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Media influence on women's athletic participation under spotlight.

Manama: Research on media influence on women's sports participation has received a boost after Northwestern University in Qatar's media school was given financial assistance for the proposal.

A second grant was given for a research proposal on cross-cultural survey in the region.

Both grants, worth more than $100,000 (Dh367,205) were from the Qatar National Research Fund and will boost efforts to involve both faculty and students in research relevant to Qatar and the region.

"Students and faculty benefit from working together on systematic research -- it sharpens their awareness of the context and background of what they are doing as they generate new, and we hope, useful knowledge," Everette Dennis, NU-Q dean and CEO, said.

"Research is a critical skill for today's media professionals, and 11 of our journalism and communication students have been given an invaluable opportunity to improve this skill through QNRF's programme."

The students, led by faculty advisers Susan Dun and Jocelyn Mitchell, will be involved in all aspects of the research projects, including survey design, data gathering, data analysis and both co-authoring and co-presenting the research papers of the projects.

Susan Dun, a senior lecturer in the communications programme, said her research "should discover the major barriers to women's participation in sports and allow the design of effective media campaigns".

Dun will lead the research on EoACAyCatalysts and constraints: Women's and girls' experience of physical activity and sport in Qatar,' with assistance from an undergraduate student in NU-Q's Communications programme.

Her interest in the topic was sparked by Qatar's recent efforts to encourage more young people, and women in particular, to take up sports.

"As a communication researcher I'm interested in how they evaluate the role of the Arab media in women's sports and how role models influence their sport participation," she said. Her aim is to include 300 women respondents in her research.

Jocelyn Mitchell, a lecturer in Political Science, will use the larger of the two grants, to conduct research that will "make sure that Qatari responses to surveys are understood in a contextual way that allows for accurate comparison with other countries in the region and world".

Mitchell is leading 10 students and three other faculty members -- including one from Qatar University -- on an exploration of the pitfalls of EoACAyuniversal' surveys used by media professionals and social science researchers.

"One of the major problems with universal surveys is their use of the same general questions for all countries. But does everyone understand the question in the same way? Or do the responses need to be contextualised in order to make sense of the data?"

Mitchell added that her research team would be testing survey methods within Qatar, paving the way for broader studies in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The funds were granted by QNRF as part of the 12th cycle of its Undergraduate Research Experience Programme that aims to give students hands-on research experience under the guidance of academic supervisors.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Aug 8, 2012
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