First Advisor

Larry A. Steward

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Scholarly periodicals, Journalists



Physical Description

3, vi, 141 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


A review of the literature on paradigm development within academic fields revealed that researchers have drawn distinctions between disciplines with greater paradigm development (discussed as discipline-wide consensus) and disciplines with lesser paradigm development. Several of these investigations centered on paradigm development and evaluative criteria used by academic journal editors for judging scholarly work. The purpose of this study was to ascertain Speech Communication journal editors' opinions of paradigm development within their field. A two-part survey was developed and mailed to eleven editors of the major Speech Communication journals. Data generated from the survey were analyzed using a descriptive methodology. Part A of the questionnaire was a partial replication of Beyer's (1978) research concerning journal editors from ten major journals in four disciplines: Physics and Chemistry (greater paradigm-developed fields), and Sociology and Political Science (lesser paradigm developed fields). Degree of paradigm development within Speech Communication was examined through journal editor policies and practices concerning: difficulty in arriving at decisions for accepting or rejecting a manuscript, article length, manuscript revision, and length of time between manuscript submission and publication. The mean, range, and mode statistics were used to derive editorial practices within Speech Communication. Mean scores from four fields investigated by Beyer (1978) were then descriptively compared to mean scores from Speech Communication in order to see where Speech Communication fit on the continuum of greater to lesser paradigm development. Part B of the survey was initially tested through a Pilot Study administered to five faculty members in the Department of Speech Communication, Portland State University. They were asked to "act as if they were editors of a major Speech Communication journal" for the purposes of completing the questionnaire. Respondents were requested to answer several open-ended questions related to their views of paradigm development in the field and to comment as to whether or not they believed paradigm was an indicator of discipline maturity. Data were content analyzed. Responses to the Pilot Study assisted in the conceptual refinement and placement of questions in Part B. Part A and Part B were then combined in the Survey of Editors questionnaire and administered to eleven Speech Communication editors-in-chief. All of the editors completed and returned the survey. The results of the study showed that while Speech Communication journal editors believe there are paradigms operating within the discipline, they indicated a concern that paradigm development could preclude the maintenance of an eclectic perspective. Therefore, they do not think that paradigm is a sign of discipline maturity. In addition, the editors expressed a desire to improve the quality of scholarship within the field but that some kind of organizing principle is needed to facilitate this improvement. Finally, based on the results of this study, the discipline of Speech Communication was found to be a lesser-developed paradigm field.


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