Research at the School of Communication and Information reflects the School’s unique interdisciplinary identity, in which the fields of information science, library studies, communication, journalism, and media studies come together to provide a range of integrated perspectives on vital questions and challenges related to the nature and function of communication, information and media institutions, policies, processes and systems – as well as their impact on individuals, organizations, and communities.
Our faculty includes scholars recognized nationally and internationally for excellence and innovation in basic and applied research of contemporary communication, information, and media related problems. SC&I research is characterized by its methodological diversity, with an interdisciplinary faculty that employs a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches. Behavioral, social scientific, historical, humanistic, and critical research approaches are each richly represented in the school’s scholarship. Problems are also addressed through the design, engineering, and evaluation of tools for research and everyday use. SC&I researchers also are well-known for their commitment to engaged scholarship. Many faculty at SC&I conduct research that directly addresses key questions and challenges facing policymakers, public interest organizations, community groups, or communication and information-related industry sectors. Reflecting this perspective, SC&I faculty frequently obtain external support for their research from government agencies, foundations, NGOs, and industry organizations.
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Interdisciplinarity energizes a research university and stimulates new ways of asking questions and solving problems. Indeed the complexity and multifaceted nature of many of the most pressing questions and issues in the rapidly evolving realm of communication and information mandate cross-disciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking. Reflecting this philosophy, the current areas of research emphasis within SC&I cross the range of disciplines housed within the school:
Health and Wellness: Community wellness and individual and collective health are major issues in the 21st century. Our faculty who study health communication campaigns and message design, e-health, knowledge management in health organizations, science journalism and health reporting, patient-practitioner communication, disclosure, and myriad related fields are helping shape policy and understanding of critical wellness issues.
Social Media Interaction and Collaborative Design: Every day, we’re doing more together using technology and virtual interaction. Our faculty are increasingly concerned with learning in virtual environments, relationship maintenance using social media, corporate and community use of social media, the burgeoning business of social applications, and creative collaboration in gaming worlds.
Global Media, Community, and Democracy: Twenty-first century technological developments are changing how we stay informed; in turn, our relationship to our communities and democratic participation is evolving. Topics of importance to our faculty in this area include, but are not limited to, transnational media, niche outlets, citizen journalism, new media and social movements, race and class, poverty, political empowerment, and the evolution of traditional media.
Organizations, Policy, and Leadership: It is critical to understand how modern communication and information challenges affect organizations, policy makers, and leaders. This research area focuses on the intersection of technology and media with traditional communication studies in persuasion, organizational change, collaboration, identity, and other concentrations. Scholars in this area study e-learning, converging media, corporate social responsibility, and communications policy, among many other interests.