Communication Studies -- Graduate Theses

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This collection features graduate student theses produced in the Department of Communication Studies.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 36
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    Not first responders, but often first to respond: Canadian journalists’ use of trauma-informed approaches in reporting
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022) Dubinski, Kate
    As part of their work, journalists regularly encounter people who have experienced trauma, whether long-term and systemic or immediate, such as following the death of a loved one. Their jobs take them into the intimate lives and emotions of these people, which they then have to communicate with their audiences, and their approaches could have a harmful, neutral, or positive impact. The central purpose of this study is to investigate if journalists have an understanding of trauma-informed communication practice and how they use them when performing their daily job tasks. The study involved qualitative interviews with six working journalists in Ontario, Canada. Using grounded theory approach, the study found the journalists have a deep desire to be sensitive and empathetic to the people they encounter on the job, and that they regularly put the demands of their superiors and the (sometimes unwritten) rules of their profession second to the needs of the people they are interviewing and reporting on. Based on the responses of the participants and on an understanding of trauma-informed approaches, a series of guiding principles were formulated for newsrooms and for journalists, mindful of daily deadline pressures, the demands placed on journalists, and the need for trauma-informed approaches to tell more meaningful stories while not further harming those individuals or communities which are being reported upon.
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    “I want to look like her”: A cross-cultural analysis of White and Eastern Asian-Canadian women’s perceptions of beauty through Instagram
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022) Gwilliam, Maya
    Researchers and the broader public alike have long been intrigued about the connection between body image concerns among young women and the increasing proliferation of certain social media platforms. Instagram, in particular, has become a common target of attention for those expecting to see a connection between participation on the platform and negative self-esteem (Fardouly et al., 2017). There is often a racial component to these assumptions, given that Eastern Asian women often face negative body self-esteem issues when confronted with mainstream beauty standards (Cheng, 2014; Smart et al., 2011). In an effort to ascertain the validity of these assumptions, this research has committed to a thorough investigation of self-perceptions among young women as it relates to their Instagram usage by exploring the research question: Is there a relationship between White and Eastern Asian-Canadian women’s self-esteem, ethnic and racial identity, and their Instagram use? This study made use of quantitative data collected from participants from 16 universities across Canada; 82 participants were surveyed to gauge their browsing habits on Instagram, as well as their self-image and internalization of Western beauty standards. An analysis of this data yielded a result which contradicted the popular assumption—among the White and Eastern Asian-Canadian women (ages 19-30) surveyed, there is no evidence of a relationship between Instagram usage and global self-esteem, body self-esteem, or racial identity. While this does not preclude the possibility that social media may be harmful to young women in other ways, there is little evidence from the present study to suggest that Instagram is responsible for deteriorating its users’ self-esteem.
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    “I know something you don’t know”: Analysis of perceptions of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry through signaling, dramaturgy, and reception theories
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2021-12-06) Rino, Antonio
    Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry is a relatively new way of reporting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with a key focus on appealing to investors. While there is a great deal of scholarly research on CSR and environmental and issues, there is very little qualitative data on public and industry perceptions of ESG reporting, particularly in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry. The purpose of this research is to address this lack of qualitative data through interviews with industry personnel and non-industry publics about their perceptions of ESG reporting and to understand how these actors perceive ESG communications. Interviews took place in early 2021, during COVID-19 lockdowns and depressed market conditions for Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry. Data was collected using grounded theory and is analyzed using my “I know something you don’t know” (IKSYDK) framework that is based on signaling theory (Spence, 2002), dramaturgical theory (Goffman, 1956), and reception theory (Hall, 1973). Although these interviews represent a snapshot in time, the data revealed conflicting views on the Oil and Gas Industry’s perception of public opinion, insights on how social media can be used to communicate ESG effectively, and unilateral agreement that ESG reporting is incomplete for picking and choosing only the good data and not sharing the bad. Interviewees also concurred that – due to the undeniable threat of climate change caused by fossil fuels – the Oil and Gas Industry is in sunset, and that ESG reporting can provide valued accountability if created more inclusively for investor and non-investor audiences.
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    Public Relations Leadership in the Context of Atlantic Canadian Universities
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2020-07) Bayers, Cindy
    While leadership has been a long-studied phenomenon in management and organizational behaviour, it has received little attention in public relations until relatively. Juan Meng and Bruce Berger (Meng, 2012; Meng, Berger, Gower & Heyman, 2012; Meng & Berger, 2013) can be credited with the most recent and comprehensive work on public relations leadership. They conceptualized excellent leadership in public relations and identified the leadership dimensions practitioners should employ to facilitate public relations effectiveness. What remains unknown, however, is a) whether there is agreement between practitioner understanding of public relations leadership and the prescribed definition of excellent leadership in public relations; b) whether practitioners perceive themselves as aligning with the key dimensions; and c) how practitioner role and gender influence this alignment. This qualitative study of public relations practitioners in Atlantic Canadian universities contributes to our understanding on these points. This study employs the existing principles of the excellent leadership in public relations theoretical construct (Meng, 2012; Meng, Berger, Gower & Heyman, 2012; Meng & Berger, (2013) to increase understanding of public relations leadership in a Canadian context and expand on development of the excellent leadership in public relations theory. Overall, how study participants understand and interpret public relations leadership is consistent with the excellent leadership in public relations theoretical construct. Notably extending the integrated model, however, this study found that it is the attributes of a leader in public relations in addition to the communication and public relations work one produces that supports and elevates the quality of the communication team’s work; and that public relations leadership boosts the credibility of the profession as well as the organization. Further, this study also suggests that public relations leadership does not allow for informal leaders (i.e., those without formal authority to influence others), because participants indicated that a leader in public relations must be in a position of authority within the university. This finding is contrary to the excellent leadership in public relations theoretical construct; Meng & Berger (2013) assert that leadership is not limited to senior levels in organizations and can be found at every level.
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    Name A More Iconic Duo, I’ll Wait: Exploring the Role of Humour in Bangladeshi Internet Meme Culture
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2019-08) Rakib, Md Inzamul Hossain
    Internet meme culture represents one of the most prevalent facets in contemporary popular culture. In this study, I explore the role of humour in Bangladeshi memes. The purpose of this study is twofold: to explore the typology and frequency of humour in Bangladeshi Internet memes and to examine the application of humour among successful memes. This study engages a mixed methods approach, consisting of quantitative content analysis and thematic analysis. Through an analysis of 1,008 memes produced and shared among users in a famous Bangladeshi meme group on Facebook (Rantages Goatposting), I explore the application of humour in both successful and unsuccessful memes in Bangladeshi meme culture. Primary findings suggest that silliness is the most dominant type of humour in Bangladeshi meme culture, followed by sentimental humour, exaggeration, and sarcasm. Successful memes applied contextual humour with relatable references, balanced incongruity, mediated superiority, and positive sentiments. Unsuccessful memes failed to apply contextual humour with relatable references, used overly sophisticated or over-simplified humour, and produced forced or contrived forms of humour. This study is a preliminary contribution to the scholarship on Bangladeshi humour and Internet meme research.