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Graduate Students' Collaborative Information Seeking in a Group-based Learning Setting

Description: Working with others within an organization can have a variety of positive effects, and the benefits of collaboration have been discussed in various disciplines. In information science, interest in collaborative information seeking, including collaborative information seeking by students in an online learning environment is expanding. This study was aimed at understanding graduate students' collaborative information seeking behaviors through the process of a group project, including factors that affected students' perceptions of collaborative work and their difficulties during the collaborative process. The research was based on Yue and He's model, which describes information users' collaborative communication and information behaviors, and Kuhlthau's model, which describes users' individual information seeking behaviors. The participants were 43 students enrolled in a master's level course delivered primarily online. The students were required to work together in groups to complete a research project. Data were collected through a background survey, behavior survey, and online communication texts and analyzed using descriptive statistics, statistical tests, and content analyses. The results showed significant changes in collaborative and information seeking behaviors and perceptions across three stages of the project during the semester. Theoretical, practical, and methodological implications for future research are discussed.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Lee, Jisu
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Study of the Effects of State Grant Reductions on Local Expenditures: Empirical Studies in Massachusetts and Colorado Municipalities

Description: State grants are perceived to mitigate the fiscal disparities among local governments in providing services. However, cutbacks in state grants as a result of changes in state grant policy in different states affect local expenditures dedicated to maintaining service provisions to citizens. This dissertation constructs a theoretical model to explain the extent to which and the ways in which types of state grants, revenue diversity, and form of local government impact local spending and the provision of public programs when local governments experience cuts in state grants. The dissertation also argues that when facing state grant cuts, local governments with a council-manager form of government and with higher revenue diversity will experience reduced change in local expenditures and that decreases in state categorical grants will lead to more cuts in distributive program expenditures. Given the diversity of state and local arrangements, this dissertation conducts a comparative and panel data study to test the hypotheses in 351 and 271 municipalities in Massachusetts and Colorado, respectively, in 2000 through 2008. The empirical results indicate that the form of government and the degree of revenue diversification have a greater impact on the local spending behaviors in Colorado than in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, decreases in state categorical grants lead to more cuts in distributive program expenditures in both Massachusetts and Colorado. This dissertation concludes that the theoretical model explains the effects of state grant reductions on local spending better in Colorado than it does in Massachusetts.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Chaicharoen, Siwaporn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Is There Justice in Mercy? the Retributive Philosophies of Executive Clemency

Description: Executive clemency is assumed to be a mechanism to correct miscarriages of justice brought about by the criminal justice system, yet little empirical research exists to confirm this assumption. This research study examined the types of rationales cited in 799 cases of executive clemency from six states from 2005 to 2012. Rationales based upon retributive philosophies, in which a miscarriage of justice was cited, were further analyzed. This analysis revealed that only seven percent of all clemency decisions from the examined states cited retributive rationales. Of the fifty-six grants of clemency that cited retributive rationales, most were granted in the forms of pardons. The analysis indicated that executive clemency is utilized as a mechanism to correct injustices, specifically in cases of innocence. This study concludes with a discussion of policy implications and the reliance on executive clemency as a fail-safe to the criminal justice system.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Gibbs, Gina N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Investigating Postpartum Depression in Southern Rural Egypt and Effects of Sertraline on Fsh and Lh Gene Expression on Fathead Minnows Using Rt-pcr

Description: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major health problem that affects many women worldwide. In Egypt, PPD is neglected despite the expected high prevalence rate among women during the transition period after the Egyptian revolution. This research investigated the prevalence, risk factors, and interventions of postpartum depression in southern rural Egypt. Interviews were conducted with 57 participants recruited from public and private hospitals. Questionnaires and the Arabic version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were administered. The prevalence of PPD is 73.7%. PPD is associated with low income and age at childbirth. Most participants regarded screening mothers after childbirth for PPD as effective; in comparison to, antidepressants that were regarded by most participants as ineffective. Women in southern rural Egypt prefer high number of pregnancies, so investigating the influence of sertraline, an antidepressant medication, on female hormones becomes important. In this research, fathead minnows were exposed to 3 and 10 ppb sertraline for 7 days. Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction was used to detect the change in gene expression of the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Results showed that a down regulation at the 10 ppb was evident on the LH and to a lesser extent on FSH. Our results increased levels of sertraline inhibited GnRH which influenced expression of LH and FSH.
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Date: May 2013
Creator: Mohamed, Hagar Abdo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Creating Captain America: a Frame Analysis of the Pat Tillman Epic

Description: Pat Tillman—an Arizona Cardinals player who sacrificed everything to serve his country but died in Afghanistan—was initially touted as a true American hero who was killed by enemy fire. In reality, however, the Tillman narrative was based on nothing but military propaganda. This research focused on how mainstream U.S. newspapers used news frames, overall story tone, and news sources before and after the official acknowledgement of the true cause of Tillman's death as fratricide. As hypothesized from C. Wright Mills' "lesser institutions," Antonio Gramsci's hegemony, and Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky's propaganda model, the newspapers generally decreased both direct and indirect references to news frames involving "lesser institutions" (e.g., NFL, Arizona State University) and ideological values (e.g., heroism, patriotism) after the revelation, but they were not critical of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars or the Bush administration at all. In addition, they increased their dependence on official sources and decreased family and friend sources after his cause of death was changed. The results as a whole indicate that in the Tillman saga, the revelation of his true cause of death introduced a significant disruption to the propaganda information system, causing news frames to decrease, but the third filter of the propaganda model—reliance on official sources—was strong enough to overcome that disruptive event and continue to protect the power elite.
Date: May 2013
Creator: DeWalt, Christina A. Childs
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding Indian and Pakistani Cultural Perspectives and Analyzing Us News Coverage of Mukhtar Mai and Jyoti Singh Pandey

Description: A foreign country's positive or negative image in the U.S. media can influence public attitudes toward that country. The way U.S. media covers sex crimes from countries like India and Pakistan has a direct effect on the global image of these countries. This qualitative content analysis examined the coverage of two rape victims, Jyoti Singh Pandey and Mukhtar Mai in two mainstream U.S. newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Frames identified in the study include cultural differences, nationality and male patriarchy. The results revealed that while U.S. media was sensitive to both victims, Indian culture was portrayed in a favorable light than Pakistani culture. This study recommends that reporters and newsrooms need to be sensitive in reporting foreign cultures and refrain from perpetuating cultural stereotypes through reporting. The study also recommends developing training and understanding methodology when covering sex crimes so that journalists are aware of the rape myths and narratives that trap them into unfair coverage.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Kark, Madiha
Partner: UNT Libraries

Blood and Earth: Indivisible Territory and Terrorist Group Longevity

Description: The study of terrorism has been both broad in scope and varied in approach. Little work has been done, however, on the territorial aspects of terrorist groups. Most terrorist groups are revolutionary to one degree or another, seeking the control of a piece of territory; but for the supportive population of a terrorist group, how important is the issue of territory? Are the intangible qualities of territory more salient to a given population than other factors? Are territorially based terrorist groups more durable than their ideologically or religiously motivated cohorts? This paper aims to propose the validity of the territorial argument for the study of political terrorism.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Glass, Richard A.
Partner: UNT Libraries