How to make students’ dreams come true is the central focus of this autoethnography that chronicles the story of the transformation of a traditional undergraduate communication research methods course into a new and creative dream research methods course. Pedagogical and institutional issues in teaching the traditional methods course join personal influences in my life story to birth the new dream research methods course. The content and format of the new course are described chronologically using personal stories, student perspectives, advice to teachers, and reflection questions. I encourage teachers, by experimenting with the ideas in the dream research methods course, to serve as midwives for helping bring their students’ dreams to birth.


Research Methods, Dreams, Teaching, Learning, Autoethnography, Purple Cow

Author Bio(s)

E. James Baesler, Ph.D., is Full Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He earned his B.A. (1983) and M.A. from San Jose State University (1985), and Ph.D. (1991) from University of Arizona. His research spans from nonverbal communication and social influence to religious and spiritual communication, especially the content, function, and forms of prayer, developing and testing the Relational Prayer Theory over a twenty-year period. More recent work includes several autoethnographies on teaching/learning listening, peace, and research methods. His published work includes Theoretical Explorations and Empirical Investigations of Communication and Prayer, and a number of scholarly articles published in: Communication Reports, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Journal of Argumentation and Advocacy, Journal of Communication and Religion, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Journal of Peace Education, Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, Listening Education, Peace Studies Journal, Presence: An International Journal for Spiritual Directors, Review of Communication, and Review of Religious Research. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: jbaesler@odu.edu.


I wish to acknowledge my early teachers of social science, Cal Hylton, and Michael and Judee Burgon, and my later teachers of autoethnography that I only knew from their writings, Bud Goodall, Jr., Carolyn Ellis, and Robert Coles.

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