Sarah Staggs is a postdoctoral researcher and data analyst at Arizona State University. She received her Doctoral degree in Communication (May, 2017) from University of Arizona. Sarah earned her master’s and undergraduate degrees at the University of Wyoming in the Department of Communication and Journalism. Her research has two focuses. During her graduate career, She researched small group decision-making processes and mass media effects, specifically, the cognitive aspects of priming and audience accessibility and the applicability of mediated information in jury decision-making. Broadly, that research sought to understand how people are cognitively affected by media narratives, and how those cognitions affect small group decision-making, interpersonal influence, regarding guilt of a criminal defendant. During her postdoc, her research has transformed from understanding characteristics of small group decision-making, to understanding characteristics of individuals willing to participate in cyber hacking groups. This project takes a game theoretical approach to examine the relationship between gender differences, media influence, and decision-making among individual and group hacking behaviors. Specifically, this research will address individual and group level characteristics of hackers and media influence on the likelihood of hacker decision making. She has spent the 2017-18 academic year working on grant projects and data collection regarding those cyberpsychological relationships.
She primarily uses social scientific, quantitative research methods, yet she is familiar with qualitative methods as well. She is trained in experimental design for the social sciences, survey design, and public opinion research, quantitative and qualitative content analysis of media coverage, and advanced statistical analysis for the social sciences. These skills can translate seamlessly into the marketing and data science analytics in the world of corporate decision-making.
She has publications in three peer-reviewed journals, one book chapter, and five conference presentations. She won two top-student papers at the National Communication Association Conference in 2015, one of those papers being the sole-author. She serves as a reviewer for The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied and for the Journal of Communication Quarterly, and is a member of the National Communication Association.
Sarah has taught and assisted at various course levels in a diverse set of classroom environment’s (e.g., large introductory lecture-style courses, technology-focused classes in computer labs, small elective-style classes and a strictly online-classroom). She has been discussed among professors as one of the best Research Methods graduate student stand-alone instructors they have seen at UA, to the extent to which they asked her to build the first online graduate student-taught Research Methods class for the communication department. Her overall teaching evaluation average while at UW and UA is a 4.33 (on a 5-point scale) across all courses.