“Reality. Now that’s a concept!”

This famous quote by comedian (and philosopher, I might add) Robin Williams offers great insight as I embark on my latest journey—the pursuit of PhD in Communication from the University of Oklahoma Department of Communication.

Already I’m in full reality of just why one is designated as a “Doctor of Philosophy.” I’m knee-deep in theory construction, theory memorization, theory classification… theory of theory. The image I’ve chosen as the “trademark” of this blog, Raphael’s “School of Athens” has shown its appropriateness once more, as I’m delving into the thinking of our forefathers of philosophy and the ways in which they are intertwined.
My introduction into course work was M. Dues and M. Brown’s Boxing Plato’s Shadow—which serves as a plethora of basic communication history… its philosophers, it’s place in history. I might add that I was a bit disturbed when in the opening pages the authors referred to our field of study as “a field of renegades.” Given my history for churning the pot and questioning the status quo, however, I feel right at home.

Next on the menu was (is) P. Reynold’s A Primer in Theory Construction. As a new student in Dr. Kim’s Intro to Graduate Studies class, I have been assigned to review and facilitate a discussion of Chapters 3 & 4: Concepts & Statements. As all the new “concepts” swirled through my head I kept wishing there was a visual to help me put the interrelatedness of the basics of theory construction into learnable perspective. Alas, the Theory Construction Concept Map I created and linked here, based on J. Novak’s idea of concept maps, serves such a purpose. For my class colleagues, it will appear in full detail on my handout. My hope is that is assists us as we grow from novice scholars into accomplished ones.

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