Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Lawrence R. Frey

Second Advisor

Leah Sprain

Third Advisor

David Boromisza-Habashi


This communication activism for social justice research (CAR) study created and implemented storytelling workshops to improve the communication of migrants who are English language learners (ELLs), by increasing their knowledge of and experience with U.S. cultural norms and narrative practices for conversation. Prior to the intervention study, a preliminary study, which used ethnography of communication (EC) and cultural discourse analysis (CuDA), was conducted to explore situated meanings of communication in Conversations in English (CIE) groups that ELLs attended at a local library. By using findings obtained from that preliminary study to design, implement, and study the storytelling workshops in which ELLs participated, the intervention study demonstrates how EC and CuDA can inform interventions, as well as how communication design can be used to plan and analyze interventions. The intervention study also shows how English language education and, in particular, teaching ELLs about U.S. cultural communicative practices, can be enhanced through the use of storytelling. Finally, the project reveals important lessons learned about engaging in CAR.