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Communication Ethics: A Vital Resource in an Ever-Changing World (October 2016): Conclusion

By Robert L. Ballard, Melba Vélez Ortiz, and Leeanne M. Bell McManus


Communication ethics researchers share a commitment to seeking the good and maintaining (ethical and civil) conversation through scholarly research. While methods differ, they play a secondary role in the broader pursuit of understanding the ethical. That is, depending on the focus, scope, and context of the communicative act, any given researcher can employ any method to answer the research question being asked.

Communication ethics research involves theoretical and applied points of entry, and it draws on a wide range of methods and a long history. Communication ethics research is not only versatile; it is also ubiquitous. Moreover, it is relevant to any situation or context in which communicative choices are present. But what makes communication ethics distinct is its preoccupation with helping us to understand “how ought I to respond?” as situated in and emerging from communication in all its possible forms. In this way, communication ethics has something important to say about how, in a world of radical and often incommensurate differences, we live together with one another.