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    Limitations Of Interpersonal Communciation Researc Essay

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    When taking a limit of an equation in Calculus, a limit does

    not always exist. However, in the real word there are

    always limitations to what people can accomplish no matter

    how hard they work or try. These limitations are evident in

    interpersonal commuciation research as well. In the article,

    “Commucication Apprehension Among Secretarial

    Students,” the authors, Melanie Booth-Butterfield and

    Carol C. Thomas, research and examine the levels of trait

    communication apprehension among students enrolled in

    college level office administration programs.

    In the

    following paragraphs I will discuss the process and two

    limitations of the research.

    In the article, the authors seek to investigate communication

    apprehension among secretarial students. Communication

    apprehension is an individual’s level of fear or anxiety

    associated with communicationg with others

    (Booth-Butterfield ; Thomas, 1995, pp. 39). The

    methodological framework utilitized by the authors was to

    administer questionnaires during regular class time in four

    different sections. This survey included a measure of trait

    communication apprehension and anxiety across four

    different areas of interpersonal, small group, meeting and

    public speaking.

    In addition, the questionnaire asked for the

    age and whether the participants have had experience in a

    co-op role or as a secretary for a regular business. The

    participants of the questionaire were 117 random students

    enrolled at a four-year, technical business-oriented college.

    Of these students, 58 were female students enrolled

    full-time in office administration courses. The remaining

    students were not secretarial students but were enrolled in

    business administration, management, and communication

    courses. The results of the survey clearly showed a higher

    communication apprehension among secretarial students

    than non-secretarial students rergardless of age or job

    experience. Furthermore, secretarial students showed

    anxiety in all four areas of communication especially in

    public speaking.

    In conlusion to the research, the authors

    say that the anxiety experienced by many office

    adminstration students should be observable and will

    substatntively influence their performance in classes and on

    the job (Booth-Butterfield ; Thomas, 1995, pp. 39).

    Although this communication apprehension research seems

    reasonable, limitations include the type of data used and the

    relationships or generalizations that are drawn between

    certain variables. To begin with, the methodological

    framework utilized by the author is in the form of a

    questionairre. A questionairre is basically a test to see how

    one thinks of his or herself and is not necessarily accurate.

    For example, an individual may think he or she is

    apprehensive to communication but when actually

    confronted with the scenerio may perform rather well and

    without any fear or anxiety.

    Perhaps a better

    methodological approach in gathering data is to setup an

    actual communication setting and have the participants

    perform to the communication task. The data should be

    based on the performance as well as feedback from the

    participant to see if the communication apprehension was


    Another limitation to the research is the relationships or

    generalizations that are drawn between certain variables.

    First, of the secretarial participants that took the

    questionairre, all were females. Differences in trait

    communication apprehension between males and females in

    the non-secretarial group were examined and showed no

    significant differences (Booth-Butterfield ; Thomas, 1995,

    pp. 42).

    The authors use this data and draw a relationship

    between the secretarial and non-secretarial gender to say

    that in general there are no gender differences. However,

    accurate as it may sound, this is another limitation because

    secretarial students in general may think differently. Perhaps

    females with communication apprehension follow office

    administrative fields because they think that all they need to

    do is sit all day and type with little talk or interaction while

    males in the same field do not. Secondly, the authors come

    to the immediate generalization that these secretarial

    students with communication apprehension will be less

    successful once in a working environment others

    (Booth-Butterfield ; Thomas, 1995, pp. 43). This parallels

    the first limitation where I stated that these individuals might

    perform rather well when the spotlight is on them.


    they may be apprehensive to communication does not

    necessarily mean that they cannot perform under actual


    In this paper I have discussed the authors’ research on

    communication apprehension among secretarial students as

    well as the limitations of the research. Booth-Butterfield

    and Thomas give us their interpretations of their findings

    and feel that secretarial students have greater anxiety when

    it comes to communication scenerios. They even conclude

    that this apprehension will make these students less capable

    of success in future work environments. However, these

    statements are based on generalizations and interpretations

    from research with various limitations. In conclusion, there

    are always limitations of interpersonal communication

    research because it not like Mathematics where one can

    just measure communication levels with a ruler.


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