News Update on Communication Studies Research: May – 2019

Nonverbal Communication

The present chapter focuses on the relation between nonverbal communication and globality. Firstly it describes, from a historical perspective, the theoretical development concerning body language, starting with its inclusion in ancient rhetoric unto the creation of the concept of “nonverbal communication” in the middle of the twentieth century. According to the worldwide increase of intercultural contact and interaction caused by the effects of globalization, the chapter reveals and discusses in which way, as a result of this, the increased crossing-over of cultural coded habits, in addition to changing individual body consciousness, challenges humanity as well as scholars in the study of the nonverbal sphere, addressing also the areas of electronic media and Internet-based communication. [1]

Policy, Practices and Communication Studies. The More Things Change

Over the next three years I am fortunate enough to be entrusted as a caretaker of Communication Studies, the flagship journal of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA). I want both readers of the journal and CSCA members to know that my goal is to publish the best communication research submitted to the journal—regardless of theory, methodological approach, or research paradigm. Priority will be given to manuscripts that advance our knowledge of communication or replicate and extend previous research (see McEwan, Carpenter, & Westerman, 2018McEwan, B., Carpenter, C. J., & Westerman, D. (2018). On replication in communication science. Communication Studies, 69(3), 235–241. doi:10.1080/10510974.2018.1464938[Taylor & Francis Online][Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]).

In Dr. Frank Boster’s editorial statement for Communication Monographs, he outlined his belief that many manuscripts in communication science are overwritten. In graduate school I quickly found Dr. Boster’s assertion persuasive. In his editorial statement he also indicated a willingness to entertain longer manuscripts, which I also am open to when multiple studies are reported. Manuscripts will always be examined by two, sometimes three, reviewers and all decisions made by the editor are final. It is my hope that many scholars will consider Communication Studies as their first outlet to submit their best scholarship. [2]

Working Closets: Mapping Queer Professional Discourses and Why Professional Communication Studies Need Queer Rhetorics

This article examines the importance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rhetorical approaches in professional communication theory, introducing the theory of working closets as central to understanding how LGBT professionals navigate and succeed. The author presents case studies of LGBT professionals at the headquarters of a national discount retail company as examples of working closets and asks what the implications are for professional communication studies. He also looks at the need to learn from and through queer rhetorics, cultural rhetorics, and social justice frameworks, especially given the cultural turn of professional communication studies in the early 21st century. [3]

Communication with general practitioners: a survey of spinal cord injury physicians’ perspectives

Study design

An online questionnaire.


To gauge spinal cord injury (SCI) specialists’ assessment of their communications with general practitioners (GPs). To determine whether economic or health-care system-related factors enhance or inhibit such communication.


A collaboration of co-authors from a health-care system.


An online survey interrogating a number of aspects of communication between SCI specialists and GPs was developed, distributed, and made available for 4 months. Responses were analyzed for the entire cohort then according to descriptions of participants’ home nations’ economies and the type of health-care delivery systems in which they work.


A total of 88 responses were submitted. The majority (64%) were from nations with developed economies, a plurality (47.1%) were from countries that offer universal health coverage, and half used a combination of paper and electronic health records. A majority of respondents (61.8%) reported routinely communicating with their patients’ GPs, but most (53.4%) rated those communications as only “fair”. The most commonly listed barriers to communication with GPs were lack of time (46.3%) and a perceived lack of receptivity by GPs (26.9%). Nearly all respondents (91.6%) believed that the care they provide would be enhanced by improved communication with GPs. Participants who used electronic means of communication were more likely to communicate with GPs and to describe those interactions as “positive”.


Although there are a number of barriers to communication between SCI specialists and GPs, most SCI specialists are eager for such inter-physician communication and believe it would enhance their care they deliver. [4]

Locus of Control Synergies in New Language Learning and Cultural Adaptation: A Communication Center Perspective

This study documents how students learning English as a second language exhibit various levels of internal and external locus of control in their learning process. Focus group interviews were conducted with 21 non-native English speakers from seven nations enrolled in an intensive English language learning program at a mid-size research university in the southeastern United States. All participants engaged regularly in conversational practice at the university’s oral communication center. Participants were asked about the processes they used for learning English and what their sources of motivation were. Thematic content analysis revealed that internal and external locus of control tended to operate synergistically in the process of learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. Motivation to initiate and persist in new language acquisition emerged from a blend of personal agency, inspiration from family and teachers, and social exigencies. The dynamic interplay between internal and external locus of control challenges common portrayals of these dimensions as antagonistic. Learners often range across levels of internal and external orientations, suggesting need to reconsider characterizations of internality primarily as an enhancer and externality primarily as an inhibitor of learning. [5]


[1] Albert, M., 2019. Nonverbal communication. In The Bonn Handbook of Globality (pp. 453-461). Springer, Cham. (Web Link)

[2] Avdi, E. and Seikkula, J., 2019. Studying the Process of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: Discursive and Embodied Aspects. British Journal of Psychotherapy35(2), pp.217-232. (Web Link)

[3] Cox, M.B., 2019. Working closets: Mapping queer professional discourses and why professional communication studies need queer rhetorics. Journal of Business and Technical Communication33(1), pp.1-25. (Web Link)

[4] Communication with general practitioners: a survey of spinal cord injury physicians’ perspectives

Michael Stillman,Kristin Gustafson,Guy W. Fried,Karen Fried &Steve R. Williams

Spinal Cord Series and Casesvolume 5, Article number: 44 (2019) (Web Link)

[5] Schwartzman, R. and E. Boger, K. (2017) “Locus of Control Synergies in New Language Learning and Cultural Adaptation: A Communication Center Perspective”, Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 21(1), pp. 1-13. doi: 10.9734/BJESBS/2017/34367. (Web Link)

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