Analysis of Refereed AEJMC Convention Paper Productivity in Journalism and Mass Communication

Article excerpt

This study analyzed all Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication refereed convention papers from 1999 to 2008 with regard to author names and author institutional affiliations, in order to rank by productivity individual scholars and institutions globally. All refereed papers sponsored by twenty-seven AEJMC organizational units were examined by author name and affiliation to establish institutional productivity patterns and rankings based on the Carnegie Classification system, and individual productivity rankings per organizational unit. The link between top paper productivity and refereed regular paper productivity was assessed with regard to AEJMC organizational units. While top paper institutional productivity was substantially correlated with institutional refereed regular paper productivity, this was not the case for individual paper productivity. Findings are potentially useful for students, educators, and administrators by filling a void in the literature on leading institutions and individuals across specialties of journalism and mass communication represented in AEJMC.

One common academic ritual is participation in annual conferences or conventions. Regardless of whether these meetings are held regionally, nationally, or internationally, the presentation and discussion of blindly refereed papers is one of the major communication activities in which participants engage. This study utilizes top convention papers to identify leading schools and scholars in journalism and mass communication based on a multiplicity of specialties. Although the study focuses on research productivity, it is also relevant to teaching because the information it provides can be used in foundational classes that introduce students to the norms of research in the field. The institutional rankings in each specialty can provide some guidance to students, educators, and researchers as they select the programs to join based on quality and emphasis.

The study is organized in four sections. First, the research emphasizing top convention papers as a measure of research productivity in communication studies and then journalism and mass communication is reviewed. Second, the methods used in the present study are described. Third, results from the study are presented. Finally, a discussion of the results and areas of future research are emphasized.

Review of Literature

Top Convention Paper as Unit of Research Productivity in Communication Studies. For nearly three decades now, scholars have been paying increasing attention to the patterns of research productivity in communication studies1 with emphasis on units of productivity such as articles, books, book chapters, and citations.2 What is surprising is the paucity of research on top convention papers as a measure of productivity. An exception to this tendency is research3 that has posited the value of top convention papers by noting that these papers "might allow judgments of both [research productivity] quality and quantity." Echoing this justification for analyzing top convention papers as a unit of research productivity, one scholar4 averred that a top (award-winning) convention paper would carry more weight than a regular refereed or contributed paper in tenure and promotion deliberations, and "schools are also likely to use such top convention papers won by their faculty and students for purposes of publicity and recruiting." Indeed, because top convention papers are chosen via a blind review system, they are potentially a more objective indicator of an academic program's productivity or a scholar's performance than a reputational study based on self-report questionnaires or peer ratings such as those in common use.5 This does not mean, however, that the selection process of top convention papers (let alone any refereed convention paper) is without fault. For example, although refereed convention papers are reviewed blindly, this process is not as rigorous as the review of journal articles, which is normally conducted by editorial board members of disciplinary repute. …