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Archive for November 2014

ComRes Day Career Talk

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IMG_2970Was it last year when, on the invitation of my alma mater, specifically, the Department of Communication Research of the UP College of Mass Communication, I gave a career talk to prospective students?

I’ve kinda forgotten about it, and then this morning, as I was going over some files, I came across a one-page manuscript of that particular talk. As it happened, I was asked to say  how my degree in communication research helped me in the career path I eventually took, the path of the law.

So it did sound like a good, three-point Baptist sermon,  as I covered three main points, and save for the first main point, everything else carried three sub-points.

So here it went:

Why Communication Research?

A. Of course, Communication Research is first and foremost, about communication.

* Society cannot survive without communication. Our democracy is founded on the idea that when citizens have access to information they need to decide on matters that matters to them, and are able to debate and dissect these matters, government is in good shape.

* A lawyer must know how to communicate to his audience. Legal advocacy is about being  able to convince your specific publics that yours is the correct position. Human rights work depends so much on understanding this dynamic between desired change in governmental behavior towards human rights and effectively communicating the need for such change.

B. Communication Research is about systemic rigor.

* Whether you’re a “numbers” (quantitative) person or a “words” (qualitative) one, you can’t afford to be loose in your research method. A researcher understands that his research rises or falls on his faithfulness to the prescribed method.

* This means you have to have that discipline of systematic consistency in what you do.

* The same goes for law; it is systematic argumentation. It is covering all points in your opponent’s arguments. It is being able to conduct solid research to back up your main legal points. It is about being ale to weave a convincing narrative of your legal position.

C. Communication Research is also about an integrative perspective.

* This point is closely linked to our first point about the discipline of communication. Different communication theories offer differing perspectives on the best societal arrangements.

* As a lawyer concerned with the public sphere and the public interest, I appreciate very much the early grounding on critical perspectives on the social and the public that communication theory afforded me. Research is never natural, even if located in the world of the academy. It is always connected to a particular societal order.

* Communication research challenges one to look at issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective. As a hybrid discipline, it has learned the humility of appropriating insights from other disciplines for its own purposes. Legal advocacy is so much like that. More often than not, legal advocacy  is won by meta-legal approaches rather than by purely legal techniques.


Written by Romel

November 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

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