Researching the research

Scores of databases chronicle journalism and mass communication research. Think about topics within the field of journalism research that interest you. Visit one of those databases like EBSCOhost's Communication and Mass Media Complete online (most libraries provide access to some).

Flashlight: Find three articles on the changing practices of journalism, including one international article. Discuss these questions: What are the similarities and differences of these articles? What do these articles report? What do they neglect? What was the study behind the article? What did you learn? Do you think professionals would benefit from the insights in the articles?

Spotlight: Look for articles about how journalism education is changing. Are they easier or harder to find than the research on changing journalism practice? Propose a simple piece of research involving an innovative tool or technique and post your idea on a web site covering media innovation.

Searchlight: A precise method to rank and assess the quality of journalism schools still does not exist. Try to interpret the data used by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) to determine which schools have the highest graduation rates or job placement records. Make a list of the top five measurements you would use to rank journalism schools.

Extra credit: You can find good or bad examples of anything, and so it goes with research. But what do you think of the basic idea of scholarship in journalism education? Three leading educators wrote an important report on that issue entitled, "Educating Journalists: A New Plea for the University Tradition." Read it. Write a blog post expressing your view.