Texas Tech University


Political and Civic Communication Research

Communication is key to politics. The production, dissemination and adoption of information are at the foundation of all political systems. Research into political communication examines the role communication plays in the relationship between citizens and the government, elected officials, and media. Of key interest is how interpersonal and mass communication are used in campaigns, and how they influence the attitudes, opinions and behavior of citizens. 

Visual Attention to Televised Debates

Ever since the first televised debate, researchers have studied the impact of what's shown versus what's said. Researchers from the College of Media & Communication used eye-tracking to explore a new format—the side-by-side presentation of candidates and how facial expressions impact where viewers look and how they judge the event. Their research demonstrates that in politics, what candidates say is only part of how voters form their opinions. Read the full study

The Look of Losing

The 1960 Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate was a landmark moment in American politics. Observers have long explored the importance of Nixon's appearance and how it impacted perceptions of his performance in the televised event. Research from CoMC professor Dr. Erik Bucy draws parallels through history in research exploring the impact of visuals in the 2012 Romney-Obama debate. Read the full study
Read the story by George Watson on Texas Tech Today 

Social Media and Political Engagement

Social media and online communication have transformed political and civic participation. Since the dawn of social media, Facebook and other social media platforms have become a common way voters discuss information and talk about political issues. Research from CoMC faculty has explored how use of these online tools is related to increased civic participation but not necessarily political participation. Read the full study

Campaign Narratives and Political Transportation

We can all relate to getting lost in a good story. In many ways, we can become “transported” into political narratives just like a good novel, TV show, or movie. Research from CoMC advertising professor Dr. Bryan McLaughlin showed that when citizens are immersed in a candidate's political narrative, they come to see the election as more personally relevant and, subsequently, become more committed to supporting that candidate. Read the full study

Political Research Faculty

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