The JMC introductory classroom with and without Miley Cyrus: An experiment in undergraduate media research

By Doug L. Mendenhall

Full Article: PDF

Abstract: In the crowded syllabus of the introductory undergraduate course in journalism and mass communication, media research often receives little attention, although it is one of the 12 ACEJMC core values. To investigate one method for injecting into the curriculum a greater understanding and appreciation of research, a comparative study was made between students (N = 48) in two sections of an introductory course in the JMC department of a small Southwestern university. Students in the section that learned about media research primarily in relation to a class topic of their choosing exhibited slightly more positive attitudes than students in the section whose study of media research was not related to a self-selected topic, but rather received standard lectures and textbook readings. Although these differences failed to meet the level of significance (p < .05), students in the section that selected actress Miley Cyrus as its research topic were found to be more intellectually stimulated by the class, more interested in the field of media-related research, more confident to conduct research, and more likely to enter a research festival. However, students in this section also received slightly lower grades on multiple-choice exam questions about research than students in the other section.


Dr. Doug Mendenhall (dlm08a@acu.edu) holds the titles of Journalist in Residence and assistant professor at Abilene Christian University, where he began teaching after a 26-year career in the daily newspaper industry. He earned a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a PhD from Texas Tech University, both in mass communication.

, , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

*