Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Steimel, S. (2014). Mapping a history of applied communication research: Themes and concepts in the Journal of Applied Communication Research. Review of Communication, 1-17. doi: 10.1080/15358593.2014.942353


In recognition of the National Communication Association’s 100th Anniversary, this article maps the content published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research (JACR) over the last four decades to develop a picture of what applied communication research has emerged and how that research has changed through the journal’s history. This study mapped 678 research articles over the four decades of JACR’s existence. Results reveal a strong overall orientation towards applied research in nine interest group divisions: organizational, health, public, group, family, interpersonal, training, women, and media. Analysis of the four individual decades that span JACR’s history depict a journal responsive to its socio-historical time and place and a journal adapting and adopting more expansive definitions of whose communication (voice) and how communication (model) over time. This analysis demonstrates future opportunities and challenges for applied communication scholarship as an important part of our National Communication Association specifically and communication research generally.