Arab Children and Youth Television: A Study of Role Models

Project: Research project

Project Details


Social learning scientists have shown that much of learning that occurs during early cognitive development is acquired through observation and imitation (Shonkoff, Phillips & National Research Council, 2000) – often of role models. This undergraduate research experience focuses on role models offered to Arab children via television content––increasingly available on DVDs and online platforms. Over the past few decades, hundreds of studies have examined how programming on television affects children and young people. While a direct causal link is difficult to establish, many studies have suggested that some children may be particularly vulnerable to media images and messages (Pecora, Murray & Wartella, 2006). Moving beyond these inconclusive studies, three students from Northwestern University in Qatar join forces on a three-tier research project involving collecting case studies, expert opinions, and parental experiences to offer a systematic understanding of how these role models may function in our society. Under the guidance of their instructor, they will present their findings in conference papers and a video documentary. The general purpose of this research is twofold. The first purpose is to offer students a set of frameworks and guidelines for conducting research that leads to informed media production decisions. The second is to offer an intervention in the field of Arab children and youth media, addressing both academic and non-academic communities. The aim is to ultimately engage academics, media practitioners, young people, their teachers, and parents in a discussion about television’s content in the Arab world.
Effective start/end date6/8/1512/8/16


  • Qatar National Research Fund (UREP17-198-5-059)


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