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In-store Event Needs and Technology Use Among Half Price Books Customers

Description: Half Price Books, Records, Magazines, Inc. (HPB), fills a unique niche by selling a variety of new, used and rare merchandise primarily in their chain of 116 stores in sixteen states and online. The company has noticed increased mobile device use among customers in their stores while sales have declined in recent years. To remain viable HPB is attempting to adapt to market forces in a timely manner while remaining continually interested in growth and innovation. A major part of adapting, growing, and innovating is the adoption and astute utilization of technology in-store and a more complete understanding of their customers’ activities and preferences. The goal is to make Half Price Books a more technologically savvy destination for shopping, community events, and entertainment. One purpose of this study is to give the company a better idea of how customers use technology in searching for merchandise including information searches generated in-store from mobile devices and how customers use the internet to find merchandise prior to and following their experiences in HPB’s stores. Another important purpose is to also determine what kinds of events such as book signings, poetry readings and other special events customers would like to see at Half Price Books, since the company has indicated a strong desire to provide fun and memorable experiences as well as products. The major research aims of this study are (1) To explore how customers use technology in searching for books in relation to two Half Price Books locations in Arlington, Texas and (2) To determine what customers want in terms of in-store events at these same locations.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Wilson, Steven K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Product Management: the Decision Process

Description: This thesis builds upon several theoretical ideas. The first of which is the anthropologists’ transition into the corporate context and the particular type of skills and value that someone with anthropological training can bring to operations management. As anthropology is relatively new and unfamiliar to corporations, anthropologists are often hired without explicit knowledge of how they will address organizational problems. Frequently, this incremental relationship building between the anthropologist and the organization leads to shifting project goals which come only after the anthropologist is able to reveal initial findings to someone who has the power to grant the anthropologist further access to employees and company information. This refocusing comes from a building of trust that is crucially important for the anthropologist’s ability to identify social issues, which is the anthropologist’s expertise. In order to develop the context of this project the following paragraphs will explain in more detail and expand into particular cases in which anthropologists have helped organizations to identify and manage social, organizational problems. As a relationship needs to be built between the anthropologist and the organization, here I argue that there needs to be continual relationship building between anthropological, design, and management theories to optimally solve organizational problems.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Pahl, Shane D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding Affluence through the Lens of Technology: An Ethnographic Study toward Building an Anthropology Practice in Advertising

Description: This thesis describes a pilot study for a new cultural anthropology initiative at Team One, a US-based premium and luxury brand advertising agency. In this study, I explore the role and meaning of technology among a population of affluent individuals in Southern California through diaries and ethnographic interviews conducted in their homes. Using schema theory and design anthropology to inform my theoretical approach, I discuss socioeconomic and cultural factors that shape these participants' notions of affluence and influence their presentation of self through an examination of their technology and proudest possessions. I put forward a theory of conspicuous achievement as a way to describe how the affluent use technology to espouse a merit-based model of affluence. Through this model of affluence, participants strive to align themselves to the virtuous middle-class while ascribing moral value to their consumption practices. Lastly, I provide a typology of meaningful technology artifacts in the affluent home that describes the roles of their most used tech devices and how each type supports conspicuous achievement.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Garcia, Steven R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

“Just Tell Me the Truth”: Understanding Health Risks and Community Perspectives in Karnes County, Texas, an Oil and Gas Community

Description: Using ethnographic research methods, I collaborated with the organization Earthworks to conduct a community assessment on the health issues related to the air quality in Karnes County, Texas, an oil and gas community. The research consisted of in-depth interviews with residents on their experiences and knowledge on the health issues associated to air quality. This research is going to be used to inform the community and develop strategies to empower community members in improving their environmental conditions.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Villa, Priscilla
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding Road User Interaction: An Exploratory Ethnographic Study Toward the Design of Autonomous Vehicles

Description: This thesis contributes to research that informs the design of autonomous vehicles (AVs). It examines interactions among various types of road users, such as pedestrians and drivers, and describes how findings can contribute to the design of AVs. The work was undertaken as part of a research internship at Nissan Research Center-Silicon Valley on the Human Understanding in Design team. Methods included video ethnography “travel-alongs” which captured the experience of travel from the point of view of drivers and pedestrians, analysis of interaction patterns taken from video of intersections, and analysis of road laws. Findings address the implications of what it will mean for AVs to exist as social entities in a world of varied road contexts, and how AVs might navigate the social act of driving on roads they share with a variety of human users. This thesis contributes to an emerging body of research and application on the subject of the AV in the world.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Mclaughlin, Logan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring Perceptions of Brand Loyalty and Consumer Identity among Millennial Males Living in Central Ohio

Description: Brand loyalty is a common theme throughout consumer and market research, yet it has not been a major topic among anthropologists. The research presented here is an anthropological exploration of the social and cultural influences on how a unique demographic - millennial males - view their own loyalty to brands. Through the use of qualitative interviews and online surveys, participants provided insight in to how they viewed their favorite brands and how those brands fit in to their lives. After analysis was done on these interviews a number of themes and degrees of attachment were identified and discussed.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Oates, Blake A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Role of Mobile Homes in Migration from Mexico to Central North Carolina

Description: A key consideration in the human migration process to a destination country is the need to secure suitable and affordable housing. As housing costs have increased in the United States in recent decades, mobile homes – also known as manufactured housing or "trailers" – have become a significant source of affordable housing for people living in the United States. In rural communities, mobile homes have become a substantial portion of the available housing stock. This research project explored mobile home living specifically in relation to Mexican migrants who lived in a rural county in central North Carolina. Consideration was given to the practical issues of this type of housing, as well as any influence the American stigma of mobile homes might have had on the ways people experienced their homes and communities.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Kiesewetter, Kimberly Ann Cochran
Partner: UNT Libraries

Aging Texas Well: An Assessment of Denton's Aging-Friendliness

Description: The purpose of this research was to conduct a needs assessment for the city of Denton, Texas to learn how residents view Denton's aging-friendliness. The research design was based on the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services' Aging Texas Well Toolkit and was funded by a two year grant from that agency. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to gather data on six community indicators: demographics, housing, transportation, health care (including mental health and substance abuse services), recreation, and community supports and services. Input from city residents was gathered through focus groups, followed by a survey of the broader community in the city to validate and prioritize the needs identified. The research found gaps in Denton's aging-friendliness. Denton residents feel that although there are some services for the aging in the area, other services are lacking. The top needs identified by residents were a single point of contact for, and better communication about, resources currently available, as well as a need for increased transportation options.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Wolfe, Julia Rachel Weinstein
Partner: UNT Libraries

In Defense of Wilderness: A Documentation of the Social and Cultural Aspects of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)

Description: My thesis research provides an alternative argument for the protection of the wilderness that extends far beyond that of the purely biological and instead looks at wilderness for the intrinsic value, focusing on the social and cultural aspects. Through an ethnographic approach, I uncovered the how, why, and in what context people connect with wilderness and how people lean on these experiences. Through analysis of the interviews and data that was collected, I was able to identify tangible and intangible values associated with wilderness exploration and understand how these social and cultural aspects manifest themselves in people's day-to-day lives.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Brickle, Tyler A
Partner: UNT Libraries

Utilizing Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Industrialized Nations to Assist in Disaster Evacuations

Description: Using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which is typically reserved for understanding how indigenous societies function successfully, and applying this to developed countries' ideas of disaster planning and response, emergency planners, public officials, and lay-persons can gain an understanding of their environment. Stories, history, education, and The waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 provides a backdrop with which to test the tenets of TEK in a developed nation setting. This dissertation has found that TEK was effective when used by a developed nation and should be integrated into the current disaster system in the US.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Lea, Brandi M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethiopian Coffee Stories: Applied Research with Sidama Coffee Farmers Combining Visual and Ethnographic Methods

Description: The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the value of visual research methods to applied anthropology in the context of exploratory research with farmers in Ethiopia. The three methods of photo-elicitation, participatory photography, and ethnographic film, enrich and expand ethnographic methods to support the client's objective of supporting farmers. The applied project constructs a narrative from the local perspective to help consumers learn more about farmers' lives. The research focuses on specific farmers, and their experiences with direct fair trade and coffee farming. The client sees the application of research produced by ethnographic and visual methods as a good direction not only for his company, but the Fair Trade Industry as a whole.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Suter, Paula Jean
Partner: UNT Libraries

Addressing Social Elements of Wildfire: Risk, Response, and Recovery in Highland Village, TX

Description: Representatives of the City of Highland Village expressed concern over the risk of wildfires for their community. Anthropology provides many tools for and examples of disaster assessment of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. These tools combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can provide a holistic, cultural ecological look at how such a disaster may take place in the city. The project's methods included a detailed survey of preparedness steps which was analyzed using SPSS and also imported into ArcGIS for spatial analysis, and semi-formal, in-depth interviews with residents of the community regarding preparedness, response, and recovery. Residents fell into a middle category of preparedness, with the majority of participants considering or implementing a few recommended preparedness steps. Interview participants expressed respect for and trust of the city and first-responders, as well as a willingness to volunteer their help during response and recovery stages. Finally the American Community Survey showed that resident socioeconomic vulnerability was considerably low, and no action needed to be taken to advocate for at-risk individuals. Overall, the City of Highland Village showed a high resiliency to disaster. A wildfire likely will not have a major impact on the community as a whole, though the city may reduce the impact even further by informing the public of their risk, clearing natural areas of dead brush, sharing preparedness and evacuation information via social media and newsletters, and planning relief stations for those who may have been impacted.
Date: May 2016
Creator: MacKinnon, Jessica
Partner: UNT Libraries

Oral History of Bonton and Ideal Neighborhoods in Dallas, Texas

Description: The Bonton and Ideal neighborhoods in Dallas Texas, developed in the early 1900s, experienced physical and social decay throughout the 1980s. Neighborhood organizations and resident activism were vital to the rebirth of the community in the 1990s. Current revitalization efforts taking place there have been a source of contention as the neighborhood continues to overcome inequalities created by decades of racialized city planning initiatives. This thesis focuses on how the structuring structure of whiteness has historically affected, and continues to affect, the neighborhoods of Ideal and Bonton, as well as acts to identify how black residents have navigated their landscape and increased their collective capital through neighborhood activism.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Payne, Briana
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teach Healthier: An mHealth Case Study for Piloting Pre-K Health Curriculum

Description: This rapid ethnographic study explored how a 'mobile health education' app might impact preschool teachers and students, interact with organizational protocols and policies, and align with the preschool culture. The researcher evaluated the app's early Pre-K content and user experience. With a systems thinking approach, this study revealed the lived-experiences and processes in preschools around Austin, Texas. The outcomes of this study guided the client with more human-centered approaches to researching and designing their apps and services.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Sarmiento, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

Grace After Fire: an Analysis of Table Talk: Color Me Camo-realities of Female Veterans

Description: Beginning May of 2013 and ending in September, I worked with Grace After Fire (Grace), a virtual nonprofit organization that focuses on issues related to female veterans. Grace’s mission is to provide female veterans with the means to gain knowledge, insight and self-renewal. Grace’s mission is accomplished through peer support and resource referral. The aim of my thesis project was to conduct an analysis of Grace’s peer support system, Table Talk: Color Me Camo (Table Talk). Because Table Talk is a fairly new program for Grace, just over a year old, the outreach coordinators were eager to learn: 1) if they were indeed meeting their mission of empowering female veterans, and 2) the point-of-view of the peer facilitators who conduct Table Talk. To help Grace gain perspective, I interviewed women who had previously attended Table Talk, as well as peer facilitators responsible for coordinating the peer support system-all of whom are female veterans. The following is their story.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Phillips, Jessica Laureano
Partner: UNT Libraries

Emerging Ed-tech and Accessibility

Description: Recent developments in the field of education have led to a proliferation of educational technologies (or “ed-tech”), yet access to educational content for students with special needs remains a challenge. This research study aims to assess the current state of accessibility in emerging ed-tech and to identify barriers in enabling educational content to be born accessible. Detailed discussions with various ed-tech platforms revealed less of a need for technical tools, but a more prevailing need for knowledge and education around accessibility – what it means and how best to incorporate accessibility into their platforms. The more experienced teams advocate incorporating accessibility into product development right from the design phase, while the younger teams expressed challenges in navigating accessibility laws and the dire need for easy-to-follow guidelines and best practices. A detailed review of educators' content creation processes reveals multiple dependencies in the ecosystem of ed-tech where partnerships and compatibilities are crucial in enabling accessibility throughout the process. Likewise, an urgent need exists for increasing awareness of accessibility among instructors authoring educational content using emerging ed-tech.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Vora, Disha
Partner: UNT Libraries

Artscapes: Community Perceptions of City Beautification through Murals in Denton, Texas

Description: Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB) is inspired by Keep America Beautiful's model of community engagement to create a clean, beautiful, and vibrant city. The community mural initiative, Artscapes, aims to enliven public spaces, abate graffiti, and inspire community members to keep Denton, Texas, clean and beautiful. The goals of this research project are to understand the impact of Artscapes initiative, community perceptions of public art, and find ways KDB can better align future mural projects with the needs and desires of community members. By talking to artists that have worked with KDB, members of the mural art committee, and community members from the neighborhoods that have existing murals, this research provides input from these three populations to continue creating public art for the Denton community. I discuss the context of my work through Lefebvre's concept of "Right to the City," Rafael Schacter's opposition between sanctioned and non-sanctioned murals, Bourdieu's concept of symbolic and social capital, and David Harvey's work on neoliberalism and the entrepreneurial city.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Robertson, Lindsey
Partner: UNT Libraries

Identifying Breast Cancer Disparities in the African-American Community Using a Mixed Methods Approach

Description: Utilizing a mixed methods approach in assessing cities and metropolitan areas with the highest rates of breast cancer disparities in African-American communities, this study presents the Affiliate perspective of the Susan G. Komen non-profit organization in combination with available socioeconomic data and academic literature. Analyzed through an anthropological lens, qualitative and quantitative data illuminate the lived experiences and dynamic circumstances in which breast cancer disparities are disproportionately experienced in 21 of the nation’s populations of African-Americans. Two main recommendations arose from this research: prioritization of granting to activities such as patient navigation, usage of patient narrative messaging, community-based participatory research methods of program development and implementation, mobile mammography delivery, usage of lay health educators, and self-advocacy education to alleviate barriers to healthcare and supplementation of the current educational activities of the Komen Affiliates through program sharing and leverage of current assets with consideration of current Affiliate capacity. These recommendations may help in alleviating breast cancer disparities present in African-American communities with the highest levels of disparities in the nation.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Morrissey, Natalie Noel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Experiences of Latinos with Diabetes in the Central San Joaquin Valley

Description: Embarking on a quest to uncover the shared experiences of Latinos with diabetes in the Central San Joaquin Valley is the principal issue discussed in this body of work. Diabetes is estimated to become a serious public health problem, with a current estimate of more than 30 million already afflicted. Engaging in participant-observation at a local clinic serving patients in a Diabetes Education Program and semi-structured interviews with Latinos attending the program, this research explores cultural experiences of diabetes. The primary aim of this research is to answer how health education information is accepted and interpreted based on cultural definitions of diabetes to inform diabetes management strategies.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Cortez, Jacqueline Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding the Culture of Giving among Utility Fuel Fund Donors in Southern California

Description: The Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) is a voluntary, nonprofit fuel fund that provides grants to income qualified utility customers in an effort to help those customers avoid electricity service disconnection. The administering utility and the energy industry as a whole is undergoing transformative change, resulting in a projected decrease of fundraising capacity for EAF among its most substantial donor pool - utility shareholders and employees. Utility customers represent a small percentage of EAF donors, despite the significant size of the customer base. Through a series of ethnographic interviews and secondary research, this thesis seeks to understand the demographics and motivations of utility customers who donate to EAF in order to help improve EAF’s fundraising strategy and donor solicitations to eventually grow customer donations. The goal of EAF is to maintain or grow donations from 2014 levels so the Fund can continue to serve income qualified customers facing energy poverty. This thesis provides a contextual review of fuel funds; challenges faced by the energy and utility industry; the politics and culture of energy; as well as nonprofit sector fundraising challenges and cultures/motivations of giving. This thesis includes client deliverables such as thick description of donor motivation, motivation themes and a donor motivation map, demographic data which could be used to target solicitations, and lastly a series of recommendations for EAF to improve its fundraising strategy.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Sauer, Ashley
Partner: UNT Libraries

Developing Policy for a Tech Program Based on Understanding Organizational Practices

Description: This thesis contributes to research that informs the studies of organizational management and organizational anthropology. It examines the internal hierarchy and organizational practices of a Tech Company and describes how findings contributed to policy recommendations aimed towards supporting a “guild” model for organizational success. The data collecting and research were undertaken while working as an employee of the Tech Program and subsequent analysis continued past the end of that phase of work. Methods included semi-structured interviews which captured the sentiments and understandings of employees within the organization, and a questionnaire which revealed sentiments and experiences from former employees. These were buttressed with participant observation engaged through a participatory action research methodology. Findings add to the work directed towards understanding the effect of Founder’s Syndrome within organizations. Additionally, this thesis contributes to a growing body of research centered on best practices for fostering positive organizational growth by creating lines of communication from front-line employees to management level employers.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Machado Perez, Luis Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring Ahope Client Satisfaction and Attitudes

Description: I led a participatory action research (PAR) project with the staff and homeless clients of Ahope Day Center in Asheville, North Carolina, which was meant to evaluate client satisfaction with services and attitudes about certain issues. Project is led by an inquiry group consisting of members of Ahope staff and Ahope clients. The project is a co-designed, co-implemented, and co-interpreted mixed-method evaluation of Ahope's services, client attitudes about education and the environment, client adaptive strategies, optimism levels, and a mapping of client daily routines. The data was collected through participant observation, document analysis, surveys, a listing activity, and informal interviews. Documents were coded using grounded theory and themes emerged related to the value of the intangibles of security, community, and ‘being seen' at Ahope while some suggestions were also made. Findings included client attitudes indicating the importance of the environment and education to clients, high optimism levels among clients, and a number of suggestions for the improvement of Ahope's services.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Johnston, Josiah Ramsay
Partner: UNT Libraries