Student attitude and perceived effectiveness towards MU Alerts

Researchers: Anthony Scarpiniti, Savanna Peterson, Leah Cousins, Lauren Wells, Jamie Edgar



Group 1 began to do research on MU alerts after coming to the conclusion that during all the years the five members have been at Mizzou (ranging from 2.5 to 4.5), we have felt unsafe and uninformed on campus due to a lack of communication about violent happenings. MU Alerts are an online emergency information center for the University of Missouri. They communicate with Mizzou students, employees and parents via text message, a website, email and Facebook. Only Mizzou students and staff can be signed up for the alert system however anybody can view the online postings. MU alerts gives individuals the options on what kind of notifications they would like to receive and if they would prefer calls or text messages.


However, while Mizzou is lucky to have an alerts system like that, members of Group 1 felt that they were highly ineffective and wanted to see if other students did as well. We heard complaints from many of our peers that MU Alerts didn’t notify them fast enough when something dangerous happened or only gave minimal details, thus ensuring more hysteria. As we were conducting our research, we found that MU Alerts continued to be ineffective when violence on our campus was rumored to be happening as a result of the #Concernedstudent1950 protests.


Studying MU alerts is so important because this alert system could potentially stop a student from being on an area of campus where there is recorded act of violence or prevent a student from coming to campus if something dangerous is happening. MU Alerts is important because it hypothetically gives students the opportunity to get themselves to a safe place should a crisis occur, however, we feel that they simply do not do enough.


While Group 1 recognizes that not all MU Alerts will have all of the details right away, we are hoping that they will be improved so instead of causing hysteria by a lack of details or Alerts sent, they will overall help the safety of Mizzou students.  Our main goal from this research was to find out if the majority of Mizzou students really did feel that MU alerts was ineffective and if so, where/when on campus did they feel most unsafe? We also polled in what capacity they received their alerts in.  



After the series of events that have recently occurred at the University of Missouri, MU Alerts found itself in the middle of student criticism for its lack of clarity and effectiveness during times of need. For example, the issue of timeliness arose after the University failed to notify students of a loose armed gunman on campus. Students were notified of his whereabouts after he had been killed by MU police leaving many students helpless and uninformed while the gunman was on campus. Another area criticized by students leading to our research was lack of information regarding the location of the area an alert was affecting. This is seen in a tweet sent by MU Alerts on August 27 stating “Active threat near MU take precautions.” Not only does this not describe the threat, but also does not inform students where the threat takes place to make them aware of areas to avoid. Students responded with questions via tweet like “what kind of threat?”, “No point in telling us there’s a threat on campus if you can’t tell us what kind of threat it is & where it is!” By lacking in these areas MU Alerts lead to uncertainty for students and their safety.




The population of interest in this study is MU undergraduate students. Participants were asked to complete an online survey about MU alerts with the aim of answering these following questions:


100 MU students completed the survey from November 3rd 2015 through December 6th 2015. Most respondents took 2 to 5 minutes to complete the survey. On average most participants were females(86%) and most of the participants lived off campus(65%). The survey consisted of close ended questions with the use of a likert scale to get a sense of the student’s general attitude or feelings towards MU alerts. For example student’s responses to their feelings towards safety were somewhat safe, very safe, neutral , unsafe, or very unsafe. The majority of the participants were recruited with the help of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. A link to the survey was posted on those social media outlets where the students could follow the link in order to complete the survey. The survey link was also sent as a text message so students with smartphones could access it easily to complete it.




           How safe do you feel on campus in the morning? 
Graphic (1)

              How safe do you feel on campus at night?

Graphic (2)

  • RQ1: Are MU Alerts effective?
    • 53% of MU students disagree or strongly disagree that MU Alerts are clear.
    • 57% of MU students agree or strongly agree that MU Alerts are effective.
  • RQ2: What time of day do you feel least safe?
    • MU Students felt most safe in the mornings and in the afternoon
  • RQ3: What do students think of MU Alerts?
    • 57% of MU students agree or strongly agree that MU Alerts are helpful
    • 53% of MU students disagree or strongly disagree that MU Alerts are clear
  • RQ4: Do students feel safe on campus?
    • 86% of MU Students feel safer on campus than off


Consensus of participants:

  • MU Alerts generally are helpful
  • MU Alerts are not seen as being clear
  • MU alerts favor towards being useful
  • Very split for safety, and satisfaction.
  • Feel least safe at night
  • Feel safer on Campus
  • MU alerts make them feel generally afraid


Generally speaking, MU alerts are helpful but they need to be tweaked so they are more clear and so students are satisfied. From the data shown I would say that MU alerts are only somewhat effective.



We identified a few key limitations that could have provided insight on larger social issues at this campus. Questions pertaining to off-campus living could have been construed as ambiguous in determining how to classify student housing complexes and neighborhoods that touch the north, east, and west corners of campus. Furthermore, we initially didn’t see race to be a demographic quality that would make a statistical difference. However, after the events of #ConcernedStudent1950, we were able to see that feelings of insecurity began to arise on social media among students of different racial backgrounds and could be a possible factor.


With careful consideration of these limitations, we propose further research be done on student feelings of perceived effectiveness of toward their university’s emergency alert systems. We recommend focusing on universities of similar size and demographic profile and accounting for specific student housing and racial identities. Secondly, the results from extensive research should be used to develop a proposal for a modified Mizzou application that would available for download on smartphones. With an MU application already implemented, the modifications would would be both cost-effective and user friendly.


In addition to the application, we propose customization options within the settings section and a safety feature similar to SafeTrek, another application developed by an engineering student at this university. This personal safety application allows a student to walk across campus with his or her finger pressed firmly on the button on the home page. Upon releasing, students have a limited time to submit their password that unlocks the application before authorities are notified of their location and unsafe situation.


As we test the application in a beta version, we propose creating a user survey to gauge student use and their satisfaction with customizable settings for alerts, notifications, and safety features. Modifications should be applied and retested. Lastly, the university should implement as sign-up strategy for the application at new student orientations and counseling appointments for returning students. By implementing this, the university can directly monitor enrollment and usage rates, gauge feedback through in-app survey collection.


While this proposal does not correct this larger social issue, it is a step in the right direction of improving communication between authorities and the student body. We know how students prefer interaction and that these efforts are appreciated, these suggestions offers opportunity for improved clarity and efficiency of message delivery.



In conclusion, we think that MU Alerts, at the moment, aren’t as effective as they need to be. We have seen this through recent events over the past year. MU alerts has caused more harm than good and it is seen through our research group. MU alerts are seen to be needed by the students but they want them to be better, and so do we. We have both seen and experienced confusion from these alerts and it’s time to make them effective. They need to become more clear and if this is accomplished, they will become more effective. The safety of our student body and faculty is a major priority for everyone, let’s keep everyone safe. It begins with MU Alerts. Our goal was to find out the attitudes and effectiveness of MU Alerts and we have found that MU Alerts are not perceived positively and are not as effective as they can be. Hopefully through our research the University could see that and could make MU Alerts more effective for all.

Categories: Research

Instagram VS Latergram

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment


Researchers: Andrea Drake, Theobald Coleman McSheehy IV, Christina Surrusco, Kathryn Wheeler, Jessica Williams


As Instagram becomes more and more popular the desire for more likes increases and users want to be able to maximize their activity on this application. Instagram Versus Latergram: When To Get More Likes is an important study because it will provide valuable information to the mass amounts of people that are active users on Instagram. It is a primary social media platform for people to share their photos and connect with others.  The information found in this research aims to help users improve their posts, get more likes on their photos and gives them knowledge about when the most popular times to post to Instagram are.  The study looks into the patterns of students at the University of Missouri and their behaviors on Instagram. The goal was to obtain 100 students to take the survey that was formulated for this study. The questions answered in this study regarded the time of day users checked and posted to Instagram and other liking behaviors.


Instagram was launched in 2010. In the last 5 years, they have obtained 400 million active users with an exponential amount of photos being posted, shared, and liked at any given time. Instagram is important to study because 53% of young adults, ages 18-29, use this service compared to only 37% who used the application in 2013. Pew Research Center, 2015). This is a large chunk of the young adult population and it is clear that Instagram is only increasing in popularity. As more members of this generation increases their use of Instagram, we want to make sure we understand how to use this platform effectively. In an age when everyone is dependent on technology, it is crucial that there is an understanding of how to get the most out of it for personal, family and friends, or business use. This is why we conducted this research, to help ourselves and to help our peers better understand the value of utilizing Instagram and its social applications.  


The first step in conducting our research study was to choose a specific topic that was interesting. We chose Instagram because of its popularity and potential. We were curious about how Mizzou students specifically use Instagram so we developed three research questions we would like to answer by the end of the study. These three research questions are:


  • How many Mizzou students use Instagram?
  • What is the liking behavior of Mizzou students who use Instagram?
  • How do Mizzou students who have a lot of followers differ from those who have fewer followers?


After developing the three research questions, we constructed quantitative survey questions that we used to survey  Mizzou students in order to better understand Instagram use throughout the University of Missouri student population. A few questions included were:

  1. Do you use Instagram?
  2. Is Instagram your preferred picture sharing platform? (if not what is)
  3. What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram?
  4. What time of day do you most frequently post?
  5. Do you try to get likes on Instagram?

We wrote an IRB proposal that included all of our survey questions, intended method, and the associated risks to us and the participants. After this proposal was approved, we opened our survey on Missouri Qualtrics, and began recruiting participants by posting the link to our survey on various Mizzou groups on different social media outlets. Our goal was to have at least 100 participants. After about 3 weeks we surveyed a total of 105 University of Missouri students. This allowed us to close the survey and begin analyzing data.

We analyzed the data by combing over the information from our survey, including students’ responses. After analyzing the results, we chose to present the most interesting findings in both a poster and presentation. These results included the most useful personal, business oriented , and friends and family findings. Finally, we chose results that best answered our three research questions.


Our survey, Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes, utilized the Qualtrics online survey software and insight platform through a University of Missouri affiliated system. The survey itself lasted approximately 20 days, with the first survey being completed on October 26 and the last being completed on November 15 in the year 2015. The mean time it took our subjects to complete the survey was 1m 19s, with the shortest time to complete being 5s, and the longest being 36m 34s.

Once our survey, Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes was completed, we compiled and analyzed all of the results. Some of the basic data we gathered included the gender of our subjects, their year at the University of Missouri, and their preferred social media platform. The following data applies to our first research question, How many Mizzou students use Instagram?

Research question #1. How many Mizzou students use Instagram?

The most skewed aspect of our survey was the overwhelming number of female subjects. Out of the 90 participants who responded to question 18, “What do you identify as,” 73(81%) identified as female, 14(16%) identified as male, and 3(3%) identified as other. These skewed results can be attributed to two main factors. The first factor was that we had to utilize Facebook to promote our survey. Had we been able to assess a random portion of the University of Missouri population, there would have been a more even gender ratio. The second factor that contributed to our overwhelming number of female respondents was that our research group was composed of 4 females and 1 male. Assuming that the 4 female researchers reached more female friends through Facebook than the male researcher reached male friends, we can conclude that this contributed to the vast majority of female respondents in the survey.

Our survey Instagram Versus Latergram: When to get more Likes, also asked respondents what year they were at the University of Missouri. Out of 90 respondents who answered question 17, “What year are you in school at Mizzou,” 4(4%) responded freshman, 9(10%) responded sophomore, 10(11%) responded junior, 45(50%) responded senior, and 22(24%) responded other. The category other referred to students who were either super seniors (5+ years at the university), or graduate students.

Another basic question we asked our respondents was question 5, “Is Instagram your preferred picture-sharing platform.” Out of 95 respondents, 73(77%) responded yes and 22(23%) responded no. For those students who responded no, we had them answer question 6, “If you answered no to the previous question, what is your preferred picture-sharing platform?” This question is unique in our survey because it allowed our subjects to answer in a qualitative manner. There were 25 total responses to the question; meaning 3 respondents answered the question even though they did not need to. Two of the extra respondents answered “N/A” and the third stated, “Instagram is good for your ‘best pic’ of the night. Facebook is better for all the pics from the event.” Out of the 22 respondents who answered no to question 5, 15(60%) stated that Facebook was their preferred picture-sharing platform, 4(16%) stated Snapchat, 2(8%) stated Tumblr, and 1(4%) stated that Instagram was their preferred picture-sharing platform.

Research Question #2. What is the liking behavior of Mizzou students who use Instagram?

Our second research question pertained to the liking behavior of University of Missouri students. Two of the basic questions we asked students were “What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram,” and “What time of day do you most frequently post to Instagram.” We cross-tabulated this data to see how both behaviors related to each other throughout the day. Knowing the patterns of students checking Instagram and posting to Instagram better helped us to understand their liking behavior.

The first question that applies to research question #2 was “What time of day do you most frequently check Instagram?” Out of 90 respondents, 4(4%) responded that they check Instagram between 6:00am-10:00am, 30(34%) responded that they check between 11:00am-2:00pm, 31(35%) responded that they check Instagram between 3:00pm-7:00pm, 21(24%) responded that they check between 8:00pm-12:00am, and 1(1.11%) responded that they check between 1:00am-5:00am. Finally we found that the mean time University of Missouri students check Instagram was 3:00pm-7:00pm.

The second question that applies to research question #2 was, “What time of day do you most frequently post to Instagram?” Out of 90 respondents, 1(1%) responded that they post between 6:00am-10:00am, 25(27%) responded that they post between 11:00am-2:00pm, 37(41%) responded that they post between 3:00pm-7:00pm. 26(28%) responded that they post between 8:00pm-12:00am, and 1(1%) responded that they post between 1:00am-5:00am. The mean time for students posting to Instagram was between 3:00pm-7:00pm.






Figure 1.1

After cross-tabulating this data, we found that University of Missouri students both check and post to Instagram at similar times. These results can be seen in figure (1.1)


Another useful bit of information we used to answer research question #2 was to cross-tabulate our data on the year of Mizzou students who use Instagram versus whether or not students try to get likes on Instagram. The question, “Do you try to get likes on Instagram revealed that out of 90 subjects who answered the question 46(51%) answered yes and 44(49%) answered no. The results of this cross-tabulation can be seen in figure (1.2)

Among many things, it revealed that freshmen who responded either yes or no were the smallest minority of the cross-tabulation coming at 2%. Seniors who responded that they try to get likes on Instagram were the majority at 32%.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 00.14.34

Figure 1.2

An interesting result from this data is that seniors who try to get likes 29(64%) outnumber seniors who do not try to get likes 16(35%.) Vice versa, students who identified as other(super seniors and graduate students,) had the opposite results. Of students who responded as other, 7(31%) responded yes, and 15(68%) responded no. This data shows that students who responded as other did not desire likes nearly as much as students who responded as seniors. These results can be seen in figure 1.3.


Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3


Research Question #3. How do Mizzou students who have a lot of followers differ from those who have few followers?

To best answer research question #3, we first had to determine how many followers our subjects had. Out of 90 respondents, 10(11%) had between 0-100 followers, 16(18%) had between 100-250 followers, 14(16%) had between 250-400 followers, 18(20%) had between 400-600 followers, 17(19%) had between 600-800 followers, and 15(17%) had 800+ followers.  Next, we cross-tabulated this data with the results we found for the question “do you try to get likes on Instagram.” Those results can be seen in figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 shows some interesting results.  The x-axis represents the number of followers mizzou students have. While the x-axis is numbered 1-7, those numbers actually represent the number of followers the respondents have. For example, 1= between 0-100 followers. The y-axis represents the number of respondents who answered the question “do you try to get likes on Instagram.” The blue line represents those who responded yes to that question, while the red represents those who answered no. As the graph shows, the number of respondents who had more followers desired more likes, and those who had less followers desired less likes.


This research can improve life in a variety of ways. It can be beneficial to businesses and their marketing campaigns, In can help strengthen connections between friends and family, and can help you get more likes for your personal benefit. The more Instagram likes the better, right?

Businesses will be able to increase the amount of exposure their company or brand receives on Instagram if they used the data provided that most people are on Instagram between 3:00PM and 7:00PM. Instagram exposure is free for business so they may as well utilize it to its capacity.

Strengthening connections between friends and family is easy using Instagram when you know how to use it effectively. Creating wedding hashtags, birthday posts and shoutouts, congratulations posts, are all ways to use Instagram to connect with family and the best time to post these photos will be between 3:00PM and 7:00PM in order to maximize the number of likes.

The more followers a person has, the more likely they are to chase likes. When it comes to the personal benefits, improving your Instagram growth, the amount of likes you receive, and your reach to outside sources can be best achieved when you post during the desired time as well.


There is a strategic way to use Instagram to improve your social media presence in multiple ways, your professional life, personal life, and your connection with family and friends as well. When it comes to your business and career with social media you can use our data to help your company receive more likes and attention in a free and marketable way. Our research can help your  personal life with increasing your own personal followers, and improving your own brand online. Lastly, our research can help improve your connections with family and friends, by reaching more people with our data, you can help keep your current connections and help increase them as well. Overall the data we have collected through our research  is very relevant in today’s world of social media and can help you in a variety of ways throughout your life.

Categories: Uncategorized

Politics Schmolitics

Research conducted by: Michael Fish, Kyra Heatly, Brianna Whitney, and Mary Beth Shearn


In our research study, we wanted to determine how Mizzou students find their political information and how they discuss it with their peers via social media. We interpreted this into four research questions that are answered via Mizzou student survey that was posted by each member of the research group. Based on past literature, the younger American audience heavily discusses politics via social media and our evidence supports this. The survey results are explained through pie charts and then followed by take away points of what we all learned from the results of the survey.  Our research questions determine where Mizzou students find their political information and how they discuss it with their peers via social media. What we narrowed down with one another and wanted to focus to find out more about was in our four research questions which are:

RQ1: What communication mediums do Mizzou students use to access political information? Such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

RQ2: Why are Mizzou students motivated to publicly post about politics?

RQ3: Do dissenting opinions of you personal political beliefs discussed face-to-face or on social media bring you discomfort?

RQ4: What classes at Mizzou engage Mizzou students to discuss politics more freequently/less often? Such as Political Science, History, Communications, etc

Increasing social media usage affects the perspectives we have on important issues in our life. People gather the information from a variety of news sources. It allows people to express themselves. Our culture is consumed with media. Looking down the line, say, 10 years from now, will show us how far we have come with social media. We wonder what it will be like even two years from now. It seems a little scary to think about.

The reason why these questions are what we found to be important and to focus on is because social media provides greater communication mediums for our age group, they increase the amount of knowledge we receive, and they increase the potential for us to engage in political discussion with our peers face-to-face. (Shirk, 2011, p 29)

Political information, especially in campaign seasons, is more readily accessible and shown on social media in an attempt to attract attention to a young audience, while advertising to older communities on television (Price, 2012).

Our IRB was approved the morning after Tim Wolfe’s resignation. Our Facebook feeds were flooded, so our first assumption of the survey. Second assumption would be increased motivations to post a dissenting perspective because of campus climate. We connected our findings with the ConcernedStudent1950 and looked at numerous social media sights that showed people expressing their opinions, updates with what was going on, etc.

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We began to find our results by creating a Qualtrics survey. Each member posted the survey for our political study via Facebook, via text, and word of mouth. We opened up the Qualtrics study on November 12, 2015 and had it remain open for 27 days. In all, 120 participants began the survey, but only 94 completed the survey. For survey results, we were pleased to find that our male to female ratio for who answered the survey was quite similar in that the percentage of males that took it was 46% and females that took it was at 54%. Therefore, the method of using the Qualtrics survey worked in our advantage, unlike other groups and we think this is because we asked people to take it using multiple outlets.



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Some interesting points from the results we also found were there was relatively no gender bias in data. The amount of males that took the survey was 46% and the amount of females that took it was 54%. Now, this is only coming off of the 94 individuals that completed the survey of the 120 that actually started it. From this, and based on the trend of the two data sets, what we concluded is that it’s not far fetched to think that if the extra 26 people had completed the survey, that our results would correlate further and justify our present results.

Another interesting thing we found was that there was a somewhat evenly distributed political identity in the survey. The amount of Democrats and Republicans were relatively the same when it came to how much they posted, or how overt they were with talking about political issues and their own views.


We had missing data because not all participants completed the survey. Only 94 of the 120 completed the survey so this is where we can’t fully prove that our results are completely true, but the comparison of other data says it’s possible and that it is more accurate than not. Keeping the survey open accidently for an extra 3 days helped this.

We also had contradictions. A large number of participants stated they did not care for the discussion of politics on social media yet the majority of participants claimed that they would respond to initiated discussions. Our social media news feeds say otherwise. People said they didn’t post , or engage in political discussion, but we saw and see it everywhere. Self reporting social media use is wildly inaccurate of what we found. As past research has suggested, the younger generation, preferably millennials, will be discussing politics on social media further and further.

Categories: Research

Instagram Usage at MU- Attempting to Explain the Fascination Behind the Mobile Application

Research done by: Samantha R. Difranco, Rachel E. Michaels, Jordan P. Emmer, Eric M. Schmeisser, and Brittney R. Roberts


Opening my various social media apps, I notice everyone’s mother has taken over Facebook and Pinterest, while Twitter feed and Snapchat is dominated by brands, celebrities and those few funny ‘friend-of-a-friend’s’. So where did everyone go? I open my Instagram app and scroll through the photos. Selfie of my friend… Nike shoes… a birthday collage dedicated to someone I don’t know… tree branches. Wait, I stop. 386 likes. My brother’s girlfriend posted a photo of tree branches against a blue sky captioned with a cat emoji and 386 people liked it. This is incredible.

Instagram is a simple app with one main purpose; to share photos. It launched in 2010 and as of September 22nd, 2015, it has 400 million monthly active users (Instagram, 2015). The numbers make it clear that visuals are the future in social media. When students meet for the first time they don’t exchange phone numbers or names to find each other on Facebook anymore, but rather they exchange Instagram handles.

But, how does a photo of tree branches receive 386 likes? Everyday people, like you and me, have over 7,000 followers on the app and they post photos with hundreds to thousands of ‘likes’. It seemed to us, this is a trend in the younger generations, though we wanted to do some research ourselves because we are fascinated by this popularity of Instagram.

In order to explain the fascination behind Instagram we asked the following research questions:

RQ1: What types of pictures are being posted to Instagram by Mizzou Students?

RQ2:What are the attitudes and interests of Mizzou students using Instagram?

RQ3:What are the attitudes and interests of Mizzou students using Instagram?


To conduct our study, we surveyed 182 students at the University of Missouri using an online Qualtrics survey. Participants were all completely voluntary and were required to be a full-time undergraduate student, age 18-24, and currently attending the University of Missouri. Out of the 182 participants, 156 had Instagram. We administered our survey by posting it on MU related Facebook pages, such as MU Class of 2016 and MU Class of 2020, and by asking our peers to participate. This ensured that we got participants from each age group and class at MU. The survey was open for three weeks and two days.

We asked 21 quantitative, closed-ended questions about how often students posted to Instagram, what types of pictures they are posting and how often, and questions measuring the attitudes and interests of Instagram users at MU. We chose this method in order to get clear-cut and precise results and calculations. We also asked for each participant’s gender and student classification in order to cross-tabulate our findings and analyze the differences in ways that each class and gender uses Instagram.

In order to answer our research questions, we asked the following: What types of pictures do you post to Instagram and how often? How often do you post to Instagram? Do you care about how many likes you get? Is Instagram a big deal to you? Do you care about how many people follow you? Do you wish that you had more followers?.

We analyzed our data by using Qualtrics’ data analysis and drawing percentage amounts of the amount of people that had Instagram. We cross tabulated our results with the participants gender and student classification.


We believe the study worked because we were able to track Instagram usage habits of University of Missouri undergraduates. We were able to obtain a sample of 182 undergraduate students who had taken twelve or more credit hours at Mizzou in the current semester. We then did a cross tabulation between freshman and seniors and between genders.

For our first research question, “What types of pictures are being posted to Instagram by Mizzou students?”, we found most people post photos of friends, family, nature and MU-related activities. Of the respondents, 99% of females, 88% of males, 94% of freshmen, and 100% of seniors all said they post pictures of friends and family. 65% of all boys and 88% of seniors post pictures of nature. Lastly, 77% female, and 64% freshman posted pictures of MU.

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Our second question asked, “What are the attitudes and interests of Mizzou students using Instagram?”. This question found that everyone cares about how many likes they receive. Both 69% of females and 69% of freshman say that they do care about how many likes they receive, while 40% of boys and 51% of seniors care.  

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Our third question asked, “How often do Mizzou students post to Instagram?”. The research question found that 52% of females post more than once a week to instagram while 43% of all freshman post more than once a week.

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Instagram is a place for visual storytelling. It created a community for sharing images and a new way of expressing oneself through visual engagement. This generation has a lot to say about where they are, what they are doing, items they bought, and the friends that they have. After some time of posting images you create a visual storyboard of your life for the world to see. Instagram has made taking photos more enjoyable and memorable. Before I created an account, I actually hated taking pictures and being in them. However, now everybody, including myself, enjoys taking pictures, adding filters, posting it to Instagram, and seeing how many people ‘like’ your photos. If you have an Instagram account, odds are you have already checked it once or twice today. Due to this popularity we decided to look into the social media site and its usage between younger and older generations.

Using quantitative questions to get a clear understanding and precise results, our group, then looked to Qualtrics to aid in analyzing our data. We surveyed 182 full time Mizzou students ages 18-24 and only 26 did not have Instagram accounts. Females, as well as freshman, tend to use Instagram more when compared to males and seniors. Also, it is eminent that all participants care about how many ‘likes’ they receive on their pictures. Naturally, the things we love most are being posted to our social media community.

The world we live in is constantly evolving, and there are several forms of communication, some people would have never imagined. This information is crucial in understanding how college age students communicate today because it is part of our culture. Our results tell us that Instagram is important in everyday life for this generation. Students would like for other individuals to see what they consider important in their life, through a picture. The photos become objects of value, and students at MU are communicating with them. ‘Likes’ can bring attention and awareness to the daily activities of students and can even bring the community closer together. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but on Instagram that same picture is worth far more.

Categories: BLOG 8 Tags: , ,

How Tigers Find Their Homes


Alissa Gibbons, Norine McGovern, Hannah Downs, Angela Gallozzi, and Kurtis Prather

As Mizzou student population gets bigger, so does the demand for attractive off campus housing options for students. We conducted an online survey in order to ask students what housing options they choose as well as how they choose them. Our focus was mainly on Mizzou students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors because they are more likely to live off campus. We considered things such as price, distance from campus, amenities, neighbors and how roommates were chosen. This research is important because having a comfortable affordable living situation plays a large role in the college experience.

For this study we had three central research questions. They are as follows:

  1. How do undergraduate students find their housing?
  2. What do Mizzou students prefer in student housing
  3. What is the most popular type of housing for Mizzou students?

These questions were the bases for our study. From them we underwent a literature review and developed hypotheses before we launched our online survey.

Through the literature research, we found that most students prefer to have a bedroom with a desk and an apartment with a kitchen and a dining room are ideal (Najib, Yusof and Osman 2011). The importance of having off campus living options is extremely important according to an article written by Waldman (2002). He indicates that it is essential for students to be able to make their own home instead of ‘living in a cube for their college career;’ however he also discusses the monopolization of the housing market by schools by narrowing down the choices for students. We can use this information to look at the housing market in Columbia and see the level of involvement Mizzou has on our choices. In an article by Manino, we found research that there is an increase in the amount of students going to universities; thus causing on campus university housing to not be able to keep up with the rising numbers. Because of this, there seems to be an increase in the amount of luxury style apartments that are being built in college towns- this is something that we can all clearly see happening at Mizzou. In an article named “Trends of Student Housing: Process and Product,” it’s discussed how some schools require freshman and sophomores to live on campus, while upperclassmen often live off campus. The last article that we looked at discussed the factors that can affect a student’s decision of whether or not to live on campus or off campus. These factors include campus activities, the size of the campus, and what the rates for living off campus are comparatively (Petrova).

From this literature review we were able to find multiple sources that had researched similar topics as to ours; thus providing us with enough background knowledge to make educated hypotheses on what our survey data would reveal. We constructed four hypotheses:

  1. Student’s preference for traveling to and from school would primarily be walking
  2. The new luxury complexes would be the most popular style of living for students.
  3. Word of mouth would be the most popular way for students to find out about housing options.
  4. Student’s average budget wouldn’t exceed $1000 a month.


For our research method, we created an online survey using Missouri Qualtrics. This survey used a variety of question styles, like multiple choice, ranking, and Likert scale questions.

We used ranking questions in order to get an idea of what is most preferred in regards to housing, method of travel to and from campus, and neighbor preference. These questions gave us an idea about what is the most popular for students and what is the least wanted for students in regards to their housing.


We used multiple choice questions for questions where we wanted one, straightforward answer. We used multiple choice for form of communication to find their housing, price range, number of roommates, and gender preference of roommates. These questions were great to cross tabulate to discover what type of people prefer the luxury style of living.

We used Likert scale questions to discover what extras people need/enjoy in their housing. These “extras” include parking being included in the rent, the social atmosphere of the housing, allowing pets, and luxurious extras such as a pool, gym, and private bathroom.

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All participants of our research project had to be undergraduate Mizzou students who live off-campus. This means that the majority of our participants are upper-class students. We recruited people to complete our survey through posting the survey on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and sending out the survey link to our friends and to our peers through organizations that we are a part of. In total, we received 100 responses to our survey.

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To analyze our data, we looked at our on-line survey results. We compared our results with our research questions and hypotheses to see if Mizzou undergraduate students communicated that they prefer the luxury style of living.

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Timeline of our research project.




The most notable results from our surveys are illustrated by the following graphs.


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Percentages of the most popular ways student communicate to find their housing options.

Word of mouth was by far the most common method students used to find their housing, followed by general online searching at a distant second. This question is important because it highlights exactly how students find their housing, and what helps to dictate the trends we see in housing selection.

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Percentage of students who prefer each price range for their housing each month. $400-$700 is the most preferred

This question shows that students consider such luxury amenities as a gym or a pool to be less important, however standard utilities such as a washer, dryer and a parking space to be important.

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Percentage of students who either strongly agree or agree that these amenities are important

This data shows us that students tend to desire reasonably priced luxury housing over cheap or extravagant living. This correlates with the large amount of luxury apartments currently available to students, and that that number continues to grow each year as more luxury housing is built. Students seem to want to stay in the $400-$700 range. 

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Percentages of the most popular style of housing to live in.

Our results show that individual houses are by far the most desired form of housing for Mizzou undergrads, at almost two thirds of the student body wanting to live in an individual house. The close second, apartment complexes, are the first choice of only 21% of those surveyed. This shows us that while students prefer luxury housing, they also enjoy privacy as well.

From our findings, we believe that Mizzou undergraduate students who live off-campus prefer luxury living– to a certain extent. We found that students communicate with one another through word of mouth to find their housing, and we have also seen a growing trend of luxury-style apartments being built throughout the Columbia area. From this we hypothesized that luxury-style living has become an off-campus housing trend among Mizzou undergraduate students. Our survey told us that students prefer to pay between $400 and $700 dollars each month for their housing. We researched popular housing complexes in Columbia, like The Domain and Aspen Heights, and found that some of the popular luxury-style apartments start around $500. These complexes include the luxury amenities, like a pool, a gym, a study room, a private bathroom, etc. Our survey found that these luxury amenities are not as important to Mizzou undergraduate students as the basic amenities, such as a washer and dryer, parking, and utilities included. This is why we believe that students prefer luxury living, but only to a certain extent. Another reason we believe that luxury living is not the most popular, but it most likely will be soon is because the majority of students who completed our survey said their preferred method of travel between their housing and campus is walking, but driving was the most popular second choice. Analyzing all of these results as a whole led us to believe that the housing trend is quickly changing to luxury living being the most popular.

Our goal for this research project was to find out what Mizzou Tigers look for in their off campus housing. We looked into how they find their housing, what amenities they prefer in their housing, and what the most popular type of housing is for Mizzou students. To conduct our research, we surveyed 100 Mizzou sophomore, junior, and senior students over a period of four weeks. We asked them questions about their current living situation, what their housing ideals were, and how they found out about their current residences. We believe this is important research because it gives an insight to how realtors and investors should adjust their properties to appeal to the student population in Columbia. In addition, it helps realtors to better communicate with prospective tenants at their properties. In terms of recommendations for realtors who view this data, affordable student housing seems to be the most important. People are willing to give up certain amenities for a cheaper price. Amenities that are most important include parking and a washer and dryer unit. Having these amenities, but keeping housing affordable is what will make a property the most attractive to a prospective tenant. As the Mizzou student body grows, more housing units will be built; they will only be successful if they have qualities and amenities that are attractive to the students.


Categories: Research

Blog 7: Shortage of Mental Health Professionals

November 17, 2015 Leave a comment


1- This article talks about the shortage of mental health professionals and breaks it up state by state. It discusses how mental health professionals need to help those who tend to struggle with English. The greatest need for professionals are in rural remote populations of the country. The the states with with the biggest shortages are: South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma.

2- So they are having people who aren’t professionals help translate for them- what steps can they make to help these not professionals be more productive and beneficial? What areas have the best professionals and least amount of shortage? And why do you think that is that way?


3- The information came from the U.S. Census Bureaus, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administrations, Kaiser Family Foundation and Stateline Analysis.

Categories: BLOG 7, Uncategorized

Blog #7

November 17, 2015 Leave a comment

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Prostate Screening Drops Sharply, And So Do Cancer Cases <a href=”″></a></p>&mdash; NPR Health News (@NPRHealth) <a href=”″>November 17, 2015</a></blockquote>

1. This article talks about new data that supports not only a large drop in prostate cancer screenings, but also a large drop in prostate cancer cases. I chose this article because I wanted to investigate whether the drop was simply caused by the lack of people screening.

3. The tweet is from NPR Health.The researchers found that the rate at which men were diagnosed with prostate cancer fell from 505 per 100,000 in 2010 to 416 in 2012.  The study was published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

4. Other than telling us who conducted the study, the article does not tell us how specifically the data was collected. I am wondering how it was collected, and how the sample was created, how large and why.

Categories: BLOG 7, Uncategorized