First-round Finalists for the 2018 Prize Announced

The $10K Research Prize for 2018 Sponsored by the Joy McCann Foundation


Delineating CSR and social change: Querying corporations as actors for social good
Authors: Lucinda AustinBarbara Miller Gaither, MaryClaire Schulz
Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Disciples: Communications, Public Relations
Journal: Public Relations Inquiry (in press now)

Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing
Authors: Dan KahanAsheley Landrum, Katie Carpenter, Laura Helft, Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Affiliation: Yale Law School, Yale University
Disciples: Psychology
Journal: Advances in Political Psychology

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-government
Authors: Dan Kahan, Ellen Peters, Erica., Dawson  & Paul Slovic
Disciples: Psychology, Communications, Political Science
Journal: Behavioural Public Policy

Liberals and Conservatives are Similarly Motivated to Avoid Exposure to One Another’s Opinions
Authors: Matt MotylJeremy Frimer, Linda Skitka
Affiliation: University of Illinois at Chicago
Disciples: Psychology, Political Science
Journal: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Beyond the Roots of Human Inaction: Fostering collective effort toward ecosystem conservation
Authors: Elise Amel, Christie Manning, Britain Scott, Susan Koger
Affiliation:  University of St. Thomas
Disciples: Psychology:
Journal:  Science

Moral Outrage in the Digital Age
Author: M.J. Crockett
Affiliation: Yale University
Disciples: Psychology, Neuroscience
Journal: Nature Human Behaviour

Movin’ on Up? How Perceptions of Social Mobility Affect Our Willingness to Defend the System
Authors: Martin V. Day, Susan T. Fiske
Affiliation: Day (Memorial University of Newfoundland); Fiske (Princeton University)
Disciples: Psychology
Journal: Social Psychological and Personality Science

Unblurring the Lines of Sexual Consent with a  College Student-Driven Sexual Consent Education Campaign
Authors: Rebecca Ortiz, Autumn Shafer
Affiliation: Syracuse University
Disciples: Communications, Marketing/Advertising, Public Relations
Journal: Journal of American College Health

Healthier Than Thou? “Practicing What You Preach” Backfires by Increasing Anticipated Devaluation
Authors: Lauren Howe, Benoît Monin
Affiliation: Stanford University
Disciples: Psychology
Journal: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

The framing of women and health disparities: A critical look at race, gender, and class from the perspectives of grassroots health communicators
Author: Jennifer Vardeman-Winter
Affiliation: University of Houston
Disciples: Communications, Public Relations
Journal: Health Communication

Defensive Responding to IAT FeedbackAdditional
Authors: Jennifer Howell, Liz Redford, Kate Ratliff, Gabrielle Pogge
Affiliation: University of California, Merced
Disciples: Psychology, Public Health
Journal: Social Cognition

Identity Concealment and Social Change: Balancing Advocacy Goals Against Individual Needs
Authors: Michael H. Pasek, Gabrielle Filip-Crawford, Jonathan E. Cook
Affiliation: The Pennsylvania State University
Disciples: Psychology
Journal: Journal of Social Issues

The Unifying Moral Dyad: Liberals and Conservatives Share the Same Harm-Based Moral Template
Authors:  Kurt Gray, Chelsea Schein
Affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Disciples: Psychology
Journal: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Changing Climates of Conflict
Authors: Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Hana Shepherd, Peter Aronow
Affiliation: Princeton University
Disciples: Sociology, Psychology, Political Science
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The Effect of a Supreme Court Decision Regarding Gay Marriage on Social Norms and Personal Attitudes
Authors: Margaret Tankard, Elizabeth Levy Paluck
Affiliation: RAND
Disciples:  Psychology
Journal: Psychological Science

The Nature and Origins of Misperceptions: Understanding False and Unsupported Beliefs about Politics
Authors: D.J. Flynn, Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler
Affiliation: Dartmouth College
Disciples: Psychology, Communications, Political Science
Journal: Advances in Political Psychology

Storytelling and evidence-based policy: Lessons from the grey literature
Author: Brett Davidson
Affiliation: Open Society Foundations Public Health Program
Disciples: Communications, Political Science, Public Health
Journal: Palgrave Communications

Activist Strategic Communication for Social Change: A Transnational Case Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Activism
Author: Erica L. Ciszek
Affiliation: University of Houston
Disciples: Communications, Public Relations
Journal: Journal of Communication

Public Understanding of Science: Policy and Educational Implications
Authors: Gale M. Sinatra, Barbara K. Hofer
Affiliation: University of Southern California
Disciples: Psychology, Communications, Other: Public Understanding of Science
Journal: Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Storytelling for Social Change: Leveraging Documentary and Comedy for Public Engagement in Global Poverty
Authors: Caty Borum Chattoo, Lauren Feldman
Affiliation: Center for Media & Social Impact, American University School of Communication
Disciples: Communications
Journal: Journal of Communication

Read more about the finalists’ work here. 

About the Prize

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is proud to continue its annual Research Prize in Public Interest Communications. This prize celebrates peer-reviewed research that informs the growing discipline of public interest communications.

The College awards three prizes for research that either:

  1. contributes to the understanding of the field as a unique discipline
  2. offers insight that can improve the effectiveness of public interest communications practice
  3. details a specific public interest communications campaign, including analysis of the reasons for its success or failure
  4. explores evaluative measures
  5. documents specific ways in which public interest communications differs from similar disciplines
  6. provides insight on how to communicate effectively

The college will award one $10,000 prize and two $1,500 prizes to research that meets one or more of these requirements. For more information about our awards program, check out our 201720162015 and 2014 prize winners.

What is Public Interest Communications?

Public interest communications is a growing discipline that uses science-based, strategic communications to drive positive social change on issues like education, better health and climate changeIt draws principally on the disciplines of public relations, advertising, marketing, journalism, sociology, communications, psychology, public health, and political science.

Governments, non-profits, foundations, public relations, advertising agencies and corporations all engage in public interest communications, but also engage in many others forms of communications. Examples of effective public interest communications include campaigns to change behavior such as reducing smoking, increasing seatbelt use, and inserting the concept of the designated driver into American culture, but also include efforts focused on policy change and activism.

While public interest communications has been practiced for decades and has contributed significantly to health and well-being throughout the world, it is only recently recognized as a unique academic discipline and profession.

Qualifying submissions

Only completed research intended for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or research that has already appeared in a peer-reviewed journal may be submitted for this prize. All research submitted should have been completed within the past two years.

Research may come from any discipline, and will be judged by its relevance to using communications to driving social change. Work from previous entrants has come from the disciplines of public relations, sociology, psychology and political science, though future submissions are by no means limited to those disciplines.

Submissions will be judged based on demonstration of the following:

  1. Sophistication, originality and rigor of research methodology.
  2. Relevance of the research findings to the study and practice of public interest communications.
  3. Contribution to the understanding of public interest communications as a unique form of communications.

The following must be submitted to our frank submissions page:

  1. A 200-word description of why the research is relevant to effective social change communications.
  2. A 300-word abstract.
  3. A pdf copy of the full-length paper. There are no length requirements for the paper.

We will post the 200-word description with the authors’ names to the frank website. We will edit these descriptions for clarity and consistency with style guidelines.

Finalists will participate in a coaching session to help them prepare their content and their visuals for their presentations during frank gathering.

Finalists will also be required to participate in frank (scholar, 2018), a novel academic conference, that brings together researchers from various academic disciplines to collaboratively cultivate research that ignites lasting behavioral, institutional and social change. This conference will take place during frank February 6-9 2018 .

More Information

Finalists are expected to present their work during the frank gathering, a conference for social change communicators at the University of Florida.

The conference registration fee will be waived and hotel rooms will be provided. The winners will be expected cover their own airfare and other expenses through their award funds.

Conference organizers will reach out to the winners to discuss specifications for their presentations and to coordinate travel arrangements.

Submission Dates for 2018 prize

Submissions close December 1, 2017 at 5 PM ET

First round finalists has been extended to December 18

Finalists announced in early January

Questions about the prize should be directed to the frank research director Annie Neimand.