Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education and Human Development

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr Danielle Herro

Committee Member

Dr. Meihua Qian

Committee Member

Dr. Golnaz Arastoopour Irgens

Committee Member

Dr. Matthew Voigt


This Mixed Method Research (MMR) study, using a convergent parallel design, explores the practices of middle school students as creators and consumers of false information-free media. It investigates their ability to identify falsehoods, explores the impact of false information on various aspects of their lives, and introduces an innovative media production boot camp to foster awareness, detection, and prevention of false information dissemination in their media creations. The research, conducted with six participants, employs a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, including video and in-person observations, interviews, surveys, and artifacts. Integrating quantitative and qualitative data enables a comprehensive exploration of the research questions. Quantitative results provide statistical evidence of knowledge improvement in creating false information-free media, while qualitative insights offer context and personal perspectives, reinforcing overall conclusions. Findings indicate that middle schoolers significantly improved their knowledge, awareness, and skills in identifying false information through interest-driven media creation activities during the boot camp. Activities such as media deconstruction, storytelling, media literacy games, and hands-on media projects contributed to enhanced self-efficacy in identifying false information and positively influenced media creation and sharing behaviors. While the study showcased numerous successes, it also highlighted challenges, including time constraints, minor technological issues, and occasional peer collaboration difficulties. Participants recognized the substantial impact of false information on individuals, spanning financial, psychological, and political dimensions. Additionally, the research offers practical guidelines for middle schoolers to create false information-free media. In conclusion, this study underscores the effectiveness of conducting media creation and media literacy activities beyond traditional classroom settings. It recommends structured yet flexible frameworks, creative freedom, source questioning, peer collaboration, educational games, detection guides, diverse media formats, and sustained engagement for middle school educators aiming to cultivate media literacy, responsible media consumption, and false information detection skills among middle schoolers.

Author ORCID Identifier

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024