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Research

We're using research to tell authentic, nuanced stories that move people to action. Our cutting-edge studies on immigrant advocacy and representation in news, digital, and entertainment media shape all of our work.

Entertainment Partnerships & Advocacy

We compile data and create resources to help entertainment industry creatives evolve in their understanding of American immigrants.

Five immigrant characters of different races from TV and film.
Guide

Telling Authentic Immigrant Stories

See the latest edition of our comprehensive resource for writers, filmmakers, creators, and entertainment professionals who want to tell accurate, humanizing immigrant stories.

Change the Narrative, Change the World
Report

Change the Narrative, Change the World

Our groundbreaking television research on immigrant representation with the Norman Lear Center is changing storytelling in Hollywood.

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Report

Immigration Nation: Exploring Immigrant Portrayals on Television

Our inaugural study with the Norman Lear Center compares scripted television depictions of immigrants and immigration issues with the reality of the immigrant experience.

Journalism Partnerships

Our original research informs our data-driven, comprehensive tools for journalists covering immigration.

Reimagining Immigration News: North Carolina’s Case for the Nation
Report

Reimagining Immigration News: North Carolina's Case for the Nation

The culmination of a one-year research project where Define American wanted to understand how local news consumers respond to media coverage about immigrants in North Carolina as a case study for the nation.

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Toolkit

A Toolkit for Immigration Reporting

A resource for journalists on best practices for working with immigrant sources and how to use anonymity.

An ocean wave looms over several news headlines mentioning 'migrants', 'surge' and 'crisis'.
Report

The First 100 Days of the Biden Administration: A 'Surge' in Negative Language Around the Border

We analyzed 12 news organizations’ immigration coverage during President Biden’s first 100 days, tracking their use of neutral terms and negative terms like "surge, wave, or flood" which dehumanize individuals seeking asylum.

Reporters raise hands in the White House press room.
Report

The Language of Immigration Reporting: Normalizing vs. Watchdogging in a Nativist Age

Major U.S. newspapers used dehumanizing labels to refer to immigrants at a steadily increasing rate from 2014 – 2018.

Digital Storytelling

Our original research tracks and analyzes anti-immigration narratives on social media.

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Report

‘Immigration Will Destroy Us’ and Other Talking Points

The culmination of three years of original research at Define American looking at the impact, tactics, and reach of anti-immigration narratives on YouTube — and tools to fight back.

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Toolkit

Popping the Immigration Filter Bubble

In the digital age, we know that effective messaging campaigns online require hyper audience targeting. This guide is a framework for content creators to reach a specific and important digital audience in our fight for the human rights of refugees, migrants, and displaced peoples.

Storyteller Support & Advocacy

We conduct original research with immigrant storytellers to better inform narrative change practices, seeding systemic shifts in the field to center advocates for greater power, agency, and wellbeing.

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Report

American Dreaming

The culmination of two years of research with 40 storytellers from the immigrant rights movement who bravely shared their stories through the Obama, Trump, and Biden eras of U.S. history, American Dreaming is a guide to better inform how we work with storytellers.