The introductory communication course from 1956 to 2016: a meta-synthesis

Luke LeFebvre, Leah E. LeFebvre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The history of the academic discipline of communication and the subsequent departments that followed are linked in some form or fashion to the evolution of the introductory communication course. Given the prominence and continued relevance of the introductory course in the communication discipline, researchers have conducted surveys for over 60 years. Using a systematic approach, this study synthesizes the cross-sectional findings from 11 basic course surveys (1956–2016). This meta-synthesis approach allowed for the creation of holistic understandings of findings observed across these studies. Specifically, the results centralized around what the course is, and how the greatest challenges in the course relate to who teaches the course and how the course is taught. The results provide insights regarding the introductory course that are intended to inform and stimulate dialogue about an effective and meaningful future for our introductory communication course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-223
Number of pages25
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 National Communication Association.


  • basic course surveys
  • history of the introductory communication course
  • introductory communication course
  • meta-synthesis
  • trends in the introductory communication course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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