School of Communications - Research

School of Communications

Postgraduate Research Students

Darryl Ashwin DSouza Name: Darryl Ashwin D’Souza

Supervisor: Dr. Miriam Judge

Project Title: The use of mobile phones by young people to exercise personal agency -a mixed methods study

Summary of Research Topic:
The objective of this study was to investigate if mobile phone users exercise higher agency in situations of daily life than non-users of mobile phones; to study the nature of personal agency that mobile phone enhances; to explore the effect of this on parent-child relationships, educational practices and cultural values; and to dilineate the boundaries that restrict mobile phone assisted personal agency.

Positioned in the background of the perceived breakdown of social structures around the world, and the widespread adoption of mobile phones in India, this study focuses on young people of middle class socio-economic category in Mumbai and analyzes the extent to which they are able to exercise personal agency (the ability to exert influence on their lives and surroundings) in the context of the traditional society of India. The young people considered fall between 15 to19 years.

This mixed methods study uses surveys, interviews and focus groups discussions. It consists of two phases. In the first phase a quantitative instrument (questionnaire) is developed to measure the difference in personal agency between mobile phones and between users and non-users. In the second phase, a triangulation phase, the data collection and analysis of the survey, interviews and focus group discussions are conducted concurrently. These data are then triangulated at the interpretation stage.

Claire English Name: Claire English

Supervisor: Dr. Barbara O’Connor

Project Title: The role of media in Irish citizenship practices: A study into the use of online social media among 18 to 30 year olds

Summary of Research Topic:
The objective of this research is to gain an insight into the everyday use of online social media in Ireland, examining how 18 to 30 year olds utilise these sites to engage in practices of citizenship. Online social media have come into sharp focus within debates surrounding public engagement and citizenship as possible elixirs to the perceived democratic deficit in contemporary society.
Drawing on research carried out in the field of Audience Studies this work will examine how online social media are enmeshed into the overall media consumption practices of this group, providing an analysis of the use of these sites in the lives of this group of citizens.

Gloria Macri Name: Gloria Macri

Supervisor: Dr. Barbara O’Connor

Project Title: Romanians in Ireland and their online diasporic identities

Summary of Research Topic:
My PhD thesis focuses on the study of migration, media and identity. Focusing on identity as a dynamic process, this research investigates the way members of the Romanian community in Ireland narrate and perform their diasporic identities.
Media are often attributed key roles in shaping, maintaining, reflecting and performing identities. This study places an emphasis on the role of media (as an integral part of the public sphere) in the process of identity construction. I have focused my attention on the online discussion Forum of the Romanian Community (Ireland).
This ethnographic study highlights the emergence of multiple and competing identity discourses online. Interesting findings emerge in relation to the many aspects of the "Us" vs. "Them" dichotomy, as Romanians in Ireland build their identification narratives in relation to being European, or Irish, diasporic etc. This project is funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Jeneen Naji Name: Jeneen Naji

Supervisor: Dr. Bill Dorris

Project Title: Do Humans Dream of Electric Poetry
Poetry in the Electronic Age

Summary of Research Topic:
This research considers the recent development both in relation to poetry and to eMedia: The Translation of Poetry into ePoetry. To consider what has traditionally constituted poetry and ask the questions: How has such poetry traditionally been translated between various languages? What are the characteristics of the new language and technologies of eMedia, into which traditional poetry is now being translated? What are the characteristics of the poetry, which is now being written in this language, i.e. ePoetry? And what impact have the eMedia had on poetry and translation itself?

Barbara Pieta Name: Barbara Pięta

Supervisor: Dr. Barbara O’Connor

Project Title: Representing Women: Discourses, Images,
and Realities in Irish Political Life

Summary of Research Topic:
This research is a part of an interdisciplinary project entitled Representing Women: Discourses, Images, and Realities in Irish Political Life, which sets out to investigate the factors contributing to the atypically low number of women in Dáil Éireann. The PhD in question aims to approach this topic from the media studies perspective. The main research objective is to examine the extent and nature of media coverage of women in Irish politics at local and national level with a view to establishing
(a) the key frames used for representing women in politics;
(b) whether, and to what extent, media coverage reflects political representation and;
(c) whether women are portrayed in the same or different way then men;
(d) the extent and nature of gender stereotyping in the representations.
A dual methodological approach is planned for the work package on media representations. A purposive sample of press and television representations will be selected and studied by means of
(a) quantitative content analysis techniques and
(b) qualitative techniques in the form of critical discourse analysis, as well a semiotic analysis of the visual images in both press and TV coverage.
Barbara is currently involved in the Representing Women Project

Fergal Quinn Name: Fergal Quinn

Supervisors: Steven Knowlton and Paschal Preston

Project Title: Models of media encouragement in the developing world:
How Cambodia offers an example and a warning

Summary of Research Topic:
The 2008 national elections in Cambodia offered a fourth chance to assess the progress of the international community’s rebuilding project that has been engaged in the country since the disastrous Khmer Rouge regime.
Chief among the findings of numerous international observers was that the media had failed to keep the electorate fully informed in a balanced and fair manner in the pre-election period.
My study explores how and why this could happen in a country in which the most modern thinking on media development theory has been in full effect for the past 20 years.

Henry Silke Name: Henry Silke

Supervisors: Farrel Corcoran

Project Title: Media and Political Power: the Role of the Independent News and Media Group in Representing Economic Crisis and Social Conflict in Ireland: 2008-2011.

Summary of Research Topic:
This project is concerned with the structure, content and political role of the Irish press during the current economic crisis. To do so the research will fuse the methodology of political economy (Castells 2009, Chakravartty and Schiller 2010, Fuchs 2009, Garnham 2004, McChesney 2007, Mosco 2009, Curran 2002) with that of critical content and discourse analysis (Fowler 1991, Garnham 2000, Hartley 1982, Philo 2007, Fairclough 2007, Richardson 2007). From political economy the project draws on theories of political structure, economic structure, power, ideology, and hegemony (Arrighi 2005, Wallerstein 1974a, Foucault 2000, Held 1989, Marx 2010, Miliband 1969, Lukes 1974, Althusser 1971, Eagleton 1991, Gramsci 1971/2003, Hall 1986). The study will develop a method of contextual discourse analysis drawing from Glasgow Media Group and Critical Discourse Analysis scholars. To explore the relationship between structure and content the study will perform a case study of the content of the Independent News and Media group. Independent News and Media is the dominant print media group in Ireland, its major shareholder Tony O’Reilly has extensive business interests, it is alleged by some that O’Reilly has used his media empire to leverage the state in favour of his interests, specifically in the granting of communication and hydrocarbon exploration licences (Connolly 2006, Cooper 2009).

Morgan Stack Name: Morgan Stack

Supervisor: Professor Farrel Corcoran

Project Title: Sourcing & Framing the War on Terror:
An Analysis of the Irish Times World News Section (2001-2008)

Summary of Research Topic:
The objectives of the project are twofold. The first is to analyse the sources of information that have been drawn upon and stipulated in the Irish Times World News section to create and sustain the narrative of the “War on Terror.” With regard to the role of news sources in the “War on Terror,” while the latter has been the subject of much academic analysis over the past few years, little or no attention has been paid in the literature to the reliance of news organisations on official of information rather than non-official sources. It is argued that due to the nature of the phenomenon governments, intelligence agencies, militaries and other official institutions often hold a monopoly on relevant information regarding terrorism and related phenomena. Thus, the first research question seeks to identify if coverage of this issue in the Irish Times reflects this monopoly and if so the extent to which it does so. The second objective is to situate these findings within the broader questions of the dominant news frames employed and the agenda setting effects that flow from employment of these news frames.

Trish Morgan Name: Trish Morgan

Supervisor: Professor Paschal Preston

Project Title: Innovation in digital media art production in Ireland

Summary of Research Topic:
This research focuses on innovation in digital media production in the artistic sector. The research tracks innovation on three levels. The micro level explores issues such as individual creativity and innovation. The meso level examines how social and cultural interactions shape and influence the micro level, and is itself also shaped. The macro level investigates the political and economic factors shaping policy decisions on innovation, the creative industries and ultimately the ‘smart economy’.
In proposing this three-level approach, the aim is to provide a depth of understanding into the innovative and creative processes that policy drivers wish to encourage, while also taking into account the many-layered aspects to innovation.

Melanie Stilz Name: Melanie Stilz

Supervisors: Paschal Preston and Barbara O’Connor

Project Title: ICTs in Afghan Higher Education&

Summary of Research Topic:
I concentrate in my research on the process of negotiating ICT projects in Afghan higher education.
When working in Kabul, Herat and Mazaar-e Sharif between 2007 - today I had the chance to talk to different actors involved in this process, ranging from members of the World Bank, university presidents, administrative personnel of universities, representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education and most of all young professionals and students. The very different (technological) backgrounds and expectations of members of each of these groups, but also the differences in how decisions are made and how work is planned and conducted is what interests me most.