2009 Examples


Kate Berry "How Iowa Newspapers Framed the Discourse Related to Immigration Following the ICE Raid at Postville’s Agriprocessors Meatpacking Plant"
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative content analysis is to explore how three different Iowa newspapers, the Des Moines Register, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and the Waterloo–Cedar Falls Courier framed the discourse related to immigration following the May 12, 2008 raid at Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The study found that of the five main news framing techniques (human-interest, responsibility, moral, consequence, and conflict), the human-interest and responsibility frames were the most dominant in both news articles published immediately following the raid as well as more retrospective articles published at least two months after the raid while the conflict and consequence frames were rarely used. All of the frames presented immigrants in a positive or neutral light. Since newspapers have an influential role in shaping the public’s attitude, these findings contain important implications concerning how immigrants and immigration are portrayed to the public. Attitudes towards immigration powerfully influence how individuals interact with them on a personal level as well as whether or not individuals support comprehensive immigration reform.

Terry Blessing III "A Salary Study Paired with Comparable Worth and Gender Bias Issues Study of 911 Dispatchers, and Sheriffs Deputies in Rural Counties of Iowa"
Abstract: Despite the overwhelming interest that has occurred in the field of gender bias, I have been unable to find many individuals who have studied this field of law enforcement; particularly when comparing the positions of 911 Dispatchers and Deputy Sheriffs Officers in rural counties of Iowa. This article presents a direct comparison of salaries while discussing gender bias issues that have plagued the institution of law enforcement for many years. Salary data was collected and analyzed on 911 Dispatchers and Deputy Sheriffs from 24 countries with a population difference no greater than 25 percent of Winneshiek County. The results showed that the gender bias issues have directly affected the salaries of 911 Dispatchers in the institution of law enforcement in rural counties in Iowa.

Jessi Cooper “How Has the Gay Rights Movement Been Successful in the United States: The Fight for what is Already Deserved
Abstract: “As much as the social conservatives might not like to hear it, there will be a time when your grandchildren say: ‘What was the argument with Gay Rights? Who Cares?’” (Jim Kolbe). Homosexuality and all the issues that surround it have been being debated continuously for countless years. It is a matter that includes the justifiable rights of a group of people all over the world. These rights range from job protection to the right to marry the person that they love. The Gay Rights Movement has been fighting to show the public how unfair and unreasonable it is for homosexuals to be excluded from being treated as a complete citizen just as the Black Rights and Women’s Rights movements did. The Gay Rights Movement started small but over time, it has attracted a large following and caught the eye of the public. They now have supporters in many areas, including elites in the government that are fighting to see the day when every American citizen has the same rights no matter what their sexuality is.

Anne Daly "Responding to the Call: Factors that Shaped Luther College Students’ Involvement with Undocumented Immigrants in the Aftermath of ICE Raid in Postville, Iowa"
Abstract: At the time it was executed, the workplace raid in Postville, Iowa was the largest of its kind in U.S. history. Following the sudden event, many Luther students responded to help fearful and shocked undocumented immigrant community members. I conducted 34 in-depth interviews with students who immediately went to Postville to help, students who later became involved in relief efforts, and students who never showed up to help. As expected, biographic availability, ideological compatibility, and social networks were positively correlated with student participation. In addition, language skill capability, previous experiences with immigration issues, and anticipated personal gain were discovered as supplemental reasons why students became involved. While past experiences and ideological compatibility were the least influential predictors of participation, strong social ties within social networks were essential and the most important factor to the recruitment and continued participation of student activists. This study looks at six influential factors that mobilized students, and also suggests that student participants developed a deeper political, economic, and social understanding of the national issue of immigration after their direct work in Postville. 

Tiffany Compton “A study of religion and environmental orientation among members of the Christian faith
Abstract: This study was conducted at Luther College to explore the relationship between religion and environmental orientation given the claims of earlier studies that religious and environmental variables are significantly and negatively correlated. The hypotheses: 1) church attendance will be weakly positively associated with environmental orientation, and 2) political views will be better predictors of environmental orientation than church attendance. Survey data was collected that included a number of demographic variables, religious variables such as religious identification, denomination, frequency of church attendance, and a variety of environmental items to measure overall environmental orientation including identification as an environmentalist and a number of environmental behaviors. The results fail to strongly support the theory and hypotheses, and have proven to be very limited due to the constraints of the sample population.

Patrick Lensing “Constructing ethnic community: A visual exploration of a ‘Norwegian’ town"

Jamie Hansen “Attitudes on trans-racial and inter-country adoption
Abstract: This study looked at attitudes on trans-racial and inter-country adoption among Luther students and factors correlated with these attitudes. This study was done using a survey of 62 Luther students. It was found that overall attitudes on trans-racial and inter-country adoption were very positive, and a high percentage indicated a perception that no behavioral or social problems were associated with being trans-racially or inter-country adopted. A person’s previous experience with adoption was found to be a fairly strong predictor of attitudes on these types of adoption, as well as perceptions of whether behavioral or social problems are associated with them. Gender was not found to be a good predictor of these attitudes and perceptions, though there was some variation involved. Further research on these attitudes should be conducted on those who were adopted trans-racially or inter-country, as well as those planning to adopt, since they deal most directly with the issues.

Kaitlin Herring “Acceptance and disgust: A sociological analysis of internet responses to GLBT advertisements"
Abstract: Within recent years, there has been more visibility of gays, lesbians, and transgendered people in the media. This study examines how the public responds to openly gay/lesbian/transgender advertisements, specifically those of Levi jeans and Kenneth Cole shoes. Public responses were gathered from YouTube, Adfreak from adweeks.com, Queerty, MSNBC adblog, EW.com, and the Electronic Retailer using convenience sampling. Analysis of the data reveals pervading themes among the blogs: positive reaction to advertisement, negative reaction towards the advertisement, or confusion and sexualization of the people in the advertisements. Findings suggest that there was an overall positive reaction to each of the advertisements from all the sites studied. This research reveals that gays, lesbians and transgendered people are gaining visibility in the consumerism arena and their increased visibility is leading to an increase in acceptance.

Rachel Jackson “Identity and its impacts on consumption: Studying multiple concepts of identity and their influence on consumption behaviors
Abstract: This study examines the link between identity and consumption behaviors for a specific social group, which, for the intents and purposes of this project, was given the label of “hippies.” Purposive sampling was done to choose five members of this social group, and then qualitative interviews of each member were conducted. Identity concepts discussed include collective identity, social identity, self-categorization, the social self, self-attitudes, role identity, and ideal identity. Findings showed that identity plays an important role in the consumption behaviors of hippies in multiple different ways. Social identity, self-categorization, and self-attitudes proved to be the most prominent identity concepts that influenced this group. Future research might include more focus on only one or two identity concepts, or a similar study to this one involving a larger sample size in order to gain more clarification and certainty about the findings. Also, it might be beneficial to study other populations and how their identities affect their consumption behaviors.

Erik Lehmann “Illegal downloading as a deviant act: The reality of internet piracy for college students
Abstract: Drawing from previous research on illegal downloading and internet piracy, this study explores how Luther College students participate in this realm of deviance and the reasons they use to justify their actions. Using a non-random sample of ten current Luther students, face-to-face interviews were conducted to ascertain the justifications and ethical dilemmas each student associated with illegal downloading. The results showed that all students chose price as their main motivation- the materials are free- but also cited the ease of access and small chance of negative repercussions as major factors as well. Every interviewee was introduced to internet piracy by their peers, and a lack of defined ethical code regarding the internet also leads many students into the world of illegal downloading. It seems unlikely that the government will ever be able to regulate this digital world, but perhaps the most realistic approach would be through mainstream education of the illegality of internet piracy.