Research Abroad | Kent State University

Research Abroad

Rigorous. Focused. Creative. Global.

CCI is committed to offering master’s and doctoral students theoretically sound and interculturally rich research experiences. Through individualized guidance and a growing network of global partners, CCI’s Research Abroad helps provide students with opportunities to engage with other cultures as they pursue their specific research interests. Whether they are conducting scholarly or applied research or pursuing creative work, our ultimate goal is to help students generate new knowledge, deeper understanding and significant insights – a quest that is seldom confined to a single country or culture.

A sampling of recent Research Abroad opportunities includes:

Bespoke London

Media and Polarization

To understand the extent to which media choice, specifically news media coverage, might be linked to heightened polarization surrounding the referendum asking British citizens whether the nation should leave or remain in the European Union, CCI doctoral student Mark Turner employed a qualitative research approach. Turner conducted a series of interviews in London during spring break 2017 and found that consuming specific media with an overt ideological agenda from specific outlets was a symbol and symptom of existing polarization in the United Kingdom, but that the referendum did not start the fire.

Being in London less than a year after the vote was a stroke of lucky timing for Turner and the Bespoke London cohort, but Turner believes that the trip would have been fruitful for his research at any time.

"The United Kingdom has a different outlook from the United States on its expectation of media and the idea of objectivity. The differences showed through data and through anecdotal experiences I could have only captured on this trip abroad. Also, the collegial nature of Bespoke London can’t be understated. In a qualitative approach, the data analysis requires careful dissection and reflection. Being able to share the ongoing analysis with other students doing research as an outsider in another country was extremely valuable,” said Turner. “Traveling is ``the trip abroad will not only inform my academic career going forward, it will inform my life.”

Soccer Fandom

CCI doctoral student Zach Humphries also traveled to London with the Bespoke London cohort to conduct research on how soccer (football) fans in London perform their fandom in online and offline environments. He also studied how these performances impact societal structures within the communities and neighborhoods in Northern London.

“For me, researching abroad opened my mind to new ideas, opportunities, and research interests. It was such a luxury to be able to travel abroad and gain valuable experience while simultaneously expanding my research portfolio,” said Humphries.

International Children's Literature & Librarianship (Denmark)

A cohort of graduate and undergraduate students from CCI’s School of Information (iSchool) spent two weeks in Denmark with Professor Marianne Martens studying international cultural production for children, particularly in the context of children’s literature and librarianship.  

Using Denmark as a case study to examine the cultural construction of “childhood,” students conducted inquiries on a range of questions, including “What does it mean to be a child?”, “What is appropriate for children?”, “Do children need protected?  From what?”, “Of what are children capable?”, and “What issues are faced by professionals working with children?”  Students sought to answer these questions through hands-on cultural experiences including visits to libraries, schools, museums and other cultural institutions, as well as dialogues with Danish LIS professors, librarians, educators, politicians, Ministry of Culture staff, graphic storytellers, and book publishers.  Drawing on knowledge and experience gained from her time in Denmark, program participant Kelly Baldwin, a non-degree graduate student in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies (TLC) and a lead teacher at Kent State’s Child Development Center,  wrote an article titled “The Power of Using International Picture Books with Young Children," which was accepted for publication by the National Association for the Education of Young Children in their peer-reviewed professional journal Young Children.

"Studying in Denmark provided me with a context for thinking critically about the social construction of childhood, cultural production for children, and the roles of adults in young peoples’ lives.  Working to understand aspects of Danish culture also shed light on my own cultural experiences, helping to bring to the fore the cultural norms, values, and beliefs that dominant my own home cultural context.  Making comparisons between the two contexts gave me a meaningful position from which to ground my research,” Baldwin said.

International Storytelling: Ghana

CCI undergraduate and graduate students taking this semester-long course with CCI professors Mitch McKenney, Suzi D’Enbeau and Tiffany Alexander spent spring break 2017 in Accra, Ghana, researching, writing, designing and producing multimedia stories related to aspects of the Ghanian culture.  One project focused on:

Queerness in Ghana

To better understand the complexities and perceptions surrounding this social issue, CCI graduate students Kelsey Husnick and Daniel Socha, advised by Dr. D’Enbeau, spent two weeks on the ground in Ghana interviewing 16 men and women of different religious backgrounds about their perceptions of queerness, Ghanian laws about queer individuals, and United Nations discourses about queer individuals. The impetus for this research project was a desire to better understand perceptions of queerness in Ghana. Ultimately, the CCI researchers hope their work will not only extend theoretical considerations of how policy and practice intersect but also inform better practices and policies for queer rights advocacy in Ghana.  

"Our trip to Ghana allowed me the opportunity to develop skills for researching in international settings. This project inspires me to continue research that is intertwined with social change and practical application,” said Socha.

"To complement this research, Daniel and I are also writing a feature story about LGBTQ advocacy leaders in Accra. My undergraduate degree is in journalism, and I want to use that background and media as a platform to translate academic research into content that is easily digestible by the public. I hope this is the first of many such international projects, as I get ready to start a doctoral program in the fall,” Husnick added.   

Support for Research

The CCI Doctoral Student Travel Fund is designed to help CCI’s doctoral students travel for purposes related to their academic success and career advancement, including conference travel and study abroad/away.

Students in the CCI doctoral program can receive money to support their travel to attend an approved conference or take part in an organized study abroad experience through Kent State University. Students can receive no more than $2,000 over a two-year period, determined by the academic calendar (August-July). For more information on the fund and the application process, contact Dr. Danielle Sarver Coombs, interim associate dean for research and graduate education.

The CCI Doctoral Studies Committee will review all applications for funding and may decide to fund only a portion of the requested amount. Because funds are limited, please note that not all applications can be funded.