Are Your Methods Peer Reviewed? Research in Higher Education Marketing

Carnegie Higher Ed Aug 05, 2019 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

The Science of Human Connection™ is the foundation of Carnegie Dartlet’s philosophy on communication. The rigor and methodological backing we apply to every step of the research process ultimately allows for thought leadership and strategy that goes beyond the generic.

But how can science shape marketing? Moreover, how do you know what research is good research? The answer is peer review.

Few—if any—marketing and strategy firms have attempted to subject their branding methods to the scrutiny of the academic community through the peer review process. Carnegie Dartlet doesn’t want people to believe our research as fact because we say so—we want you to believe the evidence from the career psychologists, researchers, and academics who recently accepted our personality archetyping theory and methodology for peer-reviewed conference presentations.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is a flagship entity for communication research that holds an annual conference. As an international organization, the conference attracts thousands of top researchers and accepts fewer than half the articles submitted for presentation. This year, the conference will take place from August 6–10 in Toronto, Canada, and Carnegie Dartlet will present not one but two accepted submissions:  

Beyond the What to the Who: Advancing Archetype Theory to Improve Branded Communication: Archetypal theories have been long studied to better define human personality. Concurrently, brands looking to separate from their peers have attempted communication strategies that take advantage of emotional storytelling through the voice of a personified protagonist. However, bringing consensus around this vision is difficult in organizations with varied stakeholders. This paper extends archetypal theory in communication specific to organizations while also proposing a method for consensus-driven research to uncover the “who” of higher education institutions. View all Communication Theory and Methodology abstracts.

A Lion or a Lone Wolf? Developing a Visual Measure of Archetypal Personality for Communication Research: The accurate measure of psychological predictors like personality is pivotal to communication research seeking to tailor messages or explain behaviors. Unfortunately, measuring personality is difficult due to desirability bias and lack of universality in understanding trait-based questionnaires. This research builds on literature that suggests visual measures, like icons or emojis, can eliminate some of this bias. Icons were developed for measuring archetypal personality and were tested with two surveys and dozens of real-world case studies. View all Visual Communication abstracts. 

What is peer review, and why is it important?

Peer review, the hallmark of research method validation, is a crucial process intended to ensure that research publications are legitimate, thorough, repeatable, and valid. The process signals to other scientists and the general public that the research accepted is trustworthy and has been scrutinized by experts for methodological rigor, theoretically relevant foundations, and important contributions to society.

In order to reach peer-reviewed status, authors of a research paper must submit their work in an anonymized form to an academic journal or conference. The editor of that journal or conference then decides if the work is rigorous enough to be considered for publication or conference presentation. If it is deemed acceptable, the editor sends the work to be reviewed by other scientists who are experts in the same field as the author(s). This ensures that an author’s methods appropriately answer the questions they are addressing and that the results and conclusions reached are valid and legitimate. 

Typically, the work is sent to at least three reviewers. These reviewers are kept anonymous from the author, and likewise, the author is kept anonymous from the reviewers. This anonymization is intended to curtail any potential biases from or by reviewers. Reviewers then send feedback to the editor—whether they think the paper should be accepted with no revisions (rare), accepted with major or minor revisions, or rejected. If accepted, the editor sends the reviewers’ comments to the author for revisions, and if the revisions properly address the reviewers’ concerns, the paper is accepted to the conference or journal.

Why does this matter to current and prospective clients?

As marketing consultants, we know that confidence is everything: confidence in your results and confidence that the strategy you move forward with reaches and charges your stakeholders. Knowing the insights you receive come from a peer-reviewed process ensures that your personality solution is accurate and authentic to your institution.

Beyond confidence, buy-in is essential—particularly in higher education, where academics tend to question the need for branding and the process by which a brand identity is created. Nothing will convince faculty and graduate students of the legitimacy of a process as effectively as showing them that it has been peer reviewed. Some of the most ardent skeptics of marketing can be swayed by showing them that science can truly help spur creativity. 

At Carnegie Dartlet, we believe that data drives everything—from strategy to creative and research to digital media. We believe in the integrity of the data, and so we are committed to the rigors of peer-reviewed research. Stay tuned for more updates from our presentations at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference.

Authors: Karissa Skerda and Katie Williams

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