Research and Publications - Department of Communication (CIS), General

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    Meeting the Information Needs of Lower Income Cancer Survivors: Results of a Randomized Control Trial Evaluating the American Cancer Society's "I Can Cope"
    (Taylor & Francis, 2014) Martin, Michelle Y.; Evans, Mary B.; Kratt, Polly; Pollack, Lori A.; Smith, Judith Lee; Oster, Robert; Dignan, Mark; Prayor-Patterson, Heather; Watson, Christopher; Houston, Peter; Andrews, Shiquina; Liwo, Amandiy; Tseng, Tung Sung; Hullett, Sandral; Oliver, Joann; Pisu, Maria; University of Alabama Birmingham; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - USA; University of Kentucky; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Meharry Medical College; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The American Cancer Society is a leader in the development of cancer survivorship resources. One resource of the American Cancer Society is the I Can Cope program, an educational program for cancer survivors and their families. Evaluations of this program indicate that cancer patients highly rate its objectives. Yet, there are gaps in the understanding of the full impact of the program on diverse cancer survivors. In this study, the authors used a randomized trial to evaluate the program. Participants included 140 low-income survivors (79% Black; 38% breast cancer) from community hospitals who were randomized to 4 sessions of I Can Cope (learning about cancer; understanding cancer treatments; relieving cancer pain; and keeping well in mind and body) or 4 sessions of a wellness intervention (humor, meditation, relaxation, and music therapy). The authors' primary outcome was "met information needs." After controlling for covariates, their analysis indicated that I Can Cope was no more effective than the wellness intervention in addressing survivor information needs relative to the learning objectives. Participants provided high overall ratings for both interventions. Self-efficacy for obtaining advice about cancer, age, education, and income were associated with information needs. Educational programs tailored to levels of self-efficacy and patient demographics may be needed.
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    A silver lining for pandemic-weary libraries: How blended and flipped instructional programs have improved upon pre-pandemic norms
    (Elsevier, 2022) Walker, Kevin W.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The COVID-19 pandemic presented instructors and learners with novel challenges related to the delivery and consumption of instructional content. Within academic libraries, these changes have resulted in an expanded reliance on asynchronous learning content delivered through a variety of instructional approaches. The study described herein was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a blended and flipped program of information literacy (IL) instruction. Deploying a pre/post-test methodology within a quasi-experimental study of student learning outcomes, this research compares achievement across two cohorts of students receiving IL instruction as part of a first-year writing program (FYWP) requirement. While one cohort participated in a multi-shot, inperson, synchronous instructional program during the pre-pandemic period, another cohort participated in a blended and flipped instructional program delivered under pandemic-related restrictions. Comparative analysis revealed net positive achievement outcomes for both the pre-pandemic and pandemic cohorts, as well as interesting points of contrast between the two groups. In particular, students in the pandemic cohort arrived to their first year with less research experience than their pre-pandemic peers-signaling a gap in knowledge that pandemic-era library instruction must overcome. Fortunately, the blended and flipped instructional program experienced by the pandemic cohort proved successful in helping those students overcome their research experience gap, while delivering additional benefits that help confirm previous research in this area of practice.
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    The Rise of Transgender and Gender Diverse Representation in the Media: Impacts on the Population
    (Oxford University Press, 2019) Mocarski, Richard; King, Robyn; Butler, Sim; Holt, Natalie R.; Huit, T. Zachary; Hope, Debra A.; Meyer, Heather M.; Woodruff, Nathan; University Nebraska Kearney; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of Nebraska Lincoln
    In recent years, the transgender and gender diverse (TGD) population has gained a stronger voice in the media. Although these voices are being heard, there are limits on the types of TGD representation displayed in media. The current study interviewed 27 TGD individuals. These interviews exposed how participants view the rise of TGD media representation. The main themes that emerged were TGD awareness and TGD identity discovery and role modeling. Clearly, there is a disconnect between transnormativity in the media and transnormativity in reality.
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    Finding the Invisible Leader: When A Priori Opinion Leader Identification is Impossible
    (Routledge, 2022) Britt, Brian C.; Britt, Rebecca K.; Anderson, Jenn; Fahrenwald, Nancy; Harming, Shana; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; South Dakota State University; Texas A&M University College Station
    Opinion leaders are increasingly recruited to diffuse information, attitudes, and behaviors to serve communication campaigns. However, this has historically required opinion leader identification before launching the campaign. A priori identification is impossible in many contexts, such as when addressing unfamiliar topics or insular communities. The authors introduce a two-stage campaign approach that resolves this problem, and a public health campaign is used to demonstrate it. This approach is applicable to a wider variety of contexts than traditional a priori opinion leader identification.
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    Sports Journalism Content When No Sports Occur: Framing Athletics Amidst the COVID-19 International Pandemic
    (Sage, 2022) Sadri, Sean R.; Buzzelli, Nicholas R.; Gentile, Patrick; Billings, Andrew C.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    On March 11, 2020, the National Basketball Association suspended its season after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Within days, the rest of the sports world similarly suspended play in the wake of the pandemic. This study focuses on sports media storytelling when covering athletic competition was no longer an option. Utilizing four distinct time periods and framing theory as the foundation of our theoretical framework, the content analysis examined shifts from the normal reporting routine and how those shifts morphed as pandemic information dictated. As the pandemic grew more widespread, health and safety became the predominant focus of national sports media. In spring 2020, sports news experienced a significant shift in coverage as economic and fairness frames were replaced with health, safety, and quality of life as the principal frames in the coded articles. By pinpointing the major differences in coverage across time, the study revealed that sports content and frames quickly shifted to reflect the perceived severity to the global health community, while the sources used in those articles stayed largely the same. The theoretical and applied implications of the study are discussed.
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    Of essential workers and working from home: Journalistic discourses and the precarities of a pandemic economy
    (Sage, 2022) Creech, Brian; Maddox, Jessica; Temple University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This article considers how reporting about work during the COVID-19 pandemic operated as a field of discourse that challenged the ideological workings of neoliberalism. By documenting the risks and stresses workers of all classes faced during the first year of the pandemic, the reporting began to question neoliberal capitalism as socially unsustainable. Drawing on a corpus of 151 long-form articles and commentary, we show how journalistic discourse structured relationships between different classes of workers and implicated institutions for failing to properly mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, even though the discourse largely centered on professionals working from home. As the reporting substantiated the precarities revealed by the pandemic as social facts, it challenged presumptions that undergird neoliberal ideologies, though it remains to be seen whether journalism will discursively re-center neoliberal logics in the wake of the pandemic.
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    Credibility in Online Health Communities: Effects of Moderator Credentials and Endorsement Cues
    (MDPI, 2021) Kanthawala, Shaheen; Peng, Wei; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Online health communities (OHCs) are a common and highly frequented health resource. To create safer resources online, we must know how users think of credibility in these spaces. To understand how new visitors may use cues present within the OHC to establish source credibility, we conducted an online experiment (n = 373) manipulating cues for perceptions of two primary dimensions of credibility—trustworthiness and expertise—by manipulating the presence of endorsement cues (i.e., likes) and of moderators’ health credentials (i.e., medical professional) using a fake OHC. Participants were predominantly male (60.4%) and Caucasian (74.1%). Our findings showed that moderators with health credentials had an effect on both dimensions of source credibility in OHCs, however, likes did not. We also observed a correlation between the perceived social support within the community and both dimensions of source credibility, underscoring the value of supportive online health communities. Our findings can help developers ascertain areas of focus within their communities and users with how perceptions of credibility could help or hinder their own assessments of OHC credibility.