Undergraduate student research continues despite COVID constraints


A focus on experiential learning is a key success factor for students in the College of Business Administration. This hands-on learning is an essential component in the marketing research class taught by Jim McKelvey, associate professor of practice, with assistance from Doug Magill, a doctoral candidate studying industrial-organizational psychology and graduate assistant in the Suarez Behavioral Research Laboratory.

In this marketing research class, students learn about different marketing research techniques and conduct research using the Suarez Behavioral Research Lab's state-of-the-art technology. Through the use of iMotions eye-tracking and facial expression technology, students gain keen consumer insights.

Despite a pandemic-related pivot to an online class environment, Tabitha Meers, a student studying HR management, and Elias Lignos, a sales management major, conducted a research project using remotely collected facial expression data that examines the use of disparaging humor in advertising.

Under the supervision of faculty members McKelvey and Dr. Sydney Chinchanachokchai, the students reported their findings in a conference paper that was accepted in the Undergraduate Student Research track for the national Marketing Management Association conference.

The paper also won the conference’s Best Undergraduate Research award. This achievement is also notable, as few business schools incorporate facial recognition technology in their curriculum.