In addition, to offer insight into the cultural shift of what constitutes a family, perceptions of family, and how one defines family, as well as attitudes toward homosexuality were measured. Results suggest that participants more positively associated with the advertised brand after viewing the advertisement featuring a same-sex family. When controlling for views about homosexuality, there was no significant difference in definition of family and the participant's reactions to the advertisement.
  • Obstacles for University of Southern Indiana international students expressing opinions within the classroom

    Maeda, Junko
    The number of international students who entered the United States was approximately 820,000 in 2013 (NPOJob Coach Network, 2014). Karuppan and Barari (2011) described that some international students may not have been involved in class. Urban and Palmer (2014) indicated that in a new environment, international students were less likely to be engaged in classroom activities as cultural human resources, although they would like to share knowledge about their countries and cultures with their classmates. I explore the barriers of international students' communication within the U.S. classroom, by understanding the problematic interactions of international students at University of Southern Indiana (USI) utilizing face theory and facework as theoretical lenses. Through a qualitative research method by employing individual interviews, I discuss the three factors of language barriers to communication, cultural barriers to communication and social isolation/avoiding communication. The findings are that international students employed a facework strategy of avoidance to maintain their positive images. This study implies that international students can move to a verbal facework strategy, not avoidance. It can contribute to international students' personal development, fulfilling life in the United States. Their different perspectives can activate internationalization in institutions.
  • Fake news and social media : a comparison study of fake news and social media between the United States and the Union of the Republic of Myanmar

    Khai, Thawn Za
    In the era of social media and the digital environment, we can easily access news and information. On the contrary, it is challenging to assess news and information. This capstone project aims to raise the awareness of fake news in social media and promote news literacy. Promoting media literacy education becomes the best alternative to counter fake news, which is misinformation that spreads throughout the digital media environment. Media literacy can also enhance critical thinking skills and application in their news consumption. A training design to address media literacy focuses on fake news on social media was developed. The training was planned and developed through a literature review of news credibility and case studies of fake news on social media. The content of the training was designed to meet the needs of the United States and Myanmar. Two training sessions including one pilot presentation were implemented at the University of Southern Indiana. The effectiveness of the training was evaluated through a pretest and post-test.
  • Communicative value of meaningful tattoos : a quantitative look into perceived trust, credibility, and attraction

    Nelson, Sarah E.
    The purpose of this study was to examine how individuals perceive different levels of trust, credibility, and attraction when knowing the meaning behind someone's tattoo. Grounded in Attribution Theory, different scenarios were given to participants to test whether their perceptions differed once knowing the meaning behind the tattoo. Results showed statistically significant differences between the meaningful tattoo scenario, the meaningless tattoo scenario, and the no tattoo scenario for all dependent variables tested. Limitations and future directions arc also discussed in this research.
  • Political messages in popular culture : an examination of political messages in pop-culture music videos

    White, Obed Anokye
    The youth in the United States and other countries are apolitical because of their minimal consumption of traditional news, higher consumption of entertainment media and on-line news sources, as well as lower voter turnout in comparison with other age brackets (Shearer & Gottfried, 2017). Some scholars (Sloam, 2007; Henn and Foad, 2012) respond that youth are politically involved but their methods of political engagement have changed. They note that youth get information from such entities as Facebook, music videos, blogs, continually evolving online news sources specifically targeting them, and other non-traditional informational outlets. This study examines political messages in popular culture, more specifically in music videos, and analyzes three well-known popular songs to determine the political themes in the visual and lyrical presentations. The study uses symbolic convergence theory to analyze how group coherence works in fantasy chaining in the three music videos and outline the processes artists use to attempt to engage youth in political messages and information through entertainment and music videos. This study also examines arguments concerning political and apolitical youth, since much of society perceives youth as high consumers of popular music but low participants in political engagement.
  • Kesha, sexual assault, and media coverage : a feminist discourse analysis

    Welcher, Jessica Gerlach
    In 2014, pop singer Kesha filed a lawsuit against her long-time music producer Dr. Luke. In it were allegations of sexual assault, forced drug use, and emotional abuse. What followed was extensive mass media coverage from a variety of publication outlets. Kesha's story was desirable for numerous reasons including the drama of assault, the celebrity status of both parties, and the legal ramifications of her contract. A feminist critical discourse analysis was applied to media coverage of the case. Three themes of sexual assault were identified: (1) femininity as weakness. (2) masculinity as power, and (3) failed resistance to patriarchy. Through exploration of these themes in both language and imagery, this thesis highlights the reinforcement of harmful sexual assault tropes and patriarchal standards continually perpetuated by media and popular culture, creating hostile environments for sexual assault victims to disclose information.
  • Wearing the hijab in Trump's America

    Lowicki, Coralie
    The hijab has drawn social and religious scrutiny, especially in the United States where Islam is not a majority religion. The need for exploring such religious and identity issues has increased as over the past decade the events of the September 11th have fundamentally changed the way the American society perceives Muslims, especially Muslim women who wear the hijab in public settings. The experience of Muslim women in the United States remains unique as they confront numerous stigmas - gender, race, ethnicity, and religion - that are attached to the Islamic dress. The purpose of this thesis research is to explore the personal, social, and political factors that affect Muslim women's decision to wear, or to not wear, the hijab in public settings. These factors combined with identity and stigma theories provide an understanding of how these women negotiate their identity in the U.S. society as Muslim women in the Trump era. This study involves conducting ten in-depth interviews with ten women self-identified as Muslim. Results show that three complications arise when Muslim women consider wearing the hijab in Trump's America: (1) a conflictual opposition between personal and U.S. social standards, (2) their status of Islamic ambassadors, and consequently (3) the backlash related to their choices regarding the hijab.
  • Privacy management in the student-advisor relationship : perceptions of credibility, trust, and communication satisfaction

    Dunn, Erin Elizabeth
    Research has also shown that academic advising plays an important role in student retention, satisfaction, and student success (Allen & Smith, 2008; Drake, 2011; Nadler & Nadler, 1999; Waggenspack & Hensley, 1992). As a result, this relationship deserves a closer look at how communication can affect the relationship between the advisor and advisee. This study looks at different levels of private information shared by the advisor affects student perception of the advisor by measuring credibility, trustworthiness, and student communication satisfaction. Results show students reported higher levels of perceived credibility and trustworthiness of the advisor as well as higher communication satisfaction when advisors shared a low level of private information followed by high levels of private information and finally no disclosure of private information. This goes against much of the previous research conducted on disclosure of private information. Implications and possible explanations of these findings are discussed.
  • Unpacking my mother : an autoethnography

    Clayton-Schnitker, Cindi S.
    This thesis is an autoethnography that focuses on the communicative consequences of the early loss of one woman's mother and the ways in which the loss of one's mother is disclosed to others. Early mother loss becomes part of a woman's identity, shaping the woman and mother she becomes. I provide a review of the current grief studies literature, primarily within the context of gender dynamics and throughout the lifespan. Additionally, I provide the theoretical framework of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) and look at various studies that engage in CPM, particularly in the ways we manage issues of grief. Then, I clarify my methodological approach of autoethnography and look at how autoethnographic research can be beneficial to exploring mother loss. I share my narrative accounts and memories about my mother and the loss of her. Particularly, I recount storied episodes with family and friends, providing moments of insight into how I disclose information about my mother, our relationship, and my loss. Finally, I conclude with a discussion of how my autoethnographic reflections can contribute to larger discussions about mother-daughter relationships and bereavement.
  • Alternative voices : women in public spaces

    Machonisse, Tânia da Assunção
    Women worldwide face lack of opportunities to fight and demand basic human rights, such as education and freedom to choose their own path in life. Women from all over the world face substantial to enable them to succeed and follow their dreams. Women lack access to formal education, financial resources, and social value that would allow them to participate actively in the development of their communities and countries. The cultural and social roles attributed to women in many countries have an important connection to the process of formal education as well as socialization of these women. In this context, it is important to understand what women who have access to education think about themselves as role models to other women. This capstone project, in a format of a documentary video, was produced in order to give voice to young women who are exposed to international universities and are constructing education as a safe public space to express their sentiments regarding the opportunities that they have to fight for their dreams and future goals in their countries.
  • Manager responsiveness : the first step in subordinate job satisfaction

    Weigand, Jennifer Mary
    A model of job satisfaction is tested through predictive relationships of manager socio-communicative style and job affect in subordinates. Results of the study showed that manager socio-communicative style (specifically, responsiveness) predicts subordinate job affect and that subordinate job affect predicts their own job satisfaction (explaining 38% of the variance). However, the study did not support manager socio-communicative style directly affecting subordinate job satisfaction. This study also examines perceived socio-communicative style of managers based on sex. Results of this part of the study showed that there is no significant difference between the perceived socio-communicative style of managers based on a manager being male or female.
  • "Intra-community communication influencing African-American hospice utilization"

    Rickelman, Lauren S.
    Members of the African-American community make end-of-life decisions to not utilize hospice services to the same extent as other populations. Prior research has indicated that reasons for underutilization include lack of knowledge, misinformation, and cultural/religious barriers (e.g. Cort, 2004; Taxis, 2006; Reese, Ahern, Nair, O'Faire, & Warren, 1999; Winston, Leshner, Kramer, & Allen, 2005). This paper examines this issue from the standpoint of communication within the African-American community and how this communication influences the decision-making process at the end of life. Qualitative methods of focus groups with key community influencers and structured interviews with family members of deceased African-American hospice patients were employed and revealed data themes that affirmed lack of knowledge, misinformation, and cultural/religious norms act as barriers to hospice utilization among members of African-American communities. Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), offers a view of this intra-community communication through the lens of in-group/out-group behaviors, and recognizes implications for future improvement in hospice outreach.
  • Add nothing, omit nothing, change nothing : professional medical interpreters use of emotion regulation

    Schmidt, Erica L.
    Professional medical interpreters provide language translation in various health care settings. The interpreters are often trained to act solely as conduits of communication regardless of the circumstances surrounding the appointment such as: cultural differences, type of medical appointment (i.e. emergency, routine exams) or age and gender of the client. Prior research has indicated that interpreters are valuable in assisting providers with communicating health care information to their patient; however, there is not a definite answer on whether interpreters should be mandatory in healthcare settings when a spoken language barrier is present (Edwards, Temple & Alexander, 2005; Jiang, 2013; Mutchler, Bacigalupe, Coppin & Gottlieb, 2007). In addition, there is extensive quantitative and qualitative research on the emotional labor and emotion regulation experienced by healthcare providers, in which some of the research addresses healthcare providers experiencing frustrations due to cultural and language barriers (Mutchler, Bacigalupe, Coppin & Gottlieb, 2007; Sherrill & Mayo, 2014). However, there is little qualitative research that explores the emotional labor and emotion regulation experienced by medical interpreters. This thesis examines the emotion regulation strategies, such as surface and deep acting, utilized by medical interpreters throughout interpreting sessions. Qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews were conducted with medical interpreters and patients (whom utilized interpreters). The data revealed that medical interpreters experience emotional labor and attempt to utilize emotion regulation strategies in order to fulfill their role as a conduit of communication between their client and the provider; however, majority of interpreters considered themselves patient advocates or cultural brokers and felt it was not possible to solely act as a conduit based on the many circumstances surrounding the client's need, appointment type or background.
  • Sirens and scapegoats : the gendered rhetoric of red hair

    Walker, Emily Cameron
    Redheads have been stereotyped throughout history, and the negative perceptions exist to this day. There is prejudice against red hair, which is evident in the portrayal of redheads in art, cinema, literature, and popular culture today. When a character's hair is red, it serves a rhetorical function. Red hair marks the subject as different; for a woman, it denotes she craves the spotlight, or is dangerous, supernatural, evil, sexual, or powerful in some way, and often a combination of these elements. For men, red hair denotes a threat, or is an indicator of weakness, of status as a victim, or of some form of rejection. This thesis is an exploration of the gendered meanings of red hair, specifically its connection with Said's (1978) concept of Othering, Burke's (1973) notion of scapegoating, and Spillman and Spillman's (1997) model of enemy construction. In this thesis, Burke's method of cluster criticism is used to analyze the case studies of Rebekah Brooks, scapegoat for the Murdoch phone hacking scandal; the barring of redhead men from donating at Cryos International sperm banks, and the negative portrayal of redheads in the South Park cartoon, "Ginger Kids." The thesis concludes that redheads continue to be Othered, scapegoated, identified as enemies, and ultimately discriminated against in contemporary society.
  • What's on your radio station's mind? : how contemporary Christian music radio stations are using Facebook

    Bolin, Andew F.
    Radio stations in the United States continue to find new and unique ways to connect with listeners through the use of modem technology. Social Media websites like Facebook are cultivating new means of communicating with others. Through status updates, users can subscribe, follow, and even comment on the statuses of other individuals as well as various organizations that post up to the minute information that includes varying forms of content such as photos, videos, and blogs. Radio stations are finding ways to use social media as a tool to interact with their audiences and encourage increased listenership. Through content analysis, the researcher examines how one of the fastest growing radio formats, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio uses Facebook to interact with listeners. The analysis produced seven unique categories in which CCM radio stations use Facebook: station promo, contest promo, event promo, local news, Bible verse, capital campaign, and general comment/question.
  • Sacred cows, stinky food, and submissive South Asians : a rhetorical analysis of race and culture in the television show Outsourced

    Fentress, Samantha Brown
    In this thesis, I explore how South Asians are stereotyped into an image of Indian-ness as depicted on the television series Outsourced. I engage in ideological rhetorical criticism of Outsourced to examine how Indian-ness is projected to the American audience. Through a framework of postcolonial theory, I argue that the show contributes to a history of negative representation of Asians on U.S. television and film and perpetuates the continued colonization of Indian people by the Westerner. Engaging in a close textual analysis, I develop the following ideological themes: Indians as Other; Indians as unclean; Indians as technologically savvy; and India as having disgusting food. Additionally, I explore the intersection of race and gender on the show, noting the various stereotypes of both Indian and Western men and women.