Adapting and Advancing Organizational Communication Research Methods: Balancing Methodological Diversity and Depth, While Creating Methodological Curiosity

Adapting and Advancing Organizational Communication Research Methods: Balancing Methodological Diversity and Depth, While Creating Methodological Curiosity

Keri K. Stephens (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2823-4.ch009
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Abstract

Organizational Communication scholars have a rich history of encouraging multiple approaches to data collection and analysis. In this chapter, I provide examples from our recent history that illustrate how we have developed our broad perspective on research methods. I also disclose the struggles I had when trying to decide how to represent the trends in published methods found in Management Communication Quarterly between 2000 and 2015. My analysis revealed that approximately two thirds of the papers published in MCQ used a qualitative approach to data collection. Mixed methods were rare, while using multiple methods was more common and has been stable over time. The chapter ends by highlighting pedagogical issues surrounding our field's acceptance of methodological diversity. I argue that as teachers, we must not lose the value of educating the next generation to be methodologically deep in some research approaches. However, we must also encourage methodological curiosity; a mindset that will allow our students to continue learning methods well beyond their graduate education.
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Recent Publications On Research Methods Used In Organizational Communication

Organizational communication scholars are establishing our expertise by writing books that explain and describe research practices and methodological approaches. Sarah Tracy’s (2012) book, Qualitative research methods: Collecting evidence, crafting analysis, communicating impact, does a nice job describing a range of approaches and practices. She also accurately argues that qualitative researchers are often forced to comply with traditional journal formats and expectations for research publications. Peter Monge and Nosh Contractor’s book, Theories of communication networks, is another example of how our scholars are establishing our methodological expertise and demonstrating how theory is tightly tied into method. Finally, scholars regularly publish communication methods textbooks that are broadly used throughout the field of communication (e.g. Frey, Botan, & Kreps, 2000; Keyton, 2015)

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