Portfolio: Research Literacy

Early on in this course of study, during the COMM 601 class to be exact, I was called on to develop basic research literacy skills, which can be defined as the ability to come up with an inquiry project around a communication problem, strategy, or initiative, construct a literature review discussing relevant findings, and use a theoretical framework to help in method creation and the drawing of conclusions. While this skill was utilized throughout learning, the most relevant example can be seen in my inquiry project (video presentation) on Forrest Gump as Equipment for Living.

To start, I chose a position: namely that who tells a story and how it is told are important for those being represented. I noted that movies are an important vehicle for these stories in our modern society, and provided varying types of research to back this philosophical position. I then created a method section as it might look if Forrest Gump were used to study in this way, listing a series of possible interview questions that would ascertain how well those with intellectual disabilities, their parents and other caregivers felt the movie told their story. I concluded with a summation of the literature review and directions for future research.

This initial experience helped set the foundation for several other inquiry projects I composed as a student, notably a paper exploring the same Volkswagen issues I had examined in the video presentation spoken of under theoretical literacy. It has made me a more informed reader, in that I now have a set of strategies I can employ to investigate the validity of a given argument by doing my own research. It also helps me to become more aware of my own biases by measuring my positions and ideas against others presented in the vast amounts of research literature that cover my topic(s) of interest.

Moving forward, I will continue to use research literacy as I evaluate the effectiveness of any strategies I might enact for employers with whom I work, and especially nonprofits. Also as noted, knowing how to write research projects helps me in reading and evaluating them for strength of made arguments as well. This will help as I attempt to investigate and ultimately accept ethical, evidence-based practices.

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