The School of Journalism & Mass Communication is world renowned as a leading force in communications research. With an intellectual climate built on collaboration, multidisciplinarity, and methodological pluralism, faculty and students produce research that is regularly evaluated as among the best in the field. Much of this work happens in the research centers and groups that are a large part of the intellectual culture of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Below is a current list of centers and research groups.
Center for Communication and Democracy
The Center for Communication and Democracy houses a research and action project at UW–Madison. The goals of the center are to study how citizens can use new communications technologies to advance democratic discussion and civic participation; to explore the relationships between geographic communities and the emerging world of cyberspace; to explore the structural relations among communications and information markets, the civic sector, and government to find relationships necessary to build and sustain a public sphere in communication that is not dominated by the market.
- International Communication Research Group (ICRG) - The ICRG is a faculty/student collaborative research group that studies the relationships between communication and democracy in multiple contexts. With an initial focus on Latin America, this group has expanded its scope to include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom, through a series of comparative collaborative research projects.
- Madison Commons - The Madison Commons was founded in 2006 to provide news and information from all of Madison’s neighborhoods. It is a collaboration between Madison citizens from every part of the city and faculty and students at the SJMC. The Commons focuses coverage on education, food, and transportation, as well as neighborhood news. It is partnered with WISC-TV/Channel 3000 and Community Shares, and supported by a service-learning matching grant from the Morgridge Center for Public Service. The Madison Commons also provides a lab for research on community, civic, and public journalism.
- Qualitative Inquiry & Research - In this group, graduate students and faculty focus on qualitative inquiry into questions about journalism, mass communication and society. Meetings are devoted to providing intensive feedback on completed or in-progress papers, learning new research techniques and discussing innovative methodology from qualitative perspectives. Every aspect of the research process—from raw ideas and question framing to peer review and publication—is explored.
Center for Environmental Communication and Education Studies
Founded by noted environmental communicator Prof. Clay Schoenfeld in the late 1960s, CECES has devoted itself to the production of high quality environmental journalism and scholarship. It supports student science projects dedicated to communicating stories of health and environmental risk and also supports graduate student research collaborations.
Center for Journalism Ethics
The Center for Journalism Ethics aims to advance the ethical standards and practices of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach, and newsroom partnerships. The Center is a voice for journalistic integrity, a forum for informed debate, and an incubator for new ideas and practices.
Mass Communication History Center
The Mass Communication History Center, a part of the Wisconsin Historical Society, provides scholars access to private collections, papers, and various types of unpublished materials relating to the growth of mass communication in the United States and other parts of the world. The Wisconsin Historical Society also has a large collection of bound and microfilm files of American and foreign newspapers.
Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC)
The MCRC encompasses a wide range of faculty/student research groups that that are characterized by a collaborative orientation, open participation, student direction, and faculty mentoring. All affiliated group share (A) an orientation toward collaborative engagement with mass communication research topics, theories, and methods; (B) a policy of open participation that is welcoming of all interested students and faculty members; (C) An expectation that students themselves will be instrumental in setting the agenda for, and contributing to the goals of, each group’s activities; and (D) A core of faculty mentoring and interaction with students to further develop both leadership and pedagogical skills among students. Currently, the following research groups are part of the MCRC and have regular meetings to advance these areas of inquiry.
- Consumer Culture and Civic Participation (CCCP) - The goal of this faculty and student collaboration is to bridge scholarship from various disciplines, including communications, economics, history, marketing, political science, psychology and sociology, to investigate the fluid and evolving relationship among mass media, consumption, markets, and civic and political life. We approach this work from a multiplicity of perspectives, focusing on topics such as taste cultures, identity politics, conspicuous consumption, political marketing, globalization and the notion of the citizen consumer.
- Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) - The goal of this research group is to examine the influence of health communication, especially information technologies such as social and mobile media, on optimizing individuals’ health behaviors, quality of life, emotional coping, and access to needed services. This research has focused on health ICTs in the context of cancer, addiction, aging, asthma, and AIDS/HIV. The goal of this work is to improve the development and dissemination of appropriate, accessible, accurate, and tailored health ICTs.
- Media and Politics (MAP) - The goal of this student-faculty collaborative is to integrate scholarship from communications, political science, psychology and sociology to investigate the effects of mass media on political judgment and reasoning. As the original MCRC collaborative, this group has a long history in the school, where it has been a center of research activity focusing on media and politics for 50 years. During that span of time, the participating students and faculty have conducted survey, experimental, content analytic, and mixed-methods research projects focusing on a range of topics, from community life to framing effects.
- Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) - The goal of this student-faculty collaborative focuses on the study of user-created digital media and its political and social implications. It is broadly concerned with the implications of the digital media for democracy, with particular attention to the blogosphere, social networking, content creation, and peer-to-peer communication in online settings. This research examines the connection between digital media and civic and political life and has engaged in a series of large scale content harvesting projects around YouTube, Twitter, and other widely used social media platforms.