Educational Communication Research Paper Topics

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Educational Communication Research Paper TopicsSee our list of educational communication research paper topics. Educational communication is an umbrella term that encompasses all speaking, listening, and relational constructs and concepts that relate to learning. In the past, researchers have been interested in characteristics of teachers that enhance or hinder learning; student characteristics that increase or inhibit learning; teaching strategies that augment learning; how best to give criticism of student writing and speeches; how best to evaluate student work; how public speaking is best taught; and what should be taught in speech communication and media curricula. More recent work has expanded to the effects of media on children, child development processes, and the use of pedagogical methods and newer technologies to facilitate classroom or distance education.

Educational Communication Research Paper Topics

  • Classroom Instructional Technology
  • Classroom Management Techniques
  • Classroom Power
  • Classroom Questioning
  • Classroom Student–Teacher Interaction
  • Communication Apprehension
  • Communication in Pedagogy
  • Computers and Display Programs in Education
  • Course Organization Programs in Education
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Distance Education
  • Educational Media
  • Educational Media Content
  • Goals of Communication Education
  • Instructional Television
  • Learning and Communication
  • Mentoring
  • Reticence
  • Scholarship of Teaching
  • Sesame Street
  • Speech Anxiety
  • Stage Fright
  • Student Communication Competence
  • Teacher Affinity Seeking
  • Teacher Assertiveness
  • Teacher Clarity
  • Teacher Comforting and Social Support
  • Teacher Communication Concern
  • Teacher Communication Style
  • Teacher Confirmation
  • Teacher Feedback
  • Teacher Immediacy
  • Teacher Influence and Persuasion
  • Teacher Self-Disclosure
  • Teacher Socialization
  • Teacher Socio-Communicative Style
  • Teacher Training in Communication
  • Teacher Use of Humor

Historical Development of Educational Communication

The speech communication discipline began as a group of teachers interested in how best to instruct students in the basics of public speaking. Interest in how to teach new and different facets of the field emerged on a regular basis in the academic journals as interest grew in public speaking, rhetoric, persuasion, and debate, and later in group, interpersonal, nonverbal, intercultural, health, organizational, and family communication. Scholarly concern about K-12, undergraduate, and graduate curricula, as well as the effectiveness of the basic college communication course and speech across the curriculum, also abounded.

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Likewise, early interest in journalism education later extended to radio, television, electronic media, advertising, public relations, and new technologies. This latter area expanded over the past few decades into using television as an instructional device and the effects of media content on children. More recent interest has been in the use of new technology in the classroom or in place of a classroom. Paralleling these interests were studies focused on how teachers can communicate better in the classroom and contribute scholarship in the education area.

Current Research Interests in Educational Communication

classes in how best to teach various communication classes in K-12, college undergraduate, graduate, speaking across the curriculum, and basic course settings. Recent advances in technology have seen past interest in the use of television in instruction move to interests in distance learning and computer-assisted instructional technology in the classroom. Although lectures enhanced by visual technology have consistently produced greater learning, results are mixed for the superiority of traditional vs web-based vs web-assisted instruction.

Whereas ‘communication education’ focused on how to teach speech and related communication classes, ‘instructional communication,’ a broader term, concentrated on how teachers can better communicate with students in the classroom, no matter what the subject.

Research in the rhetorical approach found, for instance, that teachers who are clear, make their content relevant, and structure their messages achieve greater understanding. Several different types of questions asked by teachers lead to different types of assessments. For instance, recall questions assess memory, whereas summary questions assess ability to synthesize. Teachers can punish students (i.e., use coercive strategies) for misbehaving, reward them for behaving in acceptable ways, enact legitimate power in classroom management, use referent power to enhance student identification with them, and increase expert power through increased credibility and authority. Teachers use various classroom- management techniques to take charge of the learning environment, and reward-based techniques tend to work far better than punishment- based ones.

Research in the relational tradition found that teacher verbal (e.g., use of ‘we,’ more self-disclosure, informal names, etc.) and nonverbal (e.g., use of smiling, head nods, eye contact, touch, etc.) immediacy tends to result in greater student motivation and liking for the teacher and subject taught. Recent research has even examined effects of teacher self-disclosure on Facebook on student learning. Teacher humor must also be seen as appropriate in order to be effective at motivating students to learn. These and other teacher behaviors can lead to feelings of significance, value, and confirmation in students, by which students feel empowered to learn just through teacher–student interaction.

As mentioned earlier, one of the main goals of communication education has been to increase communication skills. Educators have attempted to identify important skills – message construction, persuading, informing, relating – that can be enhanced through instruction and that can be reliably assessed. Through this feedback, students can later reflect upon and critique their own communication outside the classroom.

Two major lines of research have examined the impact of educational media on learning. First, interest in all forms of educational media has led to examination of the programs shown and how learning occurs from this content (e.g., Sesame Street). In addition, media literacy programs have been created in school systems to teach children (K-12) and college students how best to critique media messages and understand the commercial nature of the media. The second line of research has examined the use of media in education. Today, PowerPoint, interactive whiteboards, LCD projectors, and other software and hardware technologies are commonplace in instruction, and concern focuses on whether the technology enhances or diverts learning efforts. Often, social networking sites substitute for face-to-face interpersonal interaction.

Future Research

Computer technology at all levels of education has changed the nature of the communication classroom. Journalism students no longer pound out news stories on manual typewriters, and speech students are expected to enhance their presentations with electronic media products. Furthermore, when teachers move from the role of information presenter to that of guide, coach, motivator, or facilitator, the nature of communication will change, especially when highly evolved interactive multimedia technology is involved. Effectiveness of distance education most likely will emerge as a related topic, again as the variety of interactive channels increases for interaction with students.

Other trends have been to examine the interactive teaching/learning environment and the use of teams in the classroom (Shelton, et al. 1999). Much of the research in the past 20–25 years has actually examined the teacher–student communication environment, identifying communication behaviors that can enhance learning. This interaction has become more mediated through use of email, bulletin boards, chatrooms, blogs, Facebook, Skype, tweets, and other out-of-class opportunities for interaction.


  1. Allen, M., Mabry, E., Mattrey, M., Bourhis, J., Titsworth, S., & Burrell, N. (2004). Evaluating the effectiveness of distance learning: A comparison using meta-analysis. Journal of Communication, 54, 402–420.
  2. Gayle, B. M., Preiss, R. W., Burrell, N., & Allen, M. (eds.) (2006). Classroom communication and instructional processes: Advances through meta-analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  3. Mills, C. B. & Carwile, A. M. (2009). The good, the bad, and the borderline: Separating teasing from bullying. Communication Education, 58, 276–301.
  4. Morreale, S., Backlund, P., Hay, E., & Moore, M. (2011). Assessment of oral communication: A major review of the historical development and trends in the movement from 1975 to 2009. Communication Education, 60(2), 255–278.
  5. Morreale, S. P. & Pearson, J. C. (2008). Why communication education is important: The centrality of the discipline in the 21st century. Communication Education, 57, 224–240.
  6. Mottet, T. P., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (eds.) (2006). Handbook of instructional communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  7. Rubin, R. B. (2009). Measurement in instructional communication. In R. B. Rubin, A. M. Rubin, E. E. Graham, E. M. Perse, & D. R. Seibold (eds.), Communication research measures II: A sourcebook. New York: Routledge, pp. 43–56.
  8. Shelton, M. W., Lane, D. R., & Waldhart, E. S. (1999). A review and assessment of national educational trends in communication instruction. Communication Education, 48, 228–237.
  9. Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., Elen, J. & Bishop, M. J. (2013) (eds.). Handbook of research for educational communications and technology, 4th edn. New York: Springer.
  10. Vangelisti, A. L., Daly, J. A., & Friedrich, G. W. (eds.) (1999). Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods, 2nd edn. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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