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Murrow Science Communication Research Group The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Current Projects

  • Message Tailoring and Climate change. Murrow Faculty: Graham Dixon
    • Project description: This project intends to examine the effects of different message factors on climate change beliefs and willingness to take action to address action. Specifically, the project intends to examine whether combining information about scientific consensus and proposed solutions will create more effective messages then when these elements are separate from each other. The study also intends to examine whether tailoring these message for specific individual factors further increases the effectiveness of these messages.
  • Clarks Creek Watershed Sediment and Pollutants Clean Up Project. Murrow Faculty: Jeff Peterson
    • Project Description: This project addresses water issues in a local watershed area. Education and outreach will be provided to increase citizen knowledge of impacts humans have on water quality. Source of funding: State of Washington Department of Ecology ($169,730).
  • Substance Use and Mental Health Collaborative for Rural American Indian Adolescents. Murrow Faculty: Jeff Peterson
    • This project seeks to apply a community-based participatory research approach to form a Substance Use and Mental Health Collaborative for rural American Indian Adolescents. Source of Funding: NIH/NIMHD Community based participatory research (CBPR) (R24).
  • Climate Change and Terror Management Theory: Murrow Faculty: Jay Hmielowski
    • Project intends to examine whether thinking about climate change raises mortality salience. Moreover, the study plans to examine whether triggering mortality salience affects people’s beliefs and information seeking behaviors regarding climate change.
  • Water in the West: Examining News Media and the Framing of Water Issues.  Murrow Faculty: Amanda Boyd
    • This project intends to examine the framing of water issues in the Western United States.  It is a collaboration between researchers at Utah State University (Courtney Flint) and University of Idaho (Travis Paveglio).
  • Social Dynamics of Water Quality. Murrow Faculty: Jay Hmielowski
    • This study has two major goals. The first goal is to develop a comprehensive literature review of the cognitive, social, and situational variables (e.g., knowledge, perceived severity, injunctive norms) to understand people’s attitudes toward various water contaminants. The second goal will be to take this literature review and develop a survey that will be distributed in 10 cities (two in each of the five major geographic regions) across the US. The survey will examine the relationships between cognitive, social, and situational variables and people’s attitudes toward different types of contaminants (e.g., heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and zinc; synthetic toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls; and nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen). The project will also look at whether these relationships vary by location.
  • Garbology at WSU: Influences of a Common Reading Program on Transformative Learning and Environmental Perspectives.  Murrow Faculty: Amanda Boyd
    • The purpose of this research is to better understand if a common reading program can foster transformative learning, impact environmental values and is an effective tool for public engagement. This is project is co-lead with Emily Huddart Kennedy (Dept. of Sociology) at Washington State University.
  • Impacts of Focusing Events on Energy System Development and Community Perspectives. Murrow Faculty: Amanda Boyd
    • Negative ‘focusing events’ have been shown to impact energy development.  This project uses the case study of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to examine if the allegations of a CO2 leak at a storage site impacted community perspectives and ultimately the implementation of CCS projects in two different locations.
  • Canadian Perspectives of Carbon Capture and Storage.  Murrow Faculty: Amanda Boyd & Jay Hmielowski
    • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been proposed as a tool to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from large source point emitters and therefore contribute to climate change mitigation.  An important aspect in the implementation of this technology is public acceptance.  A survey was administered to a representative sample of Canadians (n=1,479) to better understand factors contributing to support or opposition of this technology.  This project is a collaboration between Murrow faculty and Edna Einsiedel (University of Calgary).
  • Climate Change and Energy Systems: Exploring Environmental Values and Perspectives. Murrow Faculty: Amanda Boyd & Jay Hmielowski
    • This project seeks to understand the factors that impact perspectives of climate change and energy systems such as nuclear, natural gas, and biomass. Currently analysis is being conducted from this dataset.  The project is led by Edna Einsiedel at the University of Calgary.
  • Overcoming scientific misinformation by communicating “weight of evidence”. Murrow Faculty: Graham Dixon
    • This project examines the ways of communicating controversial science and health issues in equitable and accurate ways. Theoretically, we explore the role of heuristic processing and news framing on people’s scientific perceptions. We also pay close attention to the moderating influence of people’s prior scientific views. The outcome of this project is three-fold: (1) improved understanding of news media’s effects on scientific misinformation, (2) identified boundary conditions under which message effects occur, and (3) development of theory-informed message strategies for improved communication practices in the journalism and public health fields. External collaborators include: Christopher Clarke (George Mason University), Brooke Weberling (University of South Carolina), and Avery Holton (University of Utah)