WCU professor seeks volunteers for study on obtaining, evaluating COVID-19 information

by May 15, 2020General Announcements


CULLOWHEE – A faculty member in Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication is seeking volunteers to participate in a research study exploring how people obtain and assess information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Eldredge, assistant professor of communication at WCU, is spearheading the project with Ivanka Pjesivac, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Georgia; Betsy Dalton, assistant professor of communication studies at Middle Tennessee State University; and Laura Miller, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Tennessee.

“The purpose of this study is to understand how individuals seek information related to the COVID-19 virus as ongoing shelter-at-home restrictions are extended, modified and lifted, as well as to understand individuals’ efforts to manage information-related uncertainties regarding the virus,” Eldredge said.

The researchers are recruiting volunteers 18 or older to participate in the study through interviews lasting approximately one hour and conducted by telephone or video conference. Through open-ended questions, participants will be asked about their uncertainties regarding COVID-19, sources of information related to the virus they have come across or sought out, their thoughts on uncertainties related to that information, and their behaviors related to communication, uncertainty and information management.

Depending upon the volunteers’ answers, researchers may ask additional questions designed to get additional details. Participants will not be identified by name in reports about the results of the research.

“The findings of this study will help us better understand the perspectives and behaviors of people as they manage the uncertainties regarding the conditions brought on by shelter-in-place restrictions and effects of a new coronavirus,” Eldredge said.

For more information or to volunteer for the study, contact Eldredge at saeldredge@wcu.edu.

– Western Carolina University release