Jewell Davis, a recent graduate of JSU, says she was “shocked and blessed” to have her research selected for presentation at the 2018 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications Conference (AEJMC) in Washington D.C. this past August.
Davis, who received her master’s in mass communication in May, wrote a thesis titled “Music Use and Genre Choice as Coping Strategies for Emotions” and her advisor, Dr. Li Jing Chang, encouraged her to submit it to the national conference. Since it was her very first conference submission, the graduate student was elated upon learning she was chosen as a presenter.
“I just thank the Lord,” she says, with laughter in her voice.
Chang, also an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at JSU, could not be reached for comment.
Davis explains that she wanted to turn her love of music into something that students and professors can use indefinitely. Employing a survey method, she discovered that respondents used music frequently to help cope with stress, deal with issues or concerns and express their emotions.
“Additional results showed that rock, country, and pop music are the top three genre choices that people use to cope with specific emotions and mood maintenance,” Davis says. “And people use music more frequently to maintain their current mood.”
For instance, she explains, if someone is in a melancholy mood, his or her music will reflect the same, and they rarely attempt to change their music choices to create a new feeling.At the conference, approximately 30 researchers presented their findings and Davis shares that she had the chance to engage with professors, students, fellow presenters, and conference participants from across the nation.
Each presenter was given four minutes to summarize their work before break-out sessions allowed for one-on-one Q&A.
“When you know your research, and your passion and my passion is music, it’s like the words, research and data naturally flow.,” Davis responds, when asked if she caught a case of the nerves.
The alum then explains that her research also provides the following takeaways:
1.) Health benefits – findings can be used to help patients cope with their emotions;
2.) Marketing benefits – data can be used to illicit buying moods; and
3.) Genre-emotion link – Yielded fascinating data after testing ten genres of music for possible impact on emotions
The inspiration for her thesis stems from her childhood where, at the age of 5, she learned to play the piano from her grandmother. “And my dad and my two uncles had their own musical band. So I grew up around music completely,” she says. “Literally, from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, I listen to music all day. Even when I was writing this paper, I was listening to music.”
Davis also expresses that music is the universal language. If an individual can’t speak a particular language, they can still understand it by feeling the beats, the rhythm and the count. “That’s what connects people across the world. That’s how I feel,” she explains.
For future research, Davis says she would like to explore online music accessibility, and the effect internet access has on people’s music selections. The graduate would also like to study how music influences the way people grow up and their environment.
Davis adds that if it was not for Dr. Chang’s encouragement she might have missed her moment on a national platform. She also extends thanks to her alma mater for the opportunity and the leadership of Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony, chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
Attending the conference, Davis says, has given her a fresh perspective. “No matter what your circumstances are, no matter the college or state that you come from, don’t be afraid to take a chance.”
The AEJMC is a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. The association’s mission is to advance education, foster scholarly research, cultivate better professional practice and promote the free flow of communication. Each year, in a predetermined location, the group hosts the four-day conference.