Agenda-Setting Theory: the Past and Looking Ahead

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This paper examines agenda-setting theory research to date, beginning with its origins in the landmark 1968 Chapel Hill study and extending to present day applications typically revolving around third-level agenda-setting. Particular focus is placed upon the facets-the three levels of basic, attribute, and network agenda-setting, as well need for orientation, consequences, origins, and agendamelding-identified by the theory's seminal authors, Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. Future directions for research are also addressed, including applications in China (and Chinese media), Russia, and health communication (especially non-mental illness related conditions). Within the health communication aspect, a subpoint of focus is how health condition stigma is communicated. While the target of this paper was to serve as something of an all-encompassing literature review, the scope of agenda-setting theory is quite large and thus this served as somewhat of a mini-review. This paper was written for Dr. McKay-Semmler's Fall 2019 SPCM 701 Introduction to Graduate Studies course.

First Advisor

Kelly McKay-Semmler

Research Area

Communication Studies

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