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Research Areas

Our faculty are internationally-recognized researchers in several areas of Communication Studies, including the broad emphasis areas listed below. Research in our department is supported through internal and external funding as well as survey and laboratory facilities in Armstrong Hall, including the recently-refurbished Interaction Lab (#ixlab). Our faculty specialize in the following areas of research:


In 2013, our faculty produced near four dozen original research reports or other published work in a variety of different research areas. Our annual report below has APA-formatted references for each of these works.

2013 Publications

Communication Technology

Communication technology is the study of channel effects; that is, how the modality of communication influences how we send and receive messages. Research in communication technology often focuses on issues related to computer-mediated communication (CMC), including studies on social media.

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Health Communication

Health communication tends to focus on the theory and practice of communicating health information, particularly related to health risk, to different segments of the population. Research in health communication considers both interpersonal and mass communication channels as important to the successful dissemination of health information.

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Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication tends to focus on how individuals share information with one another – typically, between interdependent individuals. Such research considers how we form relationships with one another, and how we communicate information within these relationships.

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Instructional Communication

Instructional communication is an area of research that examines interactions in pedagogical environments, such as classrooms and other instructional situations. This research considers the unique relationship between learner and instructor, as well as the communicative behaviors between the two.

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Mass Media

Similar to communication technology, the study of mass media places focus on the channel of communication as influential to the communicative process. Research in mass media looks at how individuals use and are affected by the form and content of media used for informational, relational, persuasive, and entertainment purposes.

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Organizational Communication

Organizational communication is a field of study concerned with analyzing and critiquing communication dynamics within organizational contexts, such as corporations. Research in this field examines interactions between superiors and their subordinates, conflict negotiation and principles of group decision-making.

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Other areas of scholarly interest

In addition to these areas, our faculty specialize in areas such as applied communication (Keith Weber), family communication (Rittenour, Odenweller), entertainment theory (Bowman, Cohen), gender (Odenweller), media psychology (Bowman), persuasion (Bryand, LaBelle), quantitative research methods (Bowman, Rittenour, Keith Weber), and sports communication (Anderson, Bowman).


Seelio: Sharing Student Work

Students enrolled in COMM courses are asked to study the theory and process of human communication so that they can apply this knowledge to understanding real-world issues. As part of this process, COMM students have adopted the Seelio platform – a social media platform that allows students to create an online portfolio of their coursework that is easily accessible to the public. Sharing these portfolios shows the importance of the COMM degree while also giving prospective employees a clear, accurate look at the academic work our students are doing.

Seelio Student Coursework Showcase


Academic Advising

Our advisors are available during the summer, fall and spring semesters during office hours. Check 108 Armstrong Hall, call 304-293-3905, or e-mail an advisor to check office hours for the semester (see below for contact information).

The COMM academic advisors are:

Dr. Andrea Weber –
Nikki Loy –
Dr. John Shibley –
Mary Donato –


Request a Mountaineer Intern

Professional Field Experience (PFE) is a key element in the undergraduate COMM curriculum that allows students to gain experience in applying their classroom knowledge to a variety of corporate and organizational environments. Organizations looking for students with an in-depth understanding of communication areas that include (but are not limited to) communication theory, data analysis, health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and social media/communication technology now have the opportunity to request an intern from the Department of Communication Studies at WVU. Use the form below to read up on our PFE program, and to request a Mountaineer intern today.

Organization Intern Application