Research

Putting the focus on media research

Whether our faculty and students are conducting a study, writing a book or producing a film, they’re adding to a rich tradition of groundbreaking research that extends over 100 years.

Student research opportunities

We foster a collaborative research atmosphere, making it possible for students at every level to get involved.

You might find yourself conducting interviews, observing test subjects, performing content and textual analysis, conducting experiments and surveys, or utilizing legal and historical methods.

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IU's communication program ranks among the top 10 worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, a study based largely on faculty research.

Research centers and institutes

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Our school is home to a number of research centers and archival collections that help facilitate cross-discipline endeavors and in-depth exploration.

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Faculty research spotlight

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Weaver speaks: “I'm doing research on several aspects of media psychology at the moment, but one set of studies that are especially exciting to me is the research that my students and I are doing on human morality. I've always been interested in trying to understand what motivates people and how we make decisions, and moral judgments and behaviors are a big part of that. This is a really interesting time for the field in developing our understanding of just how morals work. There are new theories of moral psychology that have emerged to explain morality, but there's still so much that we don't know. For example, how and when do our morals change? Can you shift another person's moral compass? These are core questions for us right now, and we found that video games are a wonderful space in which to study these things. Morality is often based on emotion, and the old paper and pencil tests with moral dilemmas didn't do a very good job of capturing that emotion, but with video games people get immersed. They care about the characters, they feel the weight of their decisions, it's meaningful to them. So, right now, we're doing a set of studies where we look at moral judgments and decisions in games, and we tweak various aspects of the experience to see just how malleable our morals might actually be. In a couple of these studies, for example, we've manipulated the narrative arc of the game, and we found that this influenced participants decisions not only within the game, but after the game play was over as well. Now we're manipulating players' emotional state to see how that affects their behavior as they move through the game world, and eventually we hope to get to a place where we have evidence that speaks to the relative influence of both cognition and emotion on  moral decisions, which would have a whole host of both theoretical and practical implications for how we think about morality.”

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Faculty bookshelf

"The Birth of a Nation: The Cinematic Past in the Present," edited by professor Michael Martin, explores the lasting impact of the controversial film, "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). (IU Press, 2019)
William S. Burroughs: Cutting Up the Century,” co-edited by associate professor Joan Hawkins, is a hybrid of scholarly work and never-before-published original pieces by Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs. (IU Press, 2019)
"Power Button" by assistant professor Rachel Plotnick investigates the origins of today’s push-button society and the emphasis on command from a distance. (MIT Press, 2018)
"Multimedia Sports Journalism: A Practitioner's Guide for the Digital Age," co-authored by associate professor Galen Clavio, is an entry-level textbook for sports journalism students. It covers writing, social media, public relations, television, radio, video production, photojournalism and show production. (Oxford University Press, 2018)
"Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach" by professor of practice Mike Sellers is a textbook that applies systems thinking to game design. (Addison-Wesley, 2017)
"The American Journalist in the Digital Age: A Half-Century Perspective," by professors emeriti David Weaver and Cleve Wilhoit, and Lars Willnat of Syracuse University, is the latest in a multi-decade series of studies by IU Media School researchers. It finds that U.S. journalists, although their numbers are dwindling, appear to believe in their watchdog role as strongly as ever. (Peter Lang Inc., 2017)
"Goodwill Goldmine: The JET Program and the U.S.-Japan Relationship" by associate professor Emily Metzgar examines the public diplomacy benefits of the Japan English and Teaching Program. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)
"Minitel: Welcome to the Internet" by assistant professor Julien Mailland and Kevin Driscoll of the University of Virginia describes the rise of Minitel, a French government-run computer network available to every telephone subscriber via a free terminal during the 1980s. (MIT Press, 2017)
"Wildcat Currency: How the Virtual Money Revolution is Transforming the Economy" by professor Edward Castronova examines how the new ways of monetary exchange, such as the use of cards, electronic payment and points systems, may eventually replace government-run currency systems. (Yale University Press, 2015)
"Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce" by professor of practice Joe Coleman investigates how the aging workforces of countries like Sweden and Japan differ from that of the United States, and how each nation is dealing with the fact that the population will have to work longer as life expectancy improves. (Oxford University Press, 2015)
"International Public Relations and Public Diplomacy: Communication and Engagement," co-edited by professor Sung-Un Yang, discusses the conceptual and practical interconnections between international public relations and public diplomacy. (Peter Lang, 2014)
"Social Media and Participatory Democracy: Public Notice and the World Wide Web" by professor Shannon Martin addresses the internet's impact on government notifications and public records. (Peter Lang, 2014)
"Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life" by assistant professor Cara Caddoo analyzes African-American history through the lens of cinema. (Harvard University Press, 2014)
"Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife" by professor Raiford Guins investigates the complex lifecycle of video games and their material remains. (MIT Press, 2014)
"Coproducing Asia: Locating Japanese-Chinese Regional Film and Media" by associate professor Stephanie DeBoer provides compelling frames for understanding the significance of film and media coproduction in East Asia. (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
"Audience and Interpretation," edited by professor Radhika Parameswaran, is volume 4 of The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
"Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning: Cognitive and Emotional Process of Media," co-authored by professor Rob Potter, is a comprehensive resource for psychophysiological research on media responses. (Routledge, 2011)
"Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics" by associate professor Akinwumi Adesokan explores the forces at work in the production and circulation of culture in a globalized world, including social and political processes. (IU Press, 2011)
"Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections," co-authored by professor Betsi Grabe, systematically assesses the visual presentation of presidential candidates in network news coverage of elections and connects the visual images with shifts in public opinion. (Oxford University Press, 2009)
"Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research," co-authored by dean James Shanahan, examines the relationship between how much television people watch and their beliefs on issues such as violence, sex roles and political attitudes. (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
"The Crisis in Telecommunications Carrier Liability: Historical Regulatory Flaws and Recommended Reform" by professor Barbara Cherry offers recommendations on the public policy issues underlying liability rules for telephone companies as common carriers. (Springer, 1999)