ERIC Number: ED236733
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
On the State of Speech Communication Research.
Sillars, Malcolm O.
The discipline of speech communication was established early in the twentieth century. After its subject matter was defined and separated from the field of English by Herbert Wichelns's "The Literary Criticism of Oratory," departments were established and a separate organization--The National Association of Teachers of Public Speaking--was formed. In the first issue of "The Quarterly Journal of Public Speaking," James Winans initiated the emphasis on research. Although beginning theory came from classical rhetoric, early writers and researchers were drawn to the behavioral studies of psychologists. Even the emphasis in historical critical research was on learning correct principles rather than on understanding the history of oratory. Since 1950, there has been a growth of attention to informal discourse in dyads and groups, and, more recently, a new influence from some scholars in other fields of the social sciences. Today, with the growing interest in cultural metaphors and naturalistic inquiry, the field of communications is seeing the signs of a radically new synthesis. Communications has the people to make the new syntheses--first class experimentalists, able historians, scholars who understand the cultural role of the media, and critics familiar with the rhetorical tradition and other literary trends. This openness of research, this pluralistic approach to research, characterizes the state of speech communication research today. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1983).