University of Kentucky
The Robust Case Study project began with the development of technology capable of providing the real time feedback from national television news coverage necessary for enterprises such as government agencies and organizations in the food industry to take into account public sentiment regarding their risk and crisis communication. The project evolved beyond television tracking to include the development of message strategies designed to increase knowledge and confidence in the general public for engaging in self-protection during food and water contamination events. Experiments were conducted to determine the extent to which instructional messages shared via television, newspapers, Twitter, and YouTube could increase intentions to engage in self-protective behavior. The project produced a set of best practices, an ideal message design, and a series of lessons learned based on case studies of food-related crisis events: for the 2010 Egg Recall case, 2012 Lean Finely Textured Beef case, 2012 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy case, 2013 Kraft versus foodbabe.com case, and the 2014 West Virginia water contamination case. A summary of the case studies, a set of PowerPoint slides for training, a narrated video demonstrating an ideal risk communication message for training purposes, as well as 12 refereed journal articles sponsored by multiple disciplines, 10 book chapters, 1 book, and 24 conference presentations. End-user discussions have also involved the International Food Information Council, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Meat Institute. The best practices and message design data has also been adapted for projects involving the United States Geological Survey. In addition, the findings have been applied in collaborative research with two other DHS Centers of Excellence: CREATE and START.