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Four Students Presented Research at Colloquium

The School of Arts & Sciences presented the Associate in Arts and Associate in Science Student Research Colloquium on Friday, December 13 on the Old Charlotte Highway Campus at 11 a.m. in the Creech Boardroom.

Over the course of a semester, students in HUM 220: Human Values and Meaning, complete capstone projects for the AA or AS degree. The projects, addressing humanistic or social scientific research questions, begin with research proposals and annotated bibliographies. After writing reviews of literature, formulating research questions, and choosing a methodology, students conduct original research. Finally, students present their projects in a public research colloquium at the end of each semester.

The following projects were completed by students taking the HUM 220 course during the Fall 2013 Semester.

Gender Bias! Sports Fans Perceptions of Female Sports Journalists
Melina Diaz, Associate in Arts


The judges selected Melina Diaz (Associate in Arts) for the best presentation: Gender Bias! Sports Fans Perceptions of Female Sports Journalists.

The judges selected Melina Diaz (Associate in Arts) for the best presentation: Gender Bias! Sports Fans Perceptions of Female Sports Journalists.

This experimental study of South Piedmont Community College students, faculty members, and staff examines differences between sports fans’ perceptions of male sports journalists and female sports journalists. Previous research suggests female sports journalists may be perceived differently than their male counterparts on the basis of sex. In particular, males are more accepted in the sports world than females. In this study, after answering a set of pre-test questions (sex, attitudes toward sports, and media-use), participants viewed one of three versions of a sports news excerpts (one with a male author, one with a female author, and a control, not revealing the sex of the author). Finally, participants answered a series of post-test questions designed to measure attitudes toward the author of the sports news excerpt. Results confirm existing literature, suggesting that female sports journalists are perceived differently than male sports journalists. The study concludes with implications for sports fans and sports journalists.


The Effects of Food Labeling and U.S. Consumers’ Willingness to Purchase Foods Containing Genetically Modified Organisms
Erran Menzies, Associate in Science

This experimental study of South Piedmont Community College students, faculty members, and staff examines the effects of food labeling on consumer’s willingness to purchase food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO). United States’ regulations currently do not require labeling of genetically modified foods or foods containing ingredients from genetically modified organisms, and movements to require such labeling are controversial. Certain companies voluntarily label foods for a variety of reasons, including marketing strategy. The focus of this research is to examine the impacts of GMO labels, should they be required or be present on food products, exploring the research question: “Are U.S consumers more or less likely to purchase genetically or non-genetically modified foods based on the labeling on such food?” Participants were given a pre-test (respondents’ demographics, eating habits), a treatment (image of a labeled/non labeled food item) and a post-test (assessment of food item). Results suggest that respondents’ perceptions of food taste, food expense and food nutrition, and the likelihood they will purchase a food product, are influenced by not only the presence of a label, but also by other consumer attributes, such as eating habits. The study concludes with implications for the food industry.

Bandwagon to the Voting Booth: Candidate Approval Ratings and Voters’ Perceptions
Kathryn Bention, Associate in Science

Research indicates that voters respond to public opinion polls in a variety of ways. This experimental study examines the degree to which political candidate approval ratings influence voters’ perceptions of candidates. A random sample of students, faculty members, and staff at South Piedmont Community College completed an experimental survey, including a pre-test (demographic, voting behavior, and media use questions), a treatment (a candidate message with one of four levels of public approval [75%, 50%, 25%, or none] reported), and a post-test (attitudes toward the candidate, willingness to vote for the candidate). The results of this study indicate that candidate approval ratings influence voters’ perceptions of a candidate in several ways, including perceptions of the candidate’s goodwill, composure, and trustworthiness. The study concludes with implications for voters as consumers of public opinion information.

The Roots of Morality:
An Analysis of the Moral Arguments Surrounding Same-Sex Marriage
Cody Fenison, Associate in Arts

This project examines the basic worldviews influencing arguments from both sides of the same-sex marriage debate. The Christian-based deontological ethical systems of those in opposition to gay marriage are compared to the more secular consequentialist arguments in support of gay marriage. A review of literature examines the structure of argument, Christian-deontological reasoning, utilitarian-consequentialist reasoning, and current issues surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage. This qualitative study analyzes specific arguments in the gay marriage debate, categorizes positions as Christian-deontological in nature or as utilitarian-consequentialist in nature, offers a critique of the arguments, and exposes strong arguments against basing public laws and policy on religious views. The study concludes with a strong case for favoring consequentialist ethics both in public and personal policy.


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