Research

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Research Opportunities for Graduate Students

Research is not just encouraged; research is the underpinning of the graduate education experience in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Beginning the first year, Ph.D. and Master's Research & Theory students produce their first conference paper and by the end of their graduate education, students have presented papers at national and international conferences and published journal articles, book chapters, and in some cases co-edited books. One of the many reasons for the productivity of graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin is the dedication of journalism faculty inside and outside the classroom. In addition to making graduate seminar projects synergistic with producing research papers, faculty members collaborate with students on research projects. Some of these collaborations take place in the following research groups:

Digital Media Research Program (DMRP)
(Dr. Homero Gil de Zúñiga)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
http://communication.utexas.edu/strauss/dmrp
The DMRP launched as a combined initiative from the College of Communication and the Annette Strauss Institute at the University of Texas - Austin. The DMRP airms to shed light on how new technologies of communication and innovative outreatch can be used to increase political understanding and praticipation in democratic societies. It draws on the various backgrounds and research interests of its students and that of Dr. Gil de Zúñiga. For instance, DMRP members study new communication technologies and digital media and their impact on the arena of journalism and communication, with a particular interest in civic and political engagement issues. If you are interested in participating in any of the projects or want to provide some feedback and comments, please contact us at dmrp@austin.utexas.edu .

Dr. Dominic Lasorsa's Research Group
My research group doesn't have a name but we have been working together for many years, with old-timers moving on to new jobs and new faces joining us each year. We focus on one topic at a time, writing a number of papers on that topic. Previously, for example, we were working on stereotyping in news stories and then coverage of the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Our current project involves how journalists use Twitter. Students are involved in every aspect of the projects, from coming up with project ideas, to designing studies, data collection, data analysis, and so forth. Please contact Nick Lasorsa at lasorsa@mail.utexas.edu

Media Economics Research Group (MERG)
(Dr. Iris Chyi)

http://www.newmediaresearch.org/merg/
Starting fall 2008, several students in my "Economics of New Media" seminar suggested that we form a Media Economics Research Group (MERG). Based on shared interest, this group carried out projects relevant to the economics (and thus the future) of journalism. We believe that "media are economic institutions and should be understood as such" (Albarran, 1996), and our goal is to demystify the (often misunderstood) economic nature of (online) news with reality-based data and logical reasoning. With so much uncertainty going on in the media world, we need research that makes sense and makes a difference. Please contact Iris Chyi at chyi@mail.utexas.edu

Online Political Communication Research Posse (OPCRP)
(Dr. Tom Johnson)

My research group examines how people use new media (particularly online political news media) and its effects on them. Two areas we are particularly interested in are credibility of online sources and selective exposure. We are also interested in the role of interpersonal and online communication and political effects. This semester we are examining how gender influences willingness to contact politicians offline and online. We are also looking at whether how you gather news, specifically sharing or creating news online, affects credibility judgments of traditional media. Our research involves surveys and secondary analysis of survey data. Please contact Tom Johnson at tom.johnson@austin.utexas.edu

Race, Agenda-setting, Visuals & Ethics (RAVE)
(Dr. Renita Coleman)

We do all that, plus some health care communication research. Students can propose their own ideas, or work on something that's already going. My primary research method is the experiment, but we also do content analyses and surveys. Typically, we have several projects going on with two to three people working on each one. There are even some solo projects where the students. Just come for some feedback and help from their peers and me. Please contact Renita Coleman at renitac@mail.utexas.edu

Research Eclectic Group
(Dr. Paula Poindexter)

I named my group Research Eclectic because of the diversity in topics, methods, meetings, and collaborations.  Most recently I have collaborated with graduate students on three content analysis studies, two that involved the 2008 presidential election. In early 2011, I will launch a national news audience survey that will partially replicate the local news as good neighbor study and the duty to keep informed study. This national survey will also follow up on the most recent Pew Research Center findings that Facebook and Twitter users "hardly ever" use these social media for consuming news. Web-based focus groups will be conducted to explore why these social media are barely being used for news. If you'd like to get involved with the upcoming national survey or other research projects, please contact Paula Poindexter at paula.poindexter@austin.utexas.edu

Urban Journalism and Communication
(Dr. Gene Burd)

Focus on the study and practice of journalism within the new urban geography of place and space, changing city images, decentralization and decline of metropolitan mass media amidst multi-cultural niches, new social and mobile media, cyber-space and digital cities, and decision-making in a pluralistic multi-centered metropolis in the emerging global "mediapolis". Discussion of a new "preventive journalism" through re-definition of news coverage beyond buildings and events toward urban functions, processes and systems in architecture, transportation, economics, information, education, human relations, government, health, recreation, and a sustainable  natural environment. Focus on appropriate urban research methodologies plus liaison with the global activities and research supported by The Urban Communication Foundation. Please contact Gene Burd at g.burd@mail.utexas.edu