Communication Connection

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Department News

Need Advice? The Doctor Is In

Friday, February 21, 2014

By: Breanna Goodman

Originally designed as a tool for the classroom, the "Ask Dr. K Column"-a relationship advice column for UNCW college students-is becoming a go-to site for receiving advice backed by research in the Seahawk community. Dr. Anita K. McDaniel, a Communication Studies professor at UNCW and the creator of "Ask Dr. K" believes, "Theory is useless if you cannot apply it to real life." This is the main reason she started the blog in March of 2011.

Needing a common text that her students can gather information from, she took the opportunity to create her first blog, which turned out to be a good interactive tool for her students to learn more about interpersonal topics in a real life setting. Her goal with this advice column in relation to her classes is to "invite people to ask questions and then answer those questions based on particular interpersonal communication theories, and use those in class so students can see how theories work in real life." Some communication topics addressed in her blog responses include lying and deceit, envy and jealousy, and relationship repair. In Dr. McDaniel's classes, students come up with any scenario based on an assigned article and then post a question online. She will then answer the question according to what their theory or concept happens to be that week. Along with using the question as a discussion tool in class, as a group they analyze its interpersonal features.

Happy with her growing number of hits-which is almost reaching 11,000-Dr. McDaniel encourages students and the community to submit a question and check back to see if it gets featured for the week on the home page, and to read other featured posts that range from "Hook-Up Drama" to "Messy Roommates."

More About Dr. K

Since 1998 Dr. McDaniel has taught Interpersonal Communication courses, and specializes in the analysis of relationship myths. She has publications that include "Young Women's Dating Behavior: Why/Why Not Date a Nice Guy?" in Sex Roles, and "Looking at Email: A Method for Teaching Interpersonal Communication Theories and Principles to Undergraduate Students" in Electronic Journal of Communication.

Not only is her blog an advice column, but also an outlet in which Dr. McDaniel can share interesting articles such as, "Why Humans Have Sex," and "First Comes Love, Then Comes Google: An Investigation of Uncertainty Reduction Strategies and Self-Disclosure in Online Dating." Other features of the blog include "Odd News" from all over the world, and even a fun "Thought For the Week." For more information, check out the blog at and join the other 218 followers.