“People will go to great lengths to look for love” with Dr. Jennifer Bevan

October 18th, 2022

Tobie Atanacio, Crystal Bender, Kevin Duong, Julissa Villalobos, Marcos Zelada-Rodas

“Bevan, Jennifer L.” Jennifer L. Bevan — School of Communication | Chapman University,

We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jennifer L. Bevan regarding her article, “ ‘You’ve been on my mind ever since’: A content analysis of expressions of interpersonal attraction in’s Missed Connections posts”.

Dr. Bevan is a professor at Chapman University. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delaware and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Dr. Bevan’s research and courses are centered on interpersonal communication and health communication within close relationships. In addition, she was recognized in 2009 and 2015 as one of the most prolific and central scholars in the field of communication studies. Dr. Bevan has also received numerous awards, including the Valerie Scudder Award. Her first book, The Communication of Jealousy, was given the Diamond Anniversary Book Award and Gerald R. Miller Book Award by the NCA.

Throughout the course of our discussion, we were able to ask Dr. Bevan about the research methods and limitations of her study. Dr. Bevan also gave her professional insight on how we could best conduct our own research.

Read more…

  1. What made you interested in conducting a study on this topic?

Dr. Bevan stated that she’s always been interested in Missed Connections ever since she read about it in the past. She thought it was such a unique and weird way to try and reconnect with someone. It is somewhat simple and basic because you are posting something on Craigslist, but since it is also online it has the chance of linking with someone. She was interested in how attraction is depicted in these settings. 

  1. How did you arrive at this Research topic? Were there any related ideas that just didn’t pan out? 

Dr Bevan was very interested in the idea of how a website like Craigslist was able to connect so many different people together and the audience it would reach. Jennifer and her team of undergraduate students were pretty focused on what they were looking for, since they knew the Craigslist posts and users were not going to be that detailed. They felt pretty limited by who the individual person was seeking based on the information that they were given. In their study, they were able to get a lot of information for their research topic based on the gender and sexual orientation details the post provided, despite their limited information. There were still some limitations with gathering specific data because a few of the posts had very little data to collect. It was difficult for the people who were making the posts because they could only use words to describe the person they are trying to connect to without using any photos or videos. 

  1. What was the most shocking or interesting thing to come out of your research in your opinion? 

Throughout her research, some of the details and information she was collecting were very detailed and in-depth. People felt very passionate about who they were trying to find and connect to. It was quite sweet, but also sad reading about these posts because it was possible that they would never connect with the people they were trying to find. Also, she was quite shocked by how many men posted trying to find these connections. This made her ponder if this was an easier way for men to express themselves since their posts on Craigslist were anonymous. 

  1. What problems or limitations did you encounter the most while conducting research? 

Since the Craiglist’s posts were all so public and you really did not need to make an account or go through approval to review posts, it was quite difficult for Dr. Bevan to ask people further questions. It would have been interesting if they were able to directly contact the people who post to see if they were successful in finding the person they were looking for. Since Dr. Bevan is a survey researcher, it would have been helpful to individually ask follow up questions in the form of online surveys to gather more information to better support the research topic. 

  1. Do you foresee new methods of gathering data from individuals in the near future? 

Dr. Bevan explains that the internet has advanced significantly since 2015 and that her method of collecting data could be considered a bit outdated. There are several new databases and public forums online and the numbers will only increase in the future. Dr. Bevan believes that these new archives will make it much easier to gather data. 

  1. If we conducted a study on this topic, would you recommend us following your method of collecting data? 

If we were to have the same format of collecting data, Dr. Bevan recommends using her way of gathering her research topic if we were just looking at the posts. She did a pretty safe way of doing a quantitative content analysis of people. She does recommend we over sample and make sure to get an equal amount of heterosexual and homosexual posts in order to gain more insight of the population and to portray a more realistic representation. 

  1. If you could redo this study again, would you change anything?

Dr. Bevan said that she regrets not delving into same-sex attraction. Her content analysis only showed heterosexual relationships and heterosexual attraction. Dr. Bevan believes that it was a missed opportunity to not add in Missed Connection posts from people in the LGBTQIA+ demographic. 

  1. How did you prepare for your research study?

Dr. Bevan and her team had a vision of how they wanted the research study to look like beforehand. A few people from her group were set aside to do the research of the website and annotations of the study. Meanwhile, a few members of her team and her were learning the exact coding of the study while also preparing the research paper. 

  1. Is your study still relevant to any situation or website we have in today’s society? 

Dr. Bevan believes her study is still relevant in today’s society and that it is quite different from any other websites that we have today. Since users of Craiglists do not have to make an account, providing personal information, a lot of people are able to go anonymous without the worry of people trying to figure out who they are. A lot of online users would like to connect with others without the worry of being identified, which caters to a lot of p

Interview with Dr. Bey-Ling Sha on The Research Process

By Raquel Diaz, Natalie Urrutia, Stephanie Parra, and Sophia Bravo

As students attending CSUF, we got the chance to interview Dr. Bey-Ling Sha on the Research Process and specifically on her 2005 study on “Future professionals’ perceptions of work, life, and gender issues in public relations.” In this blog, we will discuss what we found and the incredible insight of Dr. Bey-Ling Sha.

Stephanie Parra:

I opened up by asking Dr. Bey-Ling Sha about her creation of media programs to enhance student and faculty diversity, alongside the idea of the “diversity pipeline” for US media professions, and if minority leaders are important when it comes to the diversity pipeline. She stated that “Each of us in our daily lives can behave in ways that influence other people. Leadership is defined as influencing other people. I do think that having people in leadership that represent different groups of people are important. If you can’t see it then you can’t be it, having someone of a minority group in a leadership position has the power to encourage people into the pipeline”. 

Next, I asked Dr. Bey-Ling Sha what she would say is the idea of someone’s “identity” and what drove her research and funneled new ideas when conducting research methods. She went on to say, “When you grow up as an immigrant child in the US you grow up with “American culture”. Thus, when you’re a child in a family of immigrants, oftentimes children partake in cultural interpretation for their parents, and have to explain language and “normal” American culture to their parents.

Then I decided to ask Dr. Bey-Ling Sha about her work in the U.S. Census Bureau. I asked how the experience of the census changing and letting people identify as more than one thing in their paperwork, established the connection between herself and her research on new generations of students being able to choose more than one identity. She said, “The 2000 Census was the first time people could identify under more than one group, and it was important for our country because we used to put people of various diversity into one box and when you give people the opportunity to pick more than one box, it gives them more to choose from that represents them. This showed that people belong to many different groups

Sophia Bravo:

“What finding in your research has shocked you the most?”

Professor Sha mentioned in our interview that she had quite a few things come up in the research that shocked her the most. She mentioned a stand out being that “after fourth to fifty years of research women in public relations women are still paid less.” This shocked her the most out of all of her notable research in all of her years, hoping that by now women would have more equality in both treatment and pay. She wishes that she could say that now women are looked at as equal to men in both the workforce and public relations, but infuriated her that unfortunately there has not been much growth in that area, and may even have taken some steps in going back in time. 

“What was the biggest obstacle you faced when completing this study?”

Issues that she had noticed with her survey was that students were not checking their emails so they didn’t know they were being emailed. Also, some of the students that were being reached out to had already graduated; therefore were not checking their old school email, and was just overall hard to get student engagement.

“What would you do differently if you had to do this research experiment again?”

What the professor found that she would do differently in an updated version of her survey was to make it more condensed, and easier for the students to complete it. In our interview, she mentioned that the original copy was too long for them to finish. Almost two decades had passed since she condu

Raquel Diaz:

I had initially asked Dr. Sha about the method they had used for the research considering it was a low response rate. She discussed how they went with an online questionnaire because of how little the response rate was it was still higher than it would have been if they had gone with the mail-in version of this study. She said that the factored-in costs of the mail and the amount of time it would have taken just were not realistic. To calculate it statistically email came on top for the easiest.

I also asked how she had collaborated with other people doing the study with her to formulate the questionnaire. She stated that the most important thing was to look back at past research to come up with the best-rounded study. This being in 2005 it was a bit hard for her to recall the specifics.

The conclusion of the study was that there should be more focus on work-life balance and how gender issues are critical in improving the field. I asked if she could elaborate more on this statement and if she believed it still holds up to this day. She says that what we are finding now is that PR has found its name eroded over time. She believes that to some degree these problems are still very prevalent and in some cases getting worse in 2022.

Natalie Urrutia:

I began by asking Dr. Sha why she wanted to conduct this study and if a specific incident made her want to do this survey. She discussed that she cared a lot about the future of the Public Relations field. She said that there was not a specific incident, but as an educator, she wanted to know more about how the minds of the future people working in Public Relations. She believes that having insight into these college students’ think would help her how to teach her prospective students.  

Furthermore, I asked her if there were any claims she made in her study that she would disagree with today in 2022. She expressed that she wished she could add more on gender fluidity. Instead of only having girl and boy options on the survey, she would add a third option for people who do not identify as girl or boy. Having the third option would give more data to analyze. 

To end the interview, I wanted to ask her for advice for students in the Public Relations field on managing work-life balance. She explained that this generation has a good grasp of work-life balance. Most students a CSUF are good at working and going to school and still managing to make time for their friends and family. She mentioned that people criticize First-generation students for not knowing particular stuff. Still, she acknowledged that many first-generation know more about managing their work-like compared to what she learned at 20 years old.

Overall, Dr. Bey-Ling Sha was very personable and made this experience 10x more comfortable than we had thought. She has a great understanding of the PR world and it was a pleasure discussing these topics with her. We appreciate her valuing the students here at CSUF and for giving us a bit of her knowledge to help us flourish in the communications industry.

Dr. Doug Swanson’s Perception of Mindfulness and Social Media

By Gelsey Anica, Mackenzie Koch, and Lesly Ramirez

Dr. Doug Swanson is an accredited public relations practitioner and Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. He came to public relations through journalism, working in radio, newspaper, and television. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Swanson began his career in public relations as a writer, strategist, and event planner. He credits his abilities in writing to his long history in journalism. After working in public relations at a firm, he then accepted his role as a public relations professor.

Read more: Dr. Doug Swanson’s Perception of Mindfulness and Social Media

Dr. Swanson was drawn to the topic of mindfulness because of prior research that had been done in other professions as well as the benefits it can bring to people in the workplace. He says mindfulness can “greatly help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace, and it can help people work together better.” Although it is studied and practiced in many other professions, such as the medical field, Dr. Swanson found that mindfulness is “rarely if ever, studied, discussed, or given any attention to in the communications disciplines”, even though it is a “very stressful field”. This discovery is what led him to study mindfulness in the field of communications, among both professionals and University students.

Dr. Swanson was drawn to the topic of mindfulness because of prior research that had been done in other professions as well as the benefits it can bring to people in the workplace. He says mindfulness can “greatly help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace, and it can help people work together better.” Although it is studied and practiced in many other professions, such as the medical field, Dr. Swanson found that mindfulness is “rarely if ever, studied, discussed, or given any attention to in the communications disciplines”, even though it is a “very stressful field”. This discovery is what led him to study mindfulness in the field of communications, among both professionals and University students.

Mindfulness Defined and Workplace Relevance Explained by PR Professionals and PR Students

Data by Doug Swanson

Dr. Swanson expresses the importance of taking things one at a time and being flexible when it comes to mindfulness in order to maintain a smooth running work environment. The importance of this is because the best way rational decisions are made is when things are taken calmly and thought through. Swanson greatly emphasizes the importance of students not getting completely wrapped up in the stress their classes may bring, and reminds them that they do have a life outside of school and it is perfectly okay to take a break from school responsibilities.

Furthermore, Swanson has seen exceptional benefits and advantages when mindfulness is incorporated into his own workplace and with his own students as well. Swanson has now created his own mindfulness class, COMM 466T, Mindfulness and Media in PR. This class has the object of teaching students how to practice mindfulness as communication professionals. Swanson shares the anxiety and stress that a workplace can bring and this class helps in learning how to stay productive yet maintain peace of mind. Consuming media also requires the skill of mindfulness. Swanson highlights how easy it is to get consumed and frightened by the news we read, especially today where news can be altered in so many ways on social media. His solution is not to turn a blind eye to the news and ignore what is going on in the world but instead learn how to absorb this information and not let it affect us negatively. After taking this class, Swanson notes that students found a way to destress and become mindful on their own, which will help them in the long run professionally.

Source: The Economist

According to Dr. Swanson, the goal of social media is to make money through advertisements, and content is made purposefully alluring to draw people in and keep them continuously hooked and scrolling. This is why consumers must stay mindful of what they are seeing and how often they are seeing it. Student and professional success can be put at risk if the consumer is not mindful of how much media they are consuming on a daily basis. Consumers should not be so involved in social media that their physical and virtual worlds blur and become one. 

“I am not going to be so plugged in that this becomes my reality. I have to unplug and not be consumed by this.” 

Dr. Doug Swanson

Dr. Swanson expresses that public relations professionals have a hard time disconnecting from work. Those who are working in public relations have to stay alert to what is happening on social media, but it is important to develop a boundary between consuming media for work and for themselves. They have to know when they should know that work is done and have to set it aside. It is finding the balance between work and personal life and when to say when browsing social media is enough. 

The goal of public relations is prediction and control. Not to mention the ambiguity that comes with public relations. That is why Dr. Swanson recommends practicing mindfulness when going into any communication job, as well as setting up healthy habits as a student so that they can take these techniques into their professional careers. 

An Interview With Dr. Jasmine Meertins

By Kiana Isenberg, Lilly Carrillo, and Lauren Smith

We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Jasmine Meertins, an assistant professor in the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton, about her most recent publication, Institutional Relational Maintenance Barriers and Perceptions of Relationship Quality Among Women With Incarcerated Partners (2022) and her experience conducting research in the field of intercultural communications. In addition, we discussed social media as a research tool, as well as the use of Tik Tok as a search engine

Prior to teaching, Dr. Meertins attended Yale University where she received her B.A. in political science and later graduated from George Washington University with an M.A. in international affairs. Realizing her passion lay in studying intercultural communications, she graduated from the University of Miami with a Ph.D. in communication and went on to develop a public health campaign to raise awareness of the HIV epidemic among youth in Santiago, Guatemala. Her research primarily focuses on health communication issues in underserved and minority communities in the U.S. and globally. She then became an assistant professor at Nevada State College where she taught numerous Public Relations courses. Dr. Meertins currently teaches Digital Foundations and upper-division level courses in Public Relations at Cal State Fullerton.

During our interview, we asked Dr. Meertins to elaborate on her study on relationships between women and their incarcerated partners and the research process. Her study used a quantitative research method to examine the relationship between several prison facilities and their impact on relationship quality from the perspective of a woman whose partner is incarcerated.

Read More…: An Interview With Dr. Jasmine Meertins

Can you walk us through the research process for your publication, Institutional Relational Maintenance Barriers and Perceptions of Relationship Quality Among Women With Incarcerated Partners, and the inspiration behind it for you and your colleagues?

In comparison to Dr. Meertins’ other studies, her publication Institutional Relational Maintenance Barriers and Perceptions of Relationship Quality Among Women With Incarcerated Partners was different in the way the data collection and research was done. Inspired by her personal background in law and communication and her colleague’s practice in criminal justice, they wanted to examine racial and ethnic differences between women and their incarcerated partners. For the study, she mentioned the data had already been collected and they did not have to design their own survey and ask questions to those affected by their incarcerated partners directly. It was common to have the data already presented to the researchers in the realm of criminal justice and it was a prevalent part of the research process. Dr. Meertins emphasized that research studies are similar, yet different in terms of the communications and criminal justice fields.

“It’s really important for the family structure for people [to] maintain romantic connections” – Dr. Jasmine Meertins

As for the process of the research, she explained that it was not conducted in the usual way for research. She described them doing the process as “backwards” since they already had the data retrieved from other sources. 

The first step was to analyze the data they obtained from their sources. From analyzing the data, they went on to determine what their research question would be and to study other data or research in that area of criminal justice and communications. After solidifying their research question, they moved on to their literature review. With their literature review, they gathered sources, data, and other publications to support their research question. Once their literature review developed, they came up with a theory or framework for their research. They named their theory the “Relational Maintenance Theory”, which is essentially the hypothesis for their research of incarcerated partners and their relationships with one another. From the data collected, they wrote about the barriers that affect the relationships of those with incarcerated partners, for example, phone calls and in-person visits. There were many methods to obtain the data that was collected, and from their own separate research, they concluded their results by using quantitative methods.

Source: LinkedIn

What problems or limitations did you run into conducting your research for this study?

Dr. Meertins shared there were several limitations her and her colleagues ran into while conducting their research. One difficulty was a lot of research is correlational, not causation which made it a challenge to prove anything during her study. An example she provided is the barrier of women not having money to visit their partners in prison and the effect being the relationship drifting apart. There is no way to prove one thing causes the other in this example, making it a correlation. Another issue was the lack of depth and answers. In her study, no interviews were conducted for Dr. Meertins to understand their feelings or answer the question, ‘why?’. The only information provided was numbered, which created a limitation for the study to include the thoughts and emotions behind the people involved. The final limitation mentioned was that the information used was old and collected over a decade ago, meaning things may have changed now.

Social media plays a prevalent role in today’s society, what are your thoughts on using social media as a research tool?

When asked if social media is a good research tool, Dr. Meertins responded, “Oh it’s really popular, that is what gets published nowadays”. The way she described it is for the first time in history, people have access to free data on social media to use and analyze for studies. From analyzing the engagement on applications to people’s responses to viral videos, Meertins described social media as a “gold mine” for studying users and their interactions with different applications. She mentioned a recent video she saw where six influencers were invited to the White House to meet President Biden and interview him. She noted an interesting study would be to analyze those six influencers’ followers and content before attending the White House versus their followers’ responses after posting their experience with the President at the White House.

Source: NoGood

When conducting a research study, do you prefer using a quantitative or qualitative method of analysis and why?

Dr. Meertins prefers conducting qualitative research studies in comparison to quantitative and other research methods. She liked qualitative methods more because she explained you can gain more information directly from people than just numbers. She really wanted to emphasize how to gain more traction in qualitative methods using different tools and outlets. She gave an example where her colleague wanted to create an app for young people to participate in clinical studies and to gain their insight directly through there. It would still be considered a qualitative method of research because she would gain direct communication on how they can influence young people to participate in a clinical trial through their application or website. It is important to note that Dr. Meertins enjoys the focus group portions of qualitative methods because she could engage with the participants and truly gain their insight instead of gaining insight through numbers and statistics. Meertins mentioned that she is not

What would your advice be for student researchers or beginners who are conducting their first research study?

Dr. Meertins’ advice for student researchers was to pick something that is interesting to you. She said, “If it’s interesting to you, don’t worry about if it’s interesting to anybody else, and don’t worry about if someone else has done it before”. She also advises not to worry too much about the research question because it will change as you continue to pull information. The way Dr. Meertins described it is to make the question ‘small’ and focus on one niche thing in the topic of your choosing.

Conversation with Dr. Miya Williams Fayne: Black Press’ role in the digital media

By Jillian Ferre, Susan Hernandez, and Lara Meneses

Dr. Miya Williams Fayne studies the Black Press in the new media age with an emphasis on entertainment and representation of Black Americans. Her respective publications give us an insight on the roles Black Americans have on the media and how she studies them. Dr. Williams Fayne has worked for Jet Magazine and Ebony Magazine, two Black Press publications, which have inspired her to focus on why entertainment content was at a rise. She was inspired to study how the traditional black press differed from the digital black press.

In the age of digital media, we’ve seen a shift in reeling in representation and voicing opinions that resonate to audiences, especially within minority groups.

We talked to Dr. Fayne about the dissertation she had done regarding advocacy in journalism and the digital migration of the Black press. Her two publications, Advocacy Journalism in the 21st century: Rethinking entertainment in digital Black press outlets and The Great Digital Migration: Exploring What Constitutes the Black Press Online, focus on how the Black press has changed in the digital age. She tackles the content of digital Black press outlets and how its created and catering to audiences.

The Digital Migration: Why is the black press so watered down?

We then discussed with Dr. Williams Fayne about another publication of hers titled The Great Digital Migration: Exploring what Constitutes the Black Press Online. One of the first things discussed regarding this article was how black press is often watered down because they are owned by white media companies. BIPOC representation in the media is crucial to creating a more diverse and inclusive community, but there is often a misunderstanding because the audience is unaware of the author or who is writing the article. When conducting interviews with journalists for this portion of her research project, Williams Fayne said that despite the journalists stating that they cared about who was writing the article, it was not going to change the fact if they read it or not. This was a particularly interesting piece of information to be received because it gives insight as to why people consume biased journalism since they are not fully aware of who is behind it and the intentions they may have. This ultimately influences how the message of the articles in the press are received. Understanding the author and their experiences while reading an article gives can give the reader a different perspective of the content within the article because they can read it through the author’s lens as opposed to just their own.  Often, owners of the media companies can control what gets written about, which is a concrete explanation as to why the black press is watered down so much. These white media company owners are influencing their journalists to write about some things but telling them not to write about others. The moral of the story is to consume content that representative and inclusive from an author and company that has good values that are reflected in their content.  

There is no doubt that media outlets can be more effective in making sure that there is more BIPOC representation. Nevertheless, many media companies are only representative of BIPOC for a monetary value. These companies can state that they are inclusive all they want, but if their internal values and structures push this narrative for a monetary benefit, it is counterproductive. Representation in the media and press are important but only if it is being done for the right reasons and truly wanting to make a change. A lot of the changes we are seeing now in the media to be more representative may not be long term because of the fact they are driven by monetary value. Dr. Williams Fayne advises that if we stop consuming content that is being representative for the wrong reasons, we will likely start to seem some permanent changes in these companies. Many people have yet to take this step, so rather than complaining and simply advocating for more representation, audiences should adjust their focus to prioritizing only consuming content that is diverse and inclusive for the proper reasons.

Matthew Guay | Unsplash 2016

Advocacy journalism: The blurred lines between hard advocacy and soft advocacy

Advocacy journalism, which includes hard and soft advocacy, is studied in Dr. Miya William Fayne’s publication Advocacy journalism in the 21st century: Rethinking entertainment in digital Black press outlets. As mainstream media has historically excluded African American stories, Dr. Williams Fayne interviews a variety of people and focus groups to study how they perceive advocacy journalism. For one, hard advocacy involves crime and political content like the coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement. While soft advocacy involves lifestyle or entertainment content. The Black Press distinguishes itself from mainstream media as they cater to Black Americans who are either excluded or negatively portrayed. Dr. Williams-Fayne discusses how the Black Press incorporates Thematic coverage by writing stories in many ways over a long period of time through in-depth interviews with activists, community members, and government officials who can offer different perspectives. However, this publication covers what consumers value as the most important type of advocacy. Dr. Williams Fayne held four focus groups with 30 participants based off region and age. She found that some believed that all the black press outlets covered and practice soft advocacy. Others believed that the Black Press should primarily focus on sociopolitical content as that’s how they defined advocacy journalism. These people had more traditional ideologies. Lastly, other groups valued soft advocacy more because it represented Black Americans in a positive matter through inclusivity. From a different standpoint, some journalists believed in the balance of entertainment and political coverage as it serves the black community through relevant information. Although entertainment content may be deemed more profitable, hard news should be prioritized. Concluding, the Black Press’ duty is to serve the Black community, as the advocates and consumers are both mispresented in the new age of digital media.

Black Americans are the most misrepresented group; therefore, Black Journalists turn to objectivity as personal bias is important when it comes to Advocacy journalism. Source: Pew Research Center. 2017

Research Methods

Dr. Fayne conducted her research through a series of interviews with Black press journalists. Essentially, she had done data collection for both research topics simultaneously. She found her participants through a snowball sampling, gathering contact information through word of mouth and connecting to other people through the people she had interviewed. In Advocacy Journalism in the 21st century: Rethinking entertainment in digital Black press outlet, she conducted four focus groups with a total of 30 participants. The participants consisted of journalists and consumers of the Black press.

“…I felt like the readers matter on this perspective. I really wanted to include readers in my research because I thought I wasn’t going to get from the journalists.”

– Dr. Fayne

Two groups were based in Los Angeles and Two groups based in Chicago. She focused her research in LA and Chicago to avoid any bias in her research. She separated these groups by age

In The Great Digital Migration: Exploring What Constitutes the Black Press Online, Dr. Fayne utilized the same 30 participants. She focused on hearing from other journalists to hear their perspectives on exploring the Black press within digital media. She interviewed several journalists who came from different regions and publications. She reached out to many journalists from a variety of black media publications. Dr. Fayne asked them questions focusing on what defines the Black press.

Advice from Dr. Williams-Fayne

Dr. Williams-Fayne was kind enough to offer some advice to new researchers as they start their journey and may not know where to begin. Researching can be somewhat intimidating but knowing these tips may make it much easier to navigate a research project in its beginning stages. One of the pieces of advice she emphasized was to the importance of starting early and always allocating for more time than necessary during the data collection portion of the project. Additionally, networking is a huge part of research than can be difficult to navigate as a new researcher. Dr. Williams-Fayne stated that finding any way to connect with those you are interviewing or surveying, such as being alumni from the same groups or having a mutual connection. This increases the chance of getting a valuable response or any response at all.

A clip of the interview with Dr. Fayne. She speaks about her research process and advice to future researchers.

A Conversation with Dr. Jess Vega-Centano

By Katelyn Meinershagen, Andrew Goh, Maiquel Gutierrez, Veena Sahithi Mokkapati


California State University, Fullerton’s own professor Dr. Jess Vega-Centano allowed us to interview her on her dissertation “Turning up the Volume: on Racial Silence: A critical examination of consumption practices of Puerto Rican women Post-Hurricane Maria”.  Dr. Vega pursued a Bachelor’s in Psychology before achieving her PhD at University of Texas in Austin.  She has extensive experience in the field of advertisement and communication through both working at agencies and teaching at different universities including CSUF.  As a Puerto Rican woman herself, she sought to take this project with extreme care and passion as it was personal.  The focus of our interview was to dissect her dissertation thoroughly.  We accomplished this through gathering background information, discussing the different research methods, and analyzing the data provided by both the interviewee and the paper.

Read More: A Conversation with Dr. Jess Vega-Centano

In “Turning up the Volume: on Racial Silence: A critical examination of consumption practices of Puerto Rican women Post-Hurricane Maria”, Dr. Vega’s research focuses primarily on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a natural disaster which fatally impacted Puerto Rico and other islands native to the northeastern Caribbean in the fall of 2017. Dr. Vega, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was at home watching and reading the national news coverage of the natural disaster when she noticed a variety of publications reporting on the niche and personal topic of how native Puerto Rican women on the island were styling their hair and embracing its natural texture. 

Prior to observing the news coverage centered around how Puerto Rican women were styling their hair, Dr. Vega reveals that she had no real previous interest in the beauty industry. As a Puerto Rican woman Dr. Vega has had first hand experience styling and caring for her own hair. Dr. Vega mentions that she has embraced a range of styles and shares that she prefers her hair when it is in its naturally curly state, “my hair became a symbol of my ethnicity and I wear it as such”.

Although hair was an influential factor, Vega also wanted to use her research to focus on two groups she felt like aren’t typically included in research: women and those of Puerto Rican descent. Dr. Vega expresses that Latinx representation in research is typically centered around Mexicans or immigration, neither of which fully represent the range of the community. As she began preparing for her research she realized that the national conversations being held about how the women were doing their hair post-hurricane Maria was laying the groundwork for a much larger conversation centering around race.

In her research, Dr. Vega constantly references how the ways in which consumerism is linked to race and during our time speaking with Vega she expressed first hand the difficulty she experiences trying to find hair care products and ingredients to cook traditional Puerto Rican, even in a place as diverse as Orange County, California. She often resorts to ordering these items online, but she also recognizes the lack of inaccessibility women who don’t have the same resources and who may have just immigrated to the United States have in trying to acquire these items that would make them feel at home. In her paper, Dr. Vega references the Critical race theory which expresses how laws, social/political movements and the media help shape the perception of different races and the ways in which every race consumes. Dr. Vega decided early on that the theory was one she would use in order to conduct research and interview her participants. 

Dr. Vega stated she has always loved talking to people and realized that after Hurricane Maria, she realized that she loved talking to Puerto Rican women about their hair. Using purposive sampling, Dr. Vega began her search in order to find participants willing to be interviewed. She specifically searched for women that were forced to leave the island and had in depth interviews with them. Dr. Vega managed to secure interviews with 18 different women. All interviews ranged from 60-90 minutes and all participants were between the ages of 19-56.

Dr. Vega used the snowballing research method the most when interviewing her participants. A majority of the time, women would just self-disclose all their stories, struggles and personal experiences to her. It was almost as if they were just having a normal conversation about their lives and hair. Dr. Vega described women disclosing their personal stories as “diarrhea of the mouth.”, meaning that many of these women just wanted to share their personal experiences and tell her everything. During her research process, she learned a lot about these women which made her research process extremely easy.

Lastly, Dr. Vega also stated that at times during the interviews, the language barrier was a bit of a problem, but both Dr. Vega and all of the participants were still able to communicate with one another. Vega is bilingual but speaks mostly English, her level of Spanish isn’t as advanced as her participants. Most of her participants knew a little English but a majority of them were more comfortable with speaking in Spanish.


Based on the results and the data collected from the interview with Dr. Vega, we discovered that there was a connection between racial features of Puerto Rican women and their lives in the United States. Interviewing and collecting data also gave us insight on knowing more about issues going on in this world especially when it comes to the negative impacts diversity had on these women. The fact that other Hispanic people besides Mexicans should be included is very important in the advertising and public relations industries in order to be more inclusive. For example, whenever someone refers to the Latinx community, the country Mexico would immediately come to mind, but what about the other Latinx native countries? Dr. Vega feels like she can add a unique perspective since there aren’t many women of color working in the field, another reason why she wanted to conduct research on this topic.   

Puerto Rican women have specific curly and dark hair, which gave racial and prejudice issues during the acculturation process. Culture and immigration play key factors in improving diversity amongst jobs and opportunities. Unfortunately however, racism still exists. Dr. Vega discusses that the problems these women encountered will most likely continue for years and hopes for a future where race plays little to no role in the path of one’s success. In our interview, Dr. Vega shared that one thing she found shocking through the interview process was the consensus of facing discrimination in public.

“My hair became a symbol of my ethnicity and I wear it as such.”

In Conclusion, Dr. Vega has demonstrated immense passion for this research project regarding Puerto Rican women and their struggles with the acculturation process.  Through her usage of qualitative research she was able to have down-to-earth conversations with her interviewees in order to gain as much data as possible.  Usage of purposive and snowball sampling also aided in grabbing a larger audience to get more concise research data.  Key topics rose up from her research and they became a focal point in her study such as curly hair, gender, and critical race theory. Dr. Vega believes that issues regarding race have profound historical context and the issues from her research will take a long time to fix.  The image discussed in the dissertation that others have of Puerto Ricans continues and will continue to have a negative connotation for a long time to come, but maybe one day race will no longer play such a heavy role in perception. Overall, we thank Dr. Vega for her time, allowing us to interview her and giving us amazing insight on the topic.

Featured above is a short highlight video from our virtual interview with Dr. Vega.

Motivations For Participating in Fantasy Sports – An Interview with Professor Meeds

By Andi Woods, Nathyn Scruggs, Adilene Bravo, Ronald Chy


We interviewed Professor Meeds about his involvement in this study and his motivations for participating in fantasy sports. This study was conducted by Lee Farquhar, assisted by Robert Meeds. Farquhar created this study for his master’s thesis at Kansas State, where Meeds was an advisor helping him. The study was conducted in 2007 and involved a unique methodology (Q Methodology) that not many social sciences would use.

ESPN Fantasy Sports Betting in 2022

Farquhar was interested in fantasy sports then, as they became increasingly popular throughout the years. Fantasy sports is a game where people would create mock drafts of NFL or MLB teams and bet on whether or not their team wins or loses. It gained a lot of followers as it was fairly new in terms of its popularity, and it was also a way people could connect with other sports fans. Fantasy sports is a user-driven form of entertainment that includes a small gathering between friends or family. This study will explore people’s motivations for participating in fantasy sports.

Interview Questions

What was your motivation behind doing this research and what question were you trying to answer?

I will speak for Lee because this was his baby, but this was a very doable study for a Master’s student who didn’t have research funding and so it was the kind of thing you could do with a reasonably small sample of people who were participating in the research. It was something that he was really kind of interested in, so it hit both of those criteria.

What was your methodology and why did you choose to apply it to this research?

One of the practical reasons was that it was a methodology that did not require the kind of sampling that you would get from a normal survey. From a normal survey, to be able to have reasonable sampling error within your responses, you’re usually talking about at least 300 people that you need to participate. With Q-methodology, you’re talking about a much smaller sample. It was the practical reason, but it was also a good fit for what he wanted to find out. We wanted to find out more about people’s motivations for participating in fantasy sports and this research is something that Q-methodology is really good at. 

Example of Q-methodology scale

Basically, you can vary people, times, or occasions. So with Q-methodology, you’re trying to make generalizations about types of people. You have to flip your brain 90° in terms of what you’re trying to make generalizations about. The purpose of Q-Methodology is to try to understand people’s motivations and group them into types of people. Q-methodology is a generalization about people and about variables.

And with factor analysis in our methodology, it seemed like we were asking the same question in 20 different ways. We ask a lot of questions that kind of sound similar, but they’re getting a slightly different aspect of an attitude Then, what we did is take that data and we threw the whole thing into a hopper in SPSS, and it simultaneously calculated the correlations among all those variables. When it was done it spit out groups that went together. Then you take Q-methodology and flip the data matrix, what we’re doing factor analyzing people. It will produce a factor analysis of people and it will tell us what people go through in certain factors based on their responses to the questions. And so people get sorted and the factors and then the researcher’s job is to identify the factors and try to interpret them. 

The study noted that members of the F5 group were still inexperienced. Which group do you think a majority of them would most likely join when they become more experienced?

I think that it would be very interesting to see which group these inexperienced people would join later in life if they do even change groups. I think it is very possible for these people to change to one of the other groups.

How different is it applying Q methodology compared to your other studies?

One study was early in my career, and that was a Q methodology study about advertising students and their opinions about advertising and why they were studying advertising. The other study involved a graduate student, and I can’t even remember the topic of this one. It was not a well-conducted study, and we didn’t get a publication out of it. Those two are the only ones that would have been the correct methods to use Q-methodology, and it depends if it is appropriate for answering the question, research question that you have. We were interested in understanding ain students chose to advertise or what the typologies of the students were, and Q methodology was good for that. Most of my other advertising research. Q would not be an appropriate methodology because I’m doing a lot of linguistic research in advertising. I’m trying to figure out how different ways that I might phrase different ways that I might construct a sentence, how that would actually impact the reader’s attitudes about it, and Q-methodology wouldn’t be, would not be very useful at all for that.

If you could conduct this study again, is there anything you would do differently? 

I think this would be an interesting study to replicate since it was done multiple years ago. The study was tidy and no major errors were made, but I think it would be a really interesting one to replicate if Lee ever wanted to do it again, and see those types of people and motivations compare in the past and present.

What factor surprised you about this whole experiment?

As I’m looking back through it, I haven’t thought about this study much for several years, but I’ve probably found the isolationists and thrill seekers kind of surprised me a little bit. People that liked doing it but didn’t really like the interaction as other people and were just about the results was surprising to me.

What was the most interesting or favorite part of your research?

There were a couple things that were really pretty interesting. One is this was a study that the people who participated in it. They just really enjoyed it. You know, they were like, this is kind of cool, to be asked about your opinion about fantasy sports. The other thing that’s always interesting to me about a Q study is applying it to the experiment, and seeing how different it is from the other methodologies.


Here is our full interview with Dr. Robert Meeds:

Interview with Dr. Yongick Jeong about Privacy Concerns on Social Media

by Cristian Flores, Margaret Babia, Reinhard Siedenburg

Dr. Yongick Jeong is a professor at Louisiana State University who specializes in advertising, news and entertainment media, and measuring advertising effectiveness. Having published several research papers and presentations for almost a decade now, Jeong is an established advertising scholar. His research covers a wide range of topics from measuring advertising effectiveness, digital and social media, health and environmental communication, to international communication.

On October 18, 2022, we had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Jeong for an interview on Zoom to ask him questions about his 2016 research study: Privacy Concerns On Social Networking Sites: Interplay Among Posting Types, Content, and Audiences. From our interview, we were able to gain a more solid comprehension of the way privacy concerns relating to social media are influenced by the different audiences found on each platform. Additionally, we were given valuable advice relating to the logistics of conducting our own research study.

Dr. Yongick Jeong is actually an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton, having received his M.A. in Communications with a concentration in Internet Advertising in 2003. Being able to connect with Dr. Jeong through our educational backgrounds was a great experience, and we had a wonderful time getting to know his friendly and supportive personality. As beginner researchers, we greatly appreciated this opportunity to learn and expand our knowledge with Dr.Jeong.


What motivated your study?

At that time, social media was important already and many people were using social media platforms, but back then – not many people really knew about the privacy aspect of social media. In 2016, it was the beginning or earlier stages of social media and social networking sites, and we wanted to know what people were worried about regarding those social platforms. For the study, we used the uses & gratification theory (UGT) to understand why & how people actively seek out different media in order to satisfy their specific needs. We were looking to discover the different purposes or motivations there are behind people using social media and we wanted to see the relationship between those different motivations and privacy concerns.

What were some challenges and difficulties with your study, that you would say to keep a look out for? In terms of conducting the survey and getting the participants.

During the study, we experienced an external validity issue because our target for the study were college students. Even though college students are primary users of social media sites, they may be different from others in the general population who also use social media such as people are 30yr-40yr olds. That was the biggest limitation of the study.

What methods did you debate between using, and why did you end up going with an online survey? Were there any limitations in regard to other methods?

The deciding factor for your research method will be the research questions you come up with for your study. For us, an online survey was chosen specifically because it was the best fit for our research question regarding social media.

Why were Twitter and Facebook the chosen SNS’s for the study v.s. Instagram and Snapchat?

At the time of the study, Facebook and Twitter were the two most popular social networking sites. They had the largest user base, so we centered the study around these platforms as opposed to Snapchat and Instagram which had not reached the popularity they have now. Even today, Facebook and Twitter are very popular platforms among the general population.

If the study took place this year with the development of SNS’s like Tik Tok becoming massive in popularity, how do you anticipate the results of the study would change? Would they change?

It is important that you know the reason why people use those social media networks specifically. At the time of the study, we knew people used Facebook for everything – even for commercial purposes. In contrast, Twitter had a very different purpose and it was being used for microblogging on an even smaller scale. If the study were to take place today, the research question would need to be modified and the variables would need to be changed depending on the social media networking sites you choose to conduct the study on. In order to decide on what needs to be modified, understanding what demographics primarily use social networks like Tik Tok and for what purpose will be key. Logistically, it will be essential to decide what social media network is popular right now so that you can find enough users for the study.

What are some methods you used in your study to reduce response bias? 

Actually, the survey we conducted was given as an extra-credit opportunity for our undergrad students. Research bias was pretty hard to detect in the study. Additionally, we did not include any checkpoints in the study that would check if participants were paying attention while they were taking the survey. If we were to give an example, during the survey we would have given a random question to participants where they would have to read the prompt thoroughly to find which random answer is the correct answer. If they answered that question incorrectly, then we would filter out their response. If the right answer is not chosen, then it is clear the respondents are not paying attention and the response can be eliminated.

In the discussion section of the article, you mentioned a potential limitation of your study was the skewed sample size of the study. Because a majority of participants were women, there was no balance of gender. How do you anticipate the results might change if the sample size was more balanced by gender?

In that instance, you would go with stratified sampling. If you conduct research with a general population of college students, you would need to get an accurate percentage of how many seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen there are. From the proportional distribution, you are able to get your sample. The best case scenario would be that you know what percentage of Facebook users fall under each gender and category. After, you should be able to gather data that will represent the general population accurately, despite most participants being college students.

Being based around posts on social media, what is your opinion on gathering data over the span of 3 different social media platforms (Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram) v.s. just one platform?

Keep in mind, each social networking site is very different categorically. It is important to ensure that the networking sites you choose to focus on in the study are relevant to the research questions and will provide valuable insight for research. The complication with focusing a study around more than 2 social networking sites is the volume of questions that would need to be covered in the study. For a study of that scale, it would be difficult to have participants actively engage throughout the study without compensation.

Disney, a “colossal titan” in world entertainment

By Vanessa Rodriguez, Sophia Lozano, Sophia Good, Janete Por Amacosta

Dr. Andi Stein

Through the rise of their popularity with people, the Walt Disney Company leads in victory in the entertainment industry by building a line of storytelling. Their storytelling has created a gateway to a huge part of people’s lives by implanting their characters everywhere from movies to action figures to theme park rides. Having this impact can shape everyone since childhood to grow from loving the characters to potentially wanting to be part of the fantasy land that Disney has created.

To begin, we as scholars were interested in learning about the marketing aspect in entertainment and tourism, specifically what amusement parks like Disney offer to their patrons to be a successful brand. This “colossal titan” has led to an example of how to become successful in marketing for tourism attractions. Leading expert professor from Cal State Fullerton, Dr. Andi Stein, provides insightful information on Disney’s marketing strategy. Dr. Stein teaches in the Department of Communications and has conducted much research in the Walt Disney Company. Her book “Attracting Attention: Promotion and Marketing for Tourism Attractions” best reflected the authenticity of marketing as a whole. As Stein described, the book examines all the different ways companies in the attractions industry can promote and market to the public using traditional media and social media. Doing things like having events, developing marketing materials, and promotional brochures help in drawing people to their attractions.

A look inside “Attracting Attention”…

Promotion and marketing are essential components of attraction management. They serve as a means of telling an attraction’s story through words, images, and events. One bit of key information that stood out was the use of the Communication mix, a chart that highlights the categories in promotion. It includes the following: public relations, advertising, marketing, sales promotion/merchandising, social media, and special events. Although the landscape for public relations has changed in recent years, much of traditional media is still of use for highlighting what attractions provide. Within the new digital age of technology, advertising has also come a long way. It offers new techniques and methods for creating better ads. Sales promotion and merchandising rely on special incentives, gimmicks, and other techniques to encourage sales. It falls under the umbrella of sales promotion and services to rack sales up through online and in-person shopping. Social media perpetuates the need to “be in the loop” when these promotions and sales go up. It draws the attention of differing audiences with the goal to get their hands on the newest releases. Special events are another means of bringing attention to an attraction. It allow patrons to experience the hype firsthand. When enough people talk about it, the event can bring about entertainment, leisure, and fun.

Just how did Dr. Stein go about conducting her research in the study?

Her research consisted of talking to other scholars in the entertainment and tourism industry. Stein read many academic sources, including newspapers, magazines, and scholarly articles about what was going on regarding companies and their success.

How is Disney able to sustain itself as a colossal in all aspects of entertainment, tourism, and media?

According to Dr. Stein, the Disney company is consistently successful because they understand the steps of successful marketing. First, the team at Disney constructs great ideas and researches them extensively to ensure it has yet to be executed. Then they produce these ideas into products and know how to market them successfully to their target audience. Disney has administered the ability to tell a heartfelt story about likable characters. “They are masters at taking those characters and building empires around them. They build theme park rides, movies, and merchandise.” Disney has mastered synergy; its characters can be found in its parks, on its streaming service, in TV ads, in merchandise stores, and on their social media platforms. Everything they produce connects, keeping their ideas and products in the limelight of people’s minds.

What are setbacks in the theme park industry?

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a significant misfortune loss of revenue to all companies in the entertainment and tourism industry. Dr. Stein stated, “We are now seeing how a lot of these companies are trying to fight their way out of the chaos the pandemic caused. Theme parks have bounced back pretty well; the cruise industry is still struggling, and hotel and restaurant industries are struggling because they do not have the staff they used to have”. Currently, our economy is in a high state of inflation. As a result, Disney raised the prices of theme park admission, parking, merchandise, and food at the parks. Yet, Disney parks are more packed than before pre-pandemic. Stein explained that Disney has ‘magic’ that draws people to them. Interacting with Disney puts their target audience in a fantasy. “Their theme parks create an escape environment. Same as watching a film or attending a Disney cruise line; everything is about fantasy. It makes us feel good consuming and experiencing their brand,” Dr. Stein mentions. Disney owes its extraordinary success to its ability to provide escapism to its target audience, who will pay any price to endure the brand.

Post-Pandemic Theme Park Recovery

When speaking to Stein regarding the effects of the pandemic on tourism, in anticipation of their reopening, Stein believes the closures did more damage from a financial standpoint. These parks have found other ways to compensate for these losses. “Now that the parks are open, people are coming back in droves… some parks have more people than they know what to do with,” said Stein. Since these reopenings, we have seen prices spike for admissions and the cost of food. “We are all paying the price for these companies trying to recover their losses,” said Stein. Despite these changes, Stein still frequents Disney parks but has noted an increase in parkgoers compared to pre-pandemic attendance.

Disney’s marketing tactic is proven to be successful because they understand what consumers want. Through the thick and thin, Walt Disney company has continued to grow during the pandemic. Traditional media, social media, and theme parks have reached many as young as five-years-old to love Disney. Disney’s ability to tell stories through characters is what made them so successful and what sets them apart from the rest of the competition.