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This paper discusses the applied aspects of our Drug Resistance Strategies Project. We argue that a new definitional distinction is needed to expand the notion of “applied” from the traditional notion of utilizing theory, which we call “applied.1”, in order to consider theory-grounded, theory testing and theory developing applied research. We label this new definition “applied.2” research. We then explain that our descriptive work describing the social processes of adolescent substance use, identity and use, and drug norms, as well as the subsequent development and dissemination of our keepin’ it REAL middle school substance use curriculum are examples of “applied.1” work. In the “applied.2” realm, we include our theory testing (e.g., tests of multiculturalism, narrative and performance theories, the Focus Theory of Norms) and theory-developing (e.g., parent-child communication, cultural grounding) research as well our new directions in theory development (e.g., adaptation processes). We conclude with a call for space in the discipline for “applied.2” work that builds and tests theory through application to significant social issues that contribute to our communities. We note obstacles in departmental and scholarly norms but express optimism about the prospects for “applied.2” research in the future of communication research.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journal of Applied Communication Research, volume 38, issue 3, in 2010, available online at DOI: 10.1080/00909882.2010.490848;%20NIH%20MS209280.


Taylor & Francis



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