2020 Grunig Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards
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2020 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig

Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards

Public Relations Division, International Communication Association

The Public Relations Division of ICA invites submissions for the 2020 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards. Eligible entrants for this competition cycle include master’s theses and doctoral dissertations successfully defended during the period from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019. Theses and dissertations must focus upon phenomena, issues and questions relevant to the study of public relations. Award winners will be recognized at the ICA Conference in Gold Coast, Australia, May 21-25, 2020. 

As in the last competition cycles, award aspirants are asked to condense their theses/ dissertations into a 30- to 40-page manuscript. The advantages of this requirement include helping our newer scholars to prepare their research for publication consideration, reducing the workload on award judges, and facilitating objectivity in the awards process. All manuscripts submitted for the awards will be subject to double-blind review.

Submission Requirements

To enter the thesis/dissertation competition, please submit the following:

  • One electronic copy of a 30-40 page manuscript, typed, double-spaced, based on the thesis/dissertation. The page limit is for manuscript text only and excludes references, charts, and figures.
    • The manuscript must be written in English.
    • The manuscript must be carefully edited to conceal the identities of the author, his/her institutional affiliations, and the thesis/dissertation advisor, so as to preserve the objectivity of the judging process.
    • Please make sure that the name and institution of the authors are not shown in the “properties” section of the PDF file.
    • The content of the manuscript should be developed from the thesis/dissertation.
    • The manuscript must include an introduction, literature review/conceptualization, method, findings, and discussion of the significance of the findings for public relations scholarship.
  • Technical requirements: The manuscript and all supplemental material must be submitted as an emailed attachment in a single electronic PDF file. If your file is too large to send via email, then you need to reduce the file size.
  • An abstract of the original thesis/dissertation, not to exceed 150 words. The abstract must be written in English. The abstract must be on the first page of the submission’s single file.
  • An email text to the awards chair indicating (1) current contact information and affiliation of the author, (2) thesis/dissertation manuscript title, (3) date of thesis/dissertation defense, (4) university where thesis/dissertation was defended and degree awarded, and (5) contact information for thesis/dissertation advisor.


The deadline for submitting manuscripts for this competition cycle is February 1, 2020, by 11 p.m. Central Time. All materials must be received by this date and time. Award aspirants are requested to not submit full theses and dissertations to the awards chair and to not submit materials without first ensuring that they comply with ALL the submission requirements. Submissions that fail to conform to the requirements will be automatically disqualified.

Please send all materials via email to the awards chair, indicated below. For the subject line, please indicate “Grunig Thesis/Dissertation Awards SUBMISSION”. Thank you.


All manuscripts submitted for the awards will be subject to double-blind review by three independent judges from senior members in the ICA Public Relations Division. Thesis and dissertation submissions will be reviewed separately, resulting in one thesis award and one dissertation award. In the event that submission volume requires more than three judges to participate in the evaluation process, the award winners will be determined through standardized scoring.


Chair, Grunig & Grunig Thesis/Dissertation Awards

Lan Ni, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Valenti School of Communication

University of Houston

Houston, TX, 77204-3002


Email: lni@uh.edu



The PR Division offers several awards to recognize outstanding scholarship and scholars. The division’s Top Paper Award is named for Robert Heath, emeritus faculty, University of Houston. The Top Student Paper Award is supported by grant funding from the Plank Center for Leadership, University of Alabama. And the Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Outstanding Thesis Award, offered biannually, are named for James and Larissa Grunig, emeriti faculty, University of Maryland. Award details, selection processes, and previous winners are located in each award section.