Richard Alan Nelson: Research Philosophy


I am committed to research and regular publication in books and peer reviewed journals since it is through such study and sharing that we find commonalities that advance our culture. My background is primarily in business communication, especially advertising and public relations (integrated marketing communications). As my CV indicates, my research focuses in two broad areas: (1) media history/ethics, and (2) business practices and strategic planning studies in advertising/marketing, public relations/public affairs issues management, and propaganda/political communication.


My research philosophy stems from the belief that these related fields are interdisciplinary and cannot be understood in isolation. In all my research, it is the problem or issue explored that drives the method and not vice-versa. This pragmatic approach to the adoption of technique in exploring solutions across disciplinary borders means I am familiar with various theoretical perspectives and a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.


It should also be noted that the focus of study within integrated marketing communications today is as a managerial social science (rather than simply a writing-based) discipline. Given the seriousness of most topical controversies and the implicit call for legislative remedies found in issue-oriented communication, there is particular public policy importance to such research. Growing numbers of scholars in business, communication, political science, sociology, and other academic disciplines have begun to study and critique the field. Unfortunately, a limiting factor is that most of the literature and original source materials pertinent to studying integrated communication are widely scattered physically and philosophically, requiring interdisciplinary facility on the part of investigators. On the other hand, having to be broad can prove a genuine research strength, for such work creates familiarity with many disciplines as has been true in my case. This diversity has also proved helpful in finding common ground with a variety of external and internal constituencies, and I work well with both research- and practitioner-oriented individuals.


A bonus of this research expertise is that it shows up not only in publications, but the classrooms and businesses where my graduates are proving themselves well qualified.


Value of Editorships and Editorial Board Memberships


Most top universities recognize the value of editing journals and book series (along with service on editorial boards) to enhancing an institutionís reputation by believing that such activities on campus should be fostered, encouraged, and rewarded. Editorship of a peer-review journal and/or book series is awarded to recognized experts and is an opportunity to provide distinguished leadership as well as give direction to the field of journalism and mass communication studies. In addition, journal editorship and editorial board membership also opens up opportunities for mentoring faculty and students. The involvement of professionals from outside the academy on editorial boards further adds to the impact of such work. Currently, I edit the peer-reviewed quarterly Journal of Promotion Management. This features a distinguished editorial board. In addition, I also edit a Promotion Management book series. Each is now produced for the Taylor & Francis publishing group, a leading academic publisher. Beyond that I serve on the editorial boards of 17 other refereed publications.


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