Research Literacy

Relevant Courses: All courses within the Master of Arts in Communication Program. Special Emphasis on: COM 658 Creativity and Networks, COM 680 Expanding Communication Boundaries and COM 681 Launching Passion into Practice

Research literacy within the communication discipline demonstrated by the ability to create and complete at least one inquiry project that:

WHAT is research literacy? Research literacy is “The ability to be a critical consumer of research, and also, where possible, to design and undertake at least a small-scale research project in the discipline, using appropriate methodology.” (SESE, Section 4.1). Throughout this program Research Literacy was paramount to the projects undertaken in the Communications program. Research literacy became more than just a part of the course of study….it WAS the course of study. Therefore, the culmination of that understanding is illustrated in the preceding bullets and essentially outline the purpose fulfilled in COM 680 Expanding Communication Boundaries and COM 681 Launching Passion into Practice. Therefore, each paper prepared for the COMM courses led up to the Comprehensive Communication Problem Project is the final product of each of those five tenants! 

  • Articulates a communication problem, strategy, or initiative to be analyzed and evaluated
  • Adopts an epistemological standpoint
  • Locates, aggregates, and analyzes credible research
  • Drafts a literature review that supports and illuminates a chosen area of inquiry
  • Composes and supports arguments using at least one theoretical framework

SO WHAT did I learn? One of the most exciting things I have learned is how to take an ordinary, real-life problem and examine through a different “lens”. In COM 680, I was tasked with preparing an extensive Strategic Communications Plan which addressed the flow of communications throughout a University system and the system’s local Community College. The University System chosen as the subject was the Univeristy of Arkansas System, located in Little Rock, Arkansas and the local college is my employer, the Univeristy of Arkansas Hope Texarkana, with two campus locations, one in Hope, Arkansas and the second branch campus in Texarkana, Arkansas. The unique relationship between the two instituations is one to be examined and applauded as the goal of the relationship between the two is transparency in the flow and publication of information  and activities which affect the college stakeholders, that being system administrators and the community college administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of the community which support and partner with the local college. Using a theoretical framework, the purpose was to demonstrate how the two institutions worked together to promote transparency and clarity in regard to univeristy and community college business and the adequate and fair use of community resources to meet the community college goals.

NOW WHAT I have learned that it is important to note that without the extensive learning of the research process and the emphasis on research literacy, a good academic paper cannot be written. What entails that extensive learning? It is the reinforcement of the five “points” listed under the “What” section. The devising of the thesis and the argument, as well as the supporting facts from empirical research is essential in validating the agrument(s) themselves. The use of the mateiral gained from academic researchers aids in building up or essentiallly tearing down the agrument. That is why the term “empirical” is used to describe research practices, in order to determine the qualtative or quantative evidence found from prior observation of a phenomena that is directly related to the research question or argument. 

LINK TO APPROVED INQUIRY FOR COM 680: Bridging Communications Strategy in Practice