Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Public Relations (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Groover


This thesis project examines how social media was used during the measles outbreak in the United States from February 1, 2015-April 30, 2015. This content analysis research project will examine social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, on the basis of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The media outlets will be observed in order to determine the context of the measles outbreak, and the responses from the public (positive and negative) about how they felt or reacted to the information. In order to examine the social media outlets, research from the CDC and WHO websites, and evaluation of specific hashtags appearing in "tweets” and “statuses” were the methods used. After researching the portrayals from the public, analyzing crisis communication and situational crisis communication theory that correspond to the information found will allow for a better understanding and reasoning behind the different media portrayals of the measles outbreak.