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Undergraduate Research

The department offers several opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in collaboration with our faculty or to design your own research projects. Assisting faculty with research will help you understand better how research on media content, processes and effects is designed and conducted, and will provide you with research skills that will benefit you in your courses, and that may be invaluable in your future careers. You will also learn how to interact and communicate with faculty and other researchers, gain new mentors and friends, and learn to work effectively in a team.

The University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

UROP creates partnerships between students and Michigan faculty, providing a wealth of research opportunities for students primarily with freshman or sophomore standing without previous research experience. More than 1000 students work on real research and real scholarship with over 600 faculty members. For more information about research opportunities at the University of Michigan please refer to the UROP webpage.

Faculty Directed Undergraduate Research Practicum

Comm 322 offers an opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and skills for conducting research in mass communication and mass media working on faculty research projects under the close supervision of a Communication Studies faculty supervisor.

Research experiences may include:

  • Participation in regular research meetings
  • Collecting, coding and/or analyzing data
  • Preparation of written or oral reports
  • Final research project to be determined by the faculty supervisor

Students may earn 1-3 credits per term and no more than 6 credits total for Comm 322. For additional information refer to Comm 322 policies and procedures.

Communication Studies Honors Program

The honors program offers a special opportunity for declared Communication Studies seniors with strong academic records and a desire to pursue individual scholarly research. Students admitted to the honors program design and conduct an individual research project and write a senior honors thesis. Please see the Honors Program for more information.

Independent Student Reading and Research

Comm 441 Independent Reading is a course of study designed by a declared Communication Studies major and sponsoring faculty member intended for individualized instruction in subject areas not covered by scheduled courses. Students wishing to conduct independent reading must prepare a proposed reading list and assignments approved by the faculty sponsor. The length and quality of the assignments should be equivalent to the regular work in a 400-level course. Students are expected to meet regularly with the faculty sponsor throughout the term to discuss the topic and progress toward the course goals.

Comm 442 Independent Research is intended for a declared Communication Studies major for original, individualized student research under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Independent Research may be not be used to provide research support to a faculty member. Students interested in conducting an independent research project must submit a written project proposal to the faculty supervisor for approval. The length and quality of the project should be equivalent to the regular work in a 400-level course. Students are expected to meet regularly with the faculty sponsor through the term to discuss the research and progress toward the course goals.

Students may earn 3-4 credits per term for Comm 441 or Comm 442. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. For additional information refer to Comm 441/Comm 442 policies and procedures

Research Opportunities for Students

Media in Everyday Life

MEDIA IN EVERYDAY LIFE

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
In the Media Psychology Lab, we are interested in how people use media in their everyday lives and the effects it has on them. 

Some current research topics include:
- Why do we "binge watch" and what effects does it have on us and our engagement with the content?

- Data shows that older adults watch a great deal of TV; is this good or bad for their health and well being?

- How does reading news about someone who gets (or does not get) the flu vaccine influence people's willingness to do the same?

How do our levels of personal self-control interact with our media use?

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
All students affiliated with the Media Psychology Lab are expected to attend our lab meetings, which are scheduled weekly or bi-weekly. Lab members are also expected to participate in the research activities of the lab - this includes reading research papers and manuscripts, contributing advice and feedback on research projects, helping with data collection, editing of manuscripts and other tasks as needed. Training and mentorship on these tasks is provided. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Sonya Dal Cin
Email: mediapsych@umich.edu

Exposure to Violence and Subsequent Weapon Use: Mediating and Moderating Processes

Exposure to Violence and Subsequent Weapon Use: Mediating and Moderating Processes

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
The Aggression Lab at the Institute for Social Research conducts laboratory and field experiments to investigate the causes and consequences of aggressive behavior. In the Fall of 2016, research began on a five-year NIH funded project titled, "Exposure to Violence and Subsequent Weapon Use: Mediating and Moderating Processes" which studies the consequences of exposure to violence among urban youth and young adults.

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
The research assistants conduct in-person and phone interviews with adolescent and adult research participants. The research subjects will be young adults and parents off campus in multi-ethnic urban neighborhoods. Research assistants will be formally trained by experienced staff member and will work in pairs to conduct the interviews. In addition, research assistants will also help research staff with tasks such as updating data documentation, entering data, maintaining files, distributing reports and duplicating materials. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Rowell Huesmann
Email: Diana Armistead at darmis@umich.edu
Phone: 734-647-9407

Spying on Democracy

Spying on Democracy

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
Assistance with filing Freedom of Information Act requests researching the history of surveillance against journalists and media outlets. 

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
Participants will be responsible for:
- Reviewing FBI files and highlighting/tracking all coding in the marginalia
- Spreadsheet and database maintenance
- Active discussion and review of research with team

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Will Potter
Email: wpot@umich.edu

Media and Intergroup Relations

Media and Intergroup Relations

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
The Conflict Research Lab conducts research on media and conflict. Specifically, examining the role of media in intergroup conflict from the majority and minority group perspectives. This group conducts correlational, experimental and longitudinal studies on how media representations influences intergroup realtions as well as aggressive tendencies towards others.

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
Research assistants will help with various tasks to facilitate these research studies.

- Complete PEERS training on ethics involving human subject data collection

- Involvement in data collection, data cleaning, data coding and literature searches for each of the studies being run in the lab

 - Attend bi-weekly lab meetings with discussion

- Read the assigned articles and come to lab meetings prepared to discuss them

All students will be asked to complete a final assignment which will be due at the end of the semester.

Students may either:

- Complete a reaction paper on one of the readings assigned in the lab
OR
- Propose a research project advancing one of the lab experiments they worked on during the semester.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Muniba Saleem
Email: Ian Hawkins at hawki@umich.edu

Global Digital Cultures

Global Digital Cultures

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
Understanding the relationship between popular culture and politics in South Asia.

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
Students will be expected to produce annotated bibliographies; gathering and analyzing social media feeds pertaining to key political events.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Aswin Punathambekar
Email: aswinp@umich.edu

US GLBTQ Television in a Global Context

US GLBTQ Television in a Global Context

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
Reseraching contemporary shows with GLBTQ themes.

EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS:
Research students with a familiarity with US television and aware of GLBTQ themes and subtexts to help with pre-production for a new documentary "Beyond the Straight and Narrow: US GLBTQ Television in a Global Context." Responsibilities include researching contemporary shows, finding scholars who are writing on US GLBTQ television and locating popular press articles in English that address contemporary US GLBTQ themed television.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Professor Katherine Sender
Email: ksender@umich.edu