Communication Sciences and its many areas: Development of an evaluation tool to favor students’ decision-making process

  • Joana Carneiro Pinto
  • Maria Manuel de Sousa
Keywords: assessment instruments; interests; skills; professional contexts; communication sciences.


This paper aims to present a study whose main purpose was the development of simple, concise, fast and affordable assessment instrument that favors the decision-making process about the areas of the students attending the 2nd cycle of studies of the Communication Sciences, of the Catholic University of Portugal. The development of the instrument was based on the Theory of Vocational Personality (Holland, 1958, 1959), one of the most important contemporary career theories, which aims to explain the relationship between the different personality types and the professional environment chosen by each individual. Holland wanted to develop career aid tools so that psychologists and their clients could better handle and perceive the issue of choice and job satisfaction. Initially, interviews were conducted with the coordinators of the degree and of the master’s degree in Social Communication, as well as a current student from each of the 6 possible areas of choice - Communication, Marketing and Advertising; Communication, Organization and Leadership; Media and Journalism; Communication, Television and Cinema; Internet and New Media; and, Political Communication, - and alumni who were already in the work environment. Some official documents were also analyzed on the objectives, structure, contents, and competencies related to each of the different areas. Based on this data collection, we constructed some items that focus on interests (what the person knows/wants to learn), skills (what the person does/wants to learn how to do), and in future professional contexts (where the person intends to integrate his/herself into the labor market). According to Holland (1959), people seek environments (contexts) where they can exercise their interests, skills and abilities, express their attitudes and values, and take on pleasant problems and roles. A pilot study was carried out with these items, in which a set of students with their choice of area already completed was invited to fill out this experimental version, to verify the calibration of the instrument in the identification of the respective area. After some modifications that were suggested, the final version of the assessment instrument was developed and administered to a new sample of students, confronting their options of choice before completing the questionnaire with the final result obtained by it. All of these different phases and outcomes from qualitative and quantitative studies will be presented throughout this work, and implications will also be drawn on the importance of developing assessment tools that respond to the specific needs of people and contexts.