Assessment of Oral Communication: A Major Review of the Historical Development and Trends in the Movement from 1975 to 2009

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Department or Administrative Unit


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This comprehensive review of the assessment of oral communication in the communication discipline is both descriptive and empirical in nature. First, some background on the topic of communication assessment is provided. Following the descriptive background, we present an empirical analysis of academic papers, research studies, and books about assessing communication, all of which were presented or published from 1975 to 2009. The results are outlined of content and thematic analyses of a database of 558 citations from that time period, including 434 national convention presentations, 89 journal articles, and 35 other extant books and publications. Three main themes and eight subthemes are identified in the database, and trends evident in the resulting data are considered. The study concludes with a discussion of the trends and overarching themes gleaned from the research efforts, and the authors’ recommendations of best practices for how to conduct oral communication assessment.


This article was originally published in Communication Education. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Communication Education


© 2011 National Communication Association