Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication & Theatre Arts

Committee Director

Tim Anderson

Committee Member

Sarah Florini

Committee Member

Thomas Socha


This thesis conducts a critical discourse analysis on definitions of the term “media literacy” used by researchers in media literacy educational interventions. These definitions are compared to the skills developed in participants of media literacy interventions. This comparison reveals if and how researchers are operationalizing their stated definition of media literacy. Over half of researchers are using the definition proffered by the National Association for Media Literacy Education. However the disagreement in the field around a definition of the term “media literacy” has created confusion. This confusion has left educators falling back on practices scaffolded by the previous educational paradigm. This research finds that the definition of media literacy put forth by NAMLE addresses the paradigm shift that has taken place in the field.


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