Sarah Staggs: Researcher, Instructor, Photographer

Sarah Staggs is a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona in the Department of Communication and will graduate with her doctorate in May 2017. Sarah earned her master’s and undergraduate degrees at the University of Wyoming in the Department of Communication and Journalism. She researches 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, her research seeks to understand how people are cognitively affected by pretrial publicity narratives, and how those cognitions affect deliberation, interpersonal influence, and decisions of guilt amongst suspected criminals. 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.

She has publications in two peer-reviewed journals 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 is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants.

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.