Freshman Research Scholar teams up with an associate professor on a peer-reviewed journal article
Sierra Steelman was nervous when she signed up in 2019 to participate in Oklahoma State University’s Freshman Research Scholar program. She didn’t know what to expect and certainly wasn’t planning to get a research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, a rare achievement for an undergraduate student.
Steelman, now a sophomore in the Spears School of Business majoring in management information systems, and Dr. Andy Luse collaborated on the paper, “This Isn’t Your Parent’s TV Show … Oh Wait, It Is” that will be published in Drake Management Review.
Steelman began working with Luse, an associate professor in the Department of Management Science and Information Systems (MSIS), as part of the research program last year when he asked her to help analyze research he had been accumulating since 2014. Since then, Luse, a serious fan of television, has been getting to know his students better in class by asking them what their favorite television shows were and recording their responses.
He was surprised by their answers. The popular belief was that 15- to 22-year-olds prefer to watch Stranger Things, Game of Thrones or The Vampire Diaries. Luse said he believed that the current generation of students frown on old stuff, whether it’s games, books, technology, movies or TV shows. The prevailing thought is that this generation prefers all things new.
Steelman, from Vinita, Oklahoma, told the OSU faculty member that she disagreed, and the research proved her right.
“I’m not really the type of person who will say, ‘You’re wrong about that,’” she said. “I figured if that’s his initial thought, then there are probably a lot of other people who must agree, even though I know that it’s wrong.”
Instead, Luse was surprised to find that the television viewing habits of undergrad students over the sevenyear period included shows popular in the 1980s and ’90s like Friends, The Office and Seinfeld.
“It just amazes me what they’re watching. The shows they’re watching, we’re getting to the point now that it was off the air before they were even born,” said Luse, who points out that the ninth and final season of Seinfeld ended in May 1998.
Data from Luse and Steelman’s research shows that younger generations prefer older content, counter to prevailing thought. The research also suggests that this generation’s preference for old TV shows is only growing stronger over time, providing interesting results for online content providers.
Using answers from 318 OSU students from 2014 to 2020, Steelman gathered data from each TV show that students listed as their favorite. Results show that over Luse’s first four semesters, between 65 and 80 percent of students said their favorite TV show was a current program. But between 2016 and 2019, the percentage was 50- 50 current vs. older. By spring 2020, 75 percent of the students listed an older TV show as their favorite.
Steelman and Luse teamed up to write the paper for the Midwest Association of Information Systems regional conference. They were asked to expand it and submit to a journal, with the added help of MSIS faculty member Dr. Jim Burkman. Drake Management Review accepted it for publication.
“This research collaboration between a veteran MIS researcher and a talented college freshman illustrates how committed our faculty are to all students, not just in the classroom but also in developing new potential researchers,” said Dr. Rick Wilson, professor and head of the Department of Management Science and Information Systems. “Andy and Sierra should be applauded for going the extra mile on this research endeavor. This is what the college experience is all about.”
Steelman says her first serious research experience has piqued her interest.
“I’m definitely more interested,” said Steelman, who attended the Information Systems Technology for High School Students camp, hosted by MSIS, in the summer of 2016. “I’m still not really sure how to get into it, but I’m looking forward to learning more about research and its impact in the next few years. It’s a chance to share my knowledge and my expertise with everybody else. I have a lot of questions and I know a lot of other people have questions, so if I have the answers, I would want to share that with others.”
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