Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Jefferson D. Miller

Committee Member

Leslie D. Edgar

Second Committee Member

Casandra Cox

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Rumley

Keywords

Communication and the arts; Biological sciences; Confinement; Influences; Linguistics; Perceptions; Swine; Visual imagery

Abstract

This study was designed to analyze the visual and linguistic characteristics of online (YouTube) videos and electronic newspapers, identifying relationships with positive, negative, and neutral attitudes toward swine confinement.

This study followed a content analysis design. Two coders, trained to an acceptable level of agreement (κ = .68), examined online videos and electronic newspapers, assessing linguistic and visual images used in relation to attitudes toward swine confinement. A series of search terms deemed suitable for this study's objectives were employed in multiple search engines, and 48 articles and 157 videos were coded for content.

Results from this study showed that certain confinement and animal terminology had strong relationships with negative and positive attitudes toward swine confinement. When used in articles, the confinement term crate had a significant relationship with negative attitudes toward swine confinement. When the confinement term stall was used in videos, a relationship was observed with positive attitudes toward swine confinement. When the animal term pig was used in articles, a relationship with positive attitudes toward swine confinement was observed. When the animal terms pig and piglet were used in videos, a relationship was seen with negative attitudes toward swine confinement. Elements of visual imagery also displayed the ability to resonant with an audience, exhibiting a relationship with certain attitudes toward swine confinement. There was no statistically significant relationship between the gender of the individual delivering the message in online videos and the videos' attitudes toward confinement, but the presence of a person increased the modality of media and therefore is likely to appeal better to audiences, regardless of the message or position. Increased modality was observed in a large amount of online videos and was associated with negative and neutral attitudes toward swine confinement. As a result of message framing in the videos, both farm and outdoor settings were most closely associated with negative attitudes toward confinement.

Recommendations were made to agricultural producers and communicators with respect to future research aspirations. Increasing producers' and agricultural communicators' level of awareness and transparency is the most crucial recommendation for decreasing the knowledge gap between producers and consumers. Improved internal and external communications within the agriculture industry also is a key recommendation for agricultural communicators, encouraging them to assume a more active role when producing and disseminating messages. Recommendations for future research focused on the ability to expand knowledge and strategies from previously conducted research.

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