Collaborative Research Groups

Faculty, undergraduate and graduate students at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication collaborate to conduct group and individual research in the School’s four research groups: the Media Effects Research Group, the Political Communication Research Group (PCRG), , the Crisis Communication Research Group, and the Digital Advertising Research Team (DART). Interested faculty members and students are encouraged to contact the supervising faculty member for additional information. More information about each research group is below.

 

Media Effects Research Group

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Q:        What is your research group about?

A:         Our research group is about creating learning experiences and helping out one another so that each and every one of us can get the most out of our educational experience at LSU. Our group is about collectively and individually conducting research within the mass communication field.

01Q:        Discuss how the research group works.

A:         We meet once every other week (sometimes weekly) for 2-3 hours. At the beginning of every semester, we identify individual and team needs, and throughout the semester, we work on our pre-determined goals. While the research group provides support and feedback for individual projects, it also collaborates as a team on one media effects-related project. The project becomes a product of a team effort, where every member contributes to the selection, design and analysis of the study. During meetings, the team produces various objectives for the group project, and then each member independently works on specific tasks assigned by the group. When the research team gathers again, team members discuss and compare progress and decide on next steps.

Q:         In the past, what sort of research have you done? What projects have you worked on?

A:         There have been several individual projects. For example, one student has focused on the following areas: the role of visualization techniques on environmental attitude and behavior change, cognitive and emotional responses to media, implications for strategic approaches to climate change discourse, the influence of place attachment and environmental experiences on pro-environmental behavior, and strategic communication techniques to foster coastal resiliency. Another student has focused on two research areas: 1) television exposure and beliefs on romantic relationship choices among African Americans and 2) the “Selfie” and how exposure to these images may induce social comparison and narcissistic personality traits. All of our work is connected in that it works with media effects and social psychology theories.

MERG-LSU members at ICA, Seattle.

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Q:        What honors or opportunities have your research projects garnered?

A:   The Media Effects Research Group and the Media Effects Lab have provided some members opportunities to present research at international conferences and introduced them to other scholars in the field. Work has been presented at the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual conferences.

Q:        How do you take advantage of the Media Effects Lab for your research?

A:         The Media Effects Lab (MEL) has provided opportunities to conduct research to measure human attitudes and behaviors in an experimental setting. Some members had no experience with experimental research before using the MEL. We conduct both online and lab-based experiments.

Q:        What’s the composition/student diversity in your group?

A:         The group mostly consists of Ph.D. and master’s students, and usually one undergraduate student. The small size of the group (usually 5-7 students) allows the team to provide sufficient feedback to each student on individual tasks for a group study or independent projects, on any given day. The research team brings international student diversity. Media effects themes unite students from diverse disciplines including media studies, psychology and other social sciences.

For more information about the Media Effects Research Group, contact Dr. Meghan S. Sanders, msand@lsu.edu.


 

Political Communication Research Group

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PCRG members at first PCRG mini-conference, sponsored by the Don Owens Professorship.

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Q:        What is your research group about?

A:         The Political Communication Research Group (PCRG) is a group where students and faculty members with a common interest in media and politics come together to share their ideas and work collaboratively on research projects.

Q:        Discuss how the research group works.

A:         This group is open to all graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members. Ray Pingree, Rosanne Scholl and Johanna Dunaway are the founding faculty members and advisers of this group. We also have a rotating crop of student leaders who manage meetings, recruit members and coordinate various activities to make sure the group runs smoothly.

We meet for two hours every week. At the beginning of the semester, our meetings are usually about research ideas. Everyone is given the chance to pitch ideas that the group could potentially work on through the semester. As the weeks pass, we pick an idea, and then spend the rest of our meetings finetuning the idea, collecting data and writing papers. We’re not all about work though. Sometimes we end our meetings at Chimes. It’s the perfect way to start the weekend!

Q:        In the past, what sort of research have you done? What projects have you worked?

A:         PCRG is currently in its second year and gearing up to replicate the productivity we had in our inaugural year. Last year, we designed two studies. The first tested how news stories recommended by friends on social media impact our levels of media trust. We found that social media recommendations improve people’s trust in the media and encourage them to seek more stories from the same news outlet. The second study tested the effects of fact checking by journalists on readers’ ability to decide which political claims are true. Contrary to previous literature, we found that fact checking can affect people’s factual beliefs about local issues regardless of their partisan identities, and makes them more certain in their ability to determine which political claims are true. Both these studies were conceived and designed as a group. We worked together to write stimulus materials for the experiment, design questions, analyze the data and write the research papers.

Q:        What honors or opportunities have your research projects garnered?

A:         Both papers we wrote last year were presented at AEJMC, a national mass communication conference, in Montreal, QC. They have been submitted to two top-tier journals—Journal of Computer Mediated Communication and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Two of our undergraduate student members presented a poster based on our study at the very first LSU Discover Research Day (a college-wide undergrad research symposium) in March and won an award. Lastly, our group won a grant from the Manship School, and we plan to use this toward inviting a senior scholar to visit our school, interact with students and share ideas with our group.

 

Q:        How do you take advantage of the Media Effects Lab for your research?

A:         We used the student research participant pool administered by the Media Effects Lab in order to conduct the experiment for our papers. Several students took our online survey experiment administered through MEL in November and February.

Q:        What’s the composition/student diversity in your group?

A:         Our group is made up of three faculty members and about five students from various backgrounds. We have one undergraduate student, two master’s students, and two Ph.D. students. Almost all students are majoring in political communication.

For more information about PCRG, contact Dr. Ray Pingree, rpingree@lsu.edu.


 

Crisis Communication Research Group

 

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Crisis Communication Research Group members at 2015 IPRRC Conference, Miami.

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Q:        What is your research group about?

A:         Our research group, the Crisis Communication Research Center, focuses on broad and different perspectives of crisis communication. In terms of public relations, crisis communication can be defined as a strategic dialogue between an organization and public prior to, during and after a crisis. In the journalistic perspective, we focus on media coverage along with information transmission. By taking two different perspectives, we are able to take advantage of two areas of theories, such as news framing and crisis response strategies. In turn, our research will help broaden and enrich not only the theoretical streams, but also the practical contribution to both areas.

Q:        How often do you meet? Briefly, discuss how the research group works.

A:          More meetings take place in the initial stages of our research projects. Once we set up the plan for the research topics, work assignments and other details, including data collection, methods and publication plans, we usually exchange emails and update each other on research progress.

Q:        In the past, what have you done? What projects have you worked on?

A:         We have presented seven research papers at a number of international (2014 IPRRC: International Public Relations Research Conference) and national (2014 AEJMC: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference) conferences. Two of the studies are currently under review at top-tiered journals, and one received a revise and resubmit. We continue to work on additional papers and data sets, as well as working to get more in the publication pipeline.

Crisis Communication Research Group members at 2015 IPRRC Conference, Miami.

Q:        What honors or opportunities have your research projects garnered?

A:         We received two top paper awards from 2014 and 2015 IPRRC and 2014 AEJMC conferences. The papers examined the public and its communication behaviors in terms of crisis news framing.

Q:        How do you take advantage of the Media Effects Lab for your research?

A:         We have not used the Media Effects Lab yet but plan to take advantage of its facilities. Our research has relied on explicit response of participants in crisis communication, but we are also interested in examining implicit attitudes toward organizations and effects of crisis response strategies in crisis situations. We are aware that MEL is equipped with computers that can track response time, or how long it takes a participant to respond to a particular question. We plan to take advantage of the measurements to determine whether participants are filtering their responses or whether their responses are reflective of their actual thoughts and feelings in crisis communication.

Q:        What’s the composition/student diversity in your group?

Dr. Andrea Miller, Manship’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Administration, is the director of our group. She is teaching a graduate course on Crisis Communication. Young Kim is a third year Ph.D. student studying public relations with a focus on crisis and disaster communication, relationship, and communicative behaviors. Myoung-Gi Chon is a second year Ph.D. student, and his research interests include public relations, government PR and health communication. Our door is open to those who are interested in crisis communication in both mass communication and public relations.

For more information about the Crisis Communication Research Center, contact Dr. Andrea Miller, almiller@lsu.edu.

 

 

Digital Advertising Research Team (DART)

Q:        What is your research group about?

A:         Our group is the Digital Advertising Research Team (DART). It consists of faculty and graduate students interested in digital advertising research. We conduct research on digital media as well as digital advertising and its effects.

 

Q:        Discuss how the research group works.

A:         The Team meets every two weeks to plan and discuss the group’s research objectives and progress.

 

Q:        In the past, what sort of research have you done? What projects have you worked on?

A:         We are working on our first project. It is a project examining the interrelationships between different types of native advertising, content viewed on different types of devices (mobile, tablet, PC) and ad modality (verbal versus visual). We hope to develop a study from which several manuscripts will be developed.

 

Q:        How do you take advantage of the Media Effects Lab for your research?

A:         We will utilize the Media Effects Lab in two ways. First, we will use the student participant pool for the initial phases of our study. Second, we will utilize the eye tracking equipment to measure responses to our different experimental manipulations.

 

Q:        What’s the composition/student diversity in your group?

A:         We have four faculty members, all from the digital advertising area. We have two Ph.D. students and one Master’s student.

 

For more information about DART, contact Dr. Kasey Windels, kwindels@lsu.edu.