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Research Literacy

Research - old school

Kickin’ it old school (or semi-old school) with actual books, print outs of articles, and a spiral notebook.

Learning Outcome

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

  • 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


COMM 610: The Social Construction of the “Chick” Entrepreneur

COMM 616:  Firefly as Dwelling Place

COMM 624:  Google, Inc. as Global Internet Gatekeeper (Group paper)

COMM 680/681: Final Inquiry Project (in progress): A (Cyber) Communicative Home: Leadership in an Unstructured Online Space


I still enjoy reading and writing on paper, as the picture of my desk (above) illustrates, but most of my research looks like this:

Research - EBSCO

And my “desk” looks like this (equally as cluttered be it CMC or IRL):

Research - Internet

The obvious example of research literacy is my final inquiry project, my thesis; however, I’ll be addressing that project in the section on Comprehensive Communication Project. All of the listed examples involve the required elements of research literacy: however, I will focus on  The Social Construction of the “Chick” Entrepreneur as an example of how all of these elements go together.

1. Articulates a communication problem, strategy, or initiative to be analyzed and evaluated

I examine an issue that has arisen as a result of the rapid rise of women-owned businesses–entrepreneurial identity. Entrepreneurship has been historically gendered male, so a new wave of women entrepreneurs is entering the marketplace with few role models and/or examples of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

2. Adopts an epistemological standpoint

In COMM 601, I constructed a Philosophical Assumptions Matrix to place myself on an epistemological, ontological, and axiological spectrum. I placed myself then, and remain now. somewhere between constructivist and social constructivist. In this inquiry project, I took a very specific epsitemological standpoint, social constructionism, as reflected in the paper’s title. My other work reflects a similar standpoint.

3. Locates, aggregates, and analyzes credible research

For this project I used a variety of research sources to place the work in the context of both academic and business literature. I used the EBSCOHost Communications/Media Databases portal to search for academic research on gender and entrepreneurship. I also used course textbooks for research. In addition, I searched popular and business media for stories on the rise and impact of women entrepreneurs. This allowed me to place my research in both academic and mainstream worlds.

4. Drafts a literature review that supports and illuminates a chosen area of inquiry

This was one of my shortest literature reviews (theoretical framework was discussed separately), but I look back on this as an example of using the literature review to locate and illuminate my argument. I focused on four themes in the literature:  the social construction of individual, gender, organizational, and entrepreneurial identity; organizations and entrepreneurship as “male” gendered; female entrepreneurship as a resistant act; the construction of female entrepreneurial identity by popular culture. This set the groundwork for my addition to this body of research with my designation of the “Chick Entrepreneur.”

5. Composes and supports arguments using at least one theoretical framework

This project involved multiple theoretical frameworks (method and theory document embedded in original post). I used  Ashcraft’s (2004) four frames for communication, organization, and gendered identity to explore how entrepreneurship might be gendered male and what female resistance to that gender bias might look like. I then explored feminist theory, with a focus on third wave feminism, to create a lens for the textual analysis that followed.

When I entered the program, I had never heard of a literature review. I conclude the program actually having a favorite literature review (StalcupAngela_OrganizationalIdentityProject_020715). It probably doesn’t hurt that I was here when I wrote it:

2015-02-06 13.33.27

I learned that with just a literature review and theoretical framework, I could express my own standpoint. (I also learned that I must NEVER try to write a paper on a business trip where I have beach access–this is as close to the beach as I got because I was stuck in my room writing my paper.)

If I love theory, then I adore research. I believe that the Internet is the best invention of my lifetime as it gives me a world wide web of sources for research. I leave this program with an even greater appreciation for all there is to study and know.

Favorite Research Trick: Boolean search – [(women or woman or female) and (business or entrepreneur)]


Ashcraft, K. (2004). Gender, discourse, and organization: Framing a shifting relationship. In D. Grant, C. Hardy, C. Oswick, & L. Putnam (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational discourse (pp. 275-291). London: Sage.


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