6:21 PM

The BP Oil Spill: Possible Research Questions

BP Research Project

Format:  20-minute presentation (engagement encouraged) and follow-up blog post for CommForge

Points:  100

Required elements of presentation:

·      Introduction to research question
o   Why is this question important?
o   What does it help us to learn about the BP oil spill and SC?

·      Justification for constraints of research question (why is bounded the way it is?)

·      Literature review
o   What have others written about your topic or about topics like it?
o   Is your literature scholarly?  If not, can you justify why not?

·     Methodology
o   What data did you look at to answer your question?
o   Why is this the appropriate data to consider given your question?
o   What data is not considered and why?
o   What weaknesses exist in your data collection techniques?  What gaps are there?

·      Findings
o   What are your findings?
o   Are there questions you weren’t able to answer?
o   If you were able to revise your research question now, knowing what you know, how would you do this?

·      Discussion
o   What does your study tell us about science communication generally?
o   Can you make connections to topics we’ve discussed or read about in class?


Format for blog post:

Your blog post will be much less academic than your presentation.  You’ll want to focus on presenting your research question and your findings in a way appropriate for a lay audience.  Your post should be of medium-length and conform to the conventions of blog posting as already discussed in class.


We spent the first half of class tonight generating possible communication-related research questions about the BP oil spill that occurred in the summer of 2010.  Students will spend time preparing presentations and blog posts answering their questions.  Here they are:

Research Questions:  Science Communication and the BP Oil Spill
1.        Looking at commercials produced by BP, how did they frame the spill?
2.       What forms of upstream engagement did BP use, if any?
3.       What was the immediate response of frequent readers of BBC after capping the spill.
4.       How was the local reaction from the Louisiana Newspaper compared to the reaction from the Denver Post, taken from 1 month following the spill?
5.       How do man on the street articles in the New York Times compare with their science communication articles pertaining to the spill?
6.       How did the White House’s framing of the BP spill change over time?
7.       How did the frequency and content of press releases from other oil companies change in the weeks following the oil spill?
8.       How has the model of science communication within BP progressed as a result of the spill?
9.       Following the initial reports of the spill what were the differences in the facts reported by Fox News vs. MSNBC

Comment (1)

When are the presentations and when is the blog post due?