Understanding Communication Ecologies to Bridge Communication Research and Community Action

Garrett M. Broad, Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach, Katherine Ognyanova, Benjamin Stokes, Tania Picasso, George Villanueva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This paper describes the research process that informed the development of the MetaConnects platform, a university-based engaged scholarship initiative that connected communication researchers with community-based social change organizers. The paper outlines the investigation of community organizers' communication practices and demonstrates the utility that these findings had for the work of the practitioners. It also explores the lessons learned by the academic researchers in terms of the potentials and limitations of their engaged approach. The work highlights the theoretical and practical significance of communication ecologies-a term that refers to the networks of communication connections that groups or individuals depend upon in order to achieve a goal. It argues that, for academic researchers, understanding the communication ecologies of community-based practitioners can be an essential way to design optimally functioning engaged scholarship initiatives. An understanding of communication ecologies can also be leveraged by practitioners in order to strengthen a neighborhood communication infrastructure and encourage social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-345
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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