Career Exploration Paper

A senior paper that explores the relationship between communication theory and concepts and a career is an exercise in applied communication research as the goal of the paper is to address two practical questions, “How do the theories, concepts and skills I have learned relate to a career?” and “What relevant skills and concepts do I need to address as I prepare for this career?” As an example, a student recently explored corporate training and development as an organizational communication career option. Other topics of interest might include, but are not limited to, politics and political communication, health and the role of the communication professional, or communication and the law. While the career exploration option emphasizes application, the project must demonstrate thorough research, thoughtful analysis, and effective writing skills. The final paper must be 20-25 pages (double-spaced) and will adhere to the tenets of good writing as measured by organization, syntax, punctuation, and the appropriate use of APA style. The paper should include each of the following sections:

  • Introduction – A good introduction captures the reader’s attention, identifies the area of concern, presents a theoretical/methodological approach, and establishes the purpose and significance of the paper.
  • Review of Literature – The review of literature will introduce the profession from a communication perspective. In addition to summarizing the issues addressed in primary and secondary journals and books, study the profession’s newsletters and web sites. After synthesizing the significant concepts, introduce the specific research questions to be addressed.
  • Methodology – While the research could be conducted in a number of ways, interviews with or surveys of practitioners in the profession and on-site visits will provide experience-based data.
  • Results – Provide a concise summary of the findings from the data collection. If interviews, surveys, and on-site visits were employed, what practical information was acquired that will provide a greater understanding of the profession?
  • Discussion – Interpret the results reported in the previous section by tying them to the concepts presented in the review of literature. The essential goal is to weave the professional’s practical experience to the theoretical or conceptual framework.