Final thesis proposal

Veerle Verhey Jepson Honours Thesis Proposal

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Research methods

Research methods:

As I am still not entirely sure what data I will need to collect and what is already out there (and am also still not yet decided on what data/statistics I want to look at to compare for-profits and non-profits), I have for now made the assumption that I will need to collect all the data for non-profits. The data I need for for-profits is already available to me. In order for my analysis and comparison of the data to be as accurate as possible I will need to use the same methods used by those collecting the for-profits data. If it is not possible for me to use the same methods, I would either need to figure out an alternative method with which the data comparison is still valid, or collect all the data myself (which I would prefer to avoid).

Preferred method:

For the data and statistics I cannot find, and will thus need to collect, I will most likely be using surveys. I would be sending the surveys out via email, as this would be the easiest and most efficient way to gather as many responses as possible, and thus make the statistics that I derive from the data more accurate.

In order to look at what the data means in more detail, I would conduct interviews (either face-to-face or Skype). I would likely focus these interviews on the people in the areas where I want to focus on or where more detail is needed (so asking questions focussing on particular issues, or asking people fitting in particular categories, e.g. women, non-profits, or those in line positions).

To develop this method in more detail, I will discuss with Dr. Hoyt about her experiences with these research methods, and consult these sources: : about conducting interviews. Explains what different types of interviews there are, types of questions, how to word questions, and how to conduct the interview. : about conducting interviews. Discusses the preparation, the actual interview, what questions to ask/how to formulate them, and recording responses.

Surveys: Rossi, Peter H., James D. Wright, and Andy B. Anderson. Handbook of Survey Research. Elsevier Science, 2013. Print. : a book about conducting surveys. It is available at the Boatwright Library (call number: HN29 .H294 1983), so once I get back to UR I can access it there. However, ideally I’d like to start collecting the necessary data over the summer. The Boatwright Library website has some information on creating and conducting surveys for me to consult ( They suggest using Qualtrics (Qualtrics is a web-based tool for creating and administering surveys), for which they also have a support and training page ( Qualtrics University shows how to create and distribute surveys through short lessons on their website. I’ve starting going through some of their online lessons, but have not yet finished (the basics of Qualtrics takes around three hours to complete). I think it’ll be a very valuable source to use for collecting data.

Additional sources for future use:

  • As I will be interning for a non-profit led by a woman this summer, it would be helpful for me to see if it would be possible to conduct an interview with her about her experiences, and potentially use that as a starting point to collecting qualitative data. (Una McCauley, Representative UNICEF Sri Lanka)
  • If I do go on to collect data from non-profits, a good person to contact to get started might be my NGO Practice and Management professor. He has a lot of contacts who are head of NGOs throughout Europe and Latin America. (Gaston Fornes)
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Methods Plan

Emotional Self-Regulation and Its Social Consequences in Adult Leaders with ADHD



This study will involve up to 2,000 participants in this initial screening, and the full study will analyze data collected from up to 100 adults with ADHD and 100 comparison adults without ADHD. We will restrict the screening to U.S. adults to increase the likelihood that participants will be fluent in English, given that our measurement tools are in English. We will also restrict access to workers with at least a 95% satisfaction rating for prior work to increase the likelihood of obtaining valid data.


This study will use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to collect data from participants. The initial screening will have a brief evaluation to determine whether or not participants meet criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. Participants who are invited back will complete measurements for skills in emotional self-regulation, and hopefully we will find a valid way to measure the social consequences related to these skills. Specifically, we would like to see how emotional self-regulation can enhance or impair one’s leadership skills.


         Data on measurements of emotion regulation, social skills, and leadership abilities will be collected in a group of participants with ADHD and a comparable group without ADHD. Data will be analyzed using SPSS software. Once this research project is complete, I would like to review treatment methods that target the development of skills related to emotion regulation. I’m especially interested in examining the advantages and disadvantages to using medication for adult ADHD versus cognitive behavioral therapy. This might entail a second study using Mechanical Turk to collect data regarding participant’s perception of the benefits or challenges associated with treatment methods they have received in the past. I will need to read all the literature reviews I can find on PsycInfo regarding the success of various treatment methods, and I also hope to review opinion pieces found online to gather information regarding general perceptions of adults with ADHD as leaders.

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There’s a Plan?

The Viewpoints Book, by Anne Bogart

This book relates directly with how the primary script was developed and blocked.  Suzuki and Viewpoints is movement based research that can lead to a cohesive ensemble and dynamic spacial choices on stage.

This article is less of an article on research methods, and more of an article reminding me about Jeremy Morris who recently performed The Top of Bravery: An Evening with Bert Williams through the Quill Theatre.  It was a one man show written and performed by Jeremy Morris who has been involved with research in African American theatre – I tried looking for online interviews with him, but no luck.  However, he is someone who I could possibly contact in the future should I have questions about his research to performance process.

A jumping off point to explore the direct connections between neuroscience and theatre performance.

Research Plan:

I have so many angles that I am tackling in regards to this project that I think it will be quite easy to remain interested in it.  If I get bored while reading about historical perspectives, I can move to neurological ones.  Then, I can get distracted by viewpoints research, and then by historical, and so on.  I can foresee a problem if I don’t spend enough time stewing in one area that I never get past the shallow entrance-level information, so I have to remain aware of where I’m headed and where I am in regards to the goal.  For the “plan,” I’m not sure if I need to schedule out exactly when I’m going to work on each chapter? I think this summer, when I continue to do some readings, I will be able to solidify which sections need more/what type of focus.

Things to learn: Neuroscience (in order to draw direct connection between this and theatre performance/spacial relationships), medieval scottish and english history, tripartite soul/mind/esprite theories, affects of film adaptions, Noh theatre (The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan, by Ezra Pound)

People I want to speak to: Dr. Kaufman, Patricia Herrera’s contact in NY, a Neuroscientist (maybe after taking an online introductory course to neuroscience), Anne Bogart?, my group members from the past summer, Jess Flanigan, Walter Schoen (for shakespearean films),

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Methods Outline

My potential research question is still not narrowed down. I am working on trying to talk with Haley Harwell to discuss with her my ideas and have her suggest some as well. Currently my ideas involve studying / researching consumer psychology methods that marketers use specifically in the case of SeaWorld and the reaction to the documentary BlackFish. I know that I want to do a combination of methods for my thesis. I plan on using humanity literature review, and potentially both a survey and an experiment.

For the literature review component I have found a book called Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination by Chris Hart. I found this through Google Scholar. I would need to buy it but the preview sections that I was able to read were very helpful. It discusses questions to ask during a lit review, ways to go about it, and has a flow chart to show how typical lit reviews occur. I also enjoyed that it had tips about writing styles and introductions.

For the survey component I found another book through Google Scholar called The International Handbook of Survey Methodology by Edith D. de Leeuw, Joop Hox and Don Dillman. Again, I would need to buy it but it seems extremely useful. It has various sections on how to conduct a survey and even how to construct the questions within it. I think one of the best sections is how to test your survey questions. I plan on using this no matter my future question.

And finally for the experiment component I found Research Methods in Psychology on Google Scholar. I am excited about this particular book because it not only shows you how to do experiments and how to set them up but also other research methods I may not have thought of. It also speaks about the ethics of research methods and levels of measurement. One of my main issues will absolutely be coming up with a level or unit of measurement for my question.

For all of my methods I plan on using more than just one source, including Haley Harwell. I hope to narrow down my topic finally so that I can move forward with my actual method section and the rest of my thesis proposal.

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Methods/research outline

Preliminary research plan:

As of right now, I want to write a thesis of the contemporary evolution of social movements using race in the US as a lens. My research would begin around the time of the civil rights movement and contrast that type of organizing with the Black Lives Matter movement. To what extent is social media a replacement/compliment to face to face relationships? In essence, which is more ethical/effective: Organizing for a cause behind charismatic leaders, or using social media to introduce, promote, and sustain a movement? What are the costs & benefits of each?

  1. Humanities approach:
    1. Background info on social movement theory & the history of social movements à research
      1. Almost all of the articles that I have read thus far include background research on social movements. I would focus on the civil rights movement in particular. Dr. Williamson has already given me some books that could help.
      2. Dr. Von Rueden also gave me some sources related to coalitional psychology that I will definitely be able to tie in.
      3. Dr. Flanigan provided me with some articles that addressed the ethics & effectiveness of protest/organizing/resistance
    1. More research on the origins & intended purpose of BLM & Interviews with key players in BLM [if possible, using my own questions]
      1. Some existing interviews:
    2. Lit review/meta analysis of existing research on social media
      1. Many of the readings that I have done already address the impact that social media has on news, activism, and our perceptions of the world around us.
  1. Social science approach
    1. Social media/online outreach & surveys [MTurk Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit]
      1. how participants & bystanders view the movement
      2. Because my thesis will focus on the use of social media, it would make sense to conduct some of my research online. This paper took a behavioral, face-to-face task and converted it to an online test (MTurk Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit). They also recruited college and tested them in person, not via computer interface. The demographics of the three samples differed but the test results across the three samples were similar. The article concludes: for some behavioral tests, online recruitment and testing can be a valid—and sometimes even superior—partner to in-person data collection. Ultimately, “online participation is no greater a concern to data integrity than the other biases and demand characteristics researchers guard against in more standard methods of data collection.” For my thesis, it would be helpful to use platforms like MTurk and twitter to gather a more varied perspective on the BLM movement. This could include analytical research as well as surveys and questionaires.
      3. Source: Krista Casler, Lydia Bickel , and Elizabeth Hackett. Separate but equal? A comparison of participants and data gathered via Amazon’s MTurk, social media, and face-to-face behavioral testing . doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.05.009 <>
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Preliminary Research Plan

Preliminary Research Plan

1. Identify charismatic physical behaviors of Presidents as exhibited through video
a. Code for the frequency of charismatic gestures in Presidential video appearances

2. Identify language indicative of propaganda
a. Code for the frequency of propaganda language in Presidential video appearances

3. Contextualize presidential video to further solidify whether video is promotion or propaganda

I will likely use the following sources to help further develop my research methodology.

Krippendorff, Klaus. 2012. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. SAGE.

Jowett, Garth S., and Victoria O’Donnell. 2014. Propaganda & Persuasion. SAGE Publications.

“Content Analysis: Doing a Content Analysis.” 2016. Accessed April 5.

A further reading list will include:
Seeing Spots: A Functional Analysis of Presidential Television Advertisements, 1952 – 1996
William L. Benoir

Media, Structures, and Power: The Robert E. Babe Collection
Ed. Edward A. Comor

The Presidency in the Era of 24 – Hour News
Jeffrey Cohen

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Methods Development

This week’s research revealed a couple of methods that I can use for my research purposes. I looked for methods mostly in the social science aspects of my project and found a few applicable tools.

The first, by Kopp et al. (2011), looks into their own Academic Entitlement Questionnaire. As I am concerned with linking motivation and values with academic dishonesty, this survey seems like a potential tool for my methods. The survey looks to analyze five facets of Academic Entitlement: Knowledge is a Right [KR] that should involve minimal discomfort for the consumer, Others will Provide [OP] all necessary education, Problems in Learning [PL] are a cause of the teacher, course, or system rather than the student, Students should have Control [SC] over class policies, certain outcomes are Deserved because the student pays Tuition [DT].

The second is the Trice Academic Locus of Control Survey. This survey analyzes motivations behind coming to college as well as a student’s perception of their control over succeeding in academic and career settings. It is possible that students who are externally motivated are more likely to be academically dishonest. For those who have external loci of control, academic dishonesty may be the best way that they feel that they can combat the external pressure.

I could easily see me using these surveys to find out what honor means to people. I think that I would have to supplement either or both with my own survey designed to find out people’s exact perceptions of Honor Codes (likely after both of these surveys have been completed).


For a final source, I consulted Google Scholar to try to find support for Focus Groups. While they have the potential to be expensive (especially in fields like marketing), a focus group for my purposes might be a perfect way to gather intelligence on “best practices” for reducing cheating in academia. These insights would help to form my arguments in my final chapter which would take an ethical stance on academic integrity and they recommend practices to help improve it on college campuses. For my methods, I want to have a few focus groups of professors. I have to determine whether to do it cross-disciplinary or disciplinary-specific. Either way, questioning these professors on how they prevent, catch, and handle academic integrity could have really great implications on my research!

After researching these methods, I have grown very excited about collecting data. Of course, there is an up-and-coming IRB battle, but I look forward to it. The biggest challenge moving forward is identifying a way to find accurate self-reports of academic dishonesty so that I can potentially link it with perceived control and/or Academic Entitlement (AE).

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03/29 update

Meeting with Jess:

  • idea 1: leftist organizing
    • political philosophy of resistance and social change
    • ethics of activists and social change –> should egalitarian social movements have leaders when leadership is fundamentally in tension with their ideals? (ethics of hypocrisy)
    • is leadership inevitable?
  • idea 2: ethics of collective agency and mass politics
    • to what extend are leaderless groups accountable?
    • who is responsible for a riot?
    • without leadership, can a group have accountability to members or who they are fighting against?
    • who is responsible for a viral political movements
  • idea 3: legitimacy of leftist organizing/political movements
    • is it more ethical/effective to organize within the system that you are fighting?
    • does being too left make your cause less legit? or should you work outside of the system?
      • arab spring
    • which is more legitimate? Facebook organizing vs. political parties
  • Meeting with Thad
    • compare BLM and OWS?
    • background in social movement theory
    • why do people mobilize? how?
      • what are the reasons people do/do not participate?
      • how do leaders go about recruitment?
    • evolution of social movements –> modern techniques
      • social media: deployment of a low cost tool
      • allows to create community across spatial boundaries
      • easier interaction with ppl in power
      • more efficient spread information
      • communicate and organize quickly
    • what are some pivotal events & people in this arena?
      • could be best to look @ a particular movement in depth or compare two?
        • BLM, OWS, Moral Mondays? [William barber]
    • Leadership
      • identify how someone becomes a leader through social media —> what is the process
      • how do people behave once they reach that status
    • results: what actually changes?
      • how do you quantify or specify the movements/impact that these campaigns make
      • what are the different types of influence that a movement could have
      • difficult to point to a specific law that was changed because of it
        • maybe mention powerful people getting involved/supporting [pres debate]?
    • to what extent is social media a replacement/compliment to face to face relationships?
      • how does social media change rebellion/organization?
      • advantages/limitations of face to face vs. social media
    • sources:
      • many minds, one heart [Wesley C. Hogan]
      • Ella Baker and the black freedom movement
      • the rebellious life of rosa park
  • Meeting with Von Rueden:
    • said that I should decide what I want to know & formulate my question that way
    • has experience with egalitarian societies & differential influence
    • would want to test a hypothesis –> social science focus
    • all-lives-matter —> what drove that —> why the rxn/who is responsible
    • coalitional psychology
      •  how it impacts the groups we associate with
      • how media shapes coalitional identity
        • used to attract new coalition members and define boundaries [belief systems]
        • can be used to activate a coalition by pointing out an outrage
          • ways leadership and individuals use outrage to generate action
            • social media makes this instantaneous
      • is your network now your coalition?
        • ex: de-friending people that don’t agree with you
        • can get homogeneity
  • the black lives matter movement could help test these questions of coalitional psychology & social media
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Make-up post (March 1)

Annotated article


DeLuca, K. M., Lawson, S. and Sun, Y. (2012), Occupy Wall Street on the Public Screens of Social Media: The Many Framings of the Birth of a Protest Movement. Communication, Culture & Critique, 5: 483–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-9137.2012.01141.x



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