High Reward for Strong Research: Dr. Meeds Research Interview

Dr. Robert Meeds has over 40 published works from his expansive career as a researcher and professor. His most cited year was 2013, reaching 52 citations (figure 1). Focused in advertising and psycholinguistics, Dr. Meeds provides robust insight and experience to the common undergraduate research student. His expertise was greatly appreciated in our interview as we questioned his inspiration as a researcher, technical wisdom, overall influence and appreciation for research. This interview focused on Dr. Meeds’ publication “Cognitive and attitudinal effects of technical advertising copy: the roles of gender, self-assessed and objective consumer knowledge” (Meeds, 2004), but went beyond this specific study and questioned the bigger picture of being a researcher and the details of the profession. 

Dr. Robert Meeds citation analysis from 2005-2020, topping at 52 citations in 2013.

Dr. Meeds originally conducted the 2004 publication to finish his dissertation. He shared that the responsibility of an academic is to contribute original material to the research field in their niche area. This research is somewhat outdated now, but Dr. Meeds shared that his findings have not likely changed greatly with the increase of social media use as people use the same language on these platforms as they do in real life, just in different ways. In deciding technical jargon for this study, Dr. Meeds used a Flesh score, the frequency of word counts that showed most commonly used words. He also went through websites, brochures, magazines, etc. and pulled out commonly used words. 

For Dr. Meeds, his obligation to the field has kept him researching and publications are an affirming outcome of that work. Dr. Meeds further shared that his past as a professor at R1 universities has required his focus on research. At Cal State Fullerton, a teaching and research school, he is less expected to produce research. In previous positions, he has been encouraged to focus equally, if not more, on his research than his teaching. Dr. Meeds has also conducted much research as an advisor for graduate students and has found this to be the most rewarding work. He shared that the pride felt when a student has research published, goes on to be a researcher, or succeeds in their future, is greater than personal work being published. Dr. Meeds shared of one particular former student who has become a real success in his field; Dr. Meeds finds great pride in knowing that he helped mentor and shape this student into who they have become.

Video clip, Dr. Meeds on former student’s success

When conducting research, Dr. Meeds shared, there is no set way that the topic and process comes about. Many times, the topics of his research have been the ideas of his graduate students. Dr. Meeds spoke to the importance of working with others. He often shares his particular expertise with researchers in other fields and when these experts come together from their different interests, new research ideas surface. He recently received a grant to work with professionals in vastly different fields of focus and was appreciated for his niche while contributing to a larger project. Being open to discussion and finding common ground when discussing interests with others can propel researchers into new topics and ideas.

Dr. Meeds has narrowed down his niche of research to psycholinguistics in advertising. This is a rare area of study and Dr. Meeds has found this to be beneficial and difficult. There is little other research to compare his work to and few experts able to critique his findings. On the flip side, his work is commonly acknowledged as original and he feels his contribution to the field is strong. Dr. Meeds shared he wishes advertising professionals better applied the findings of research to their work. He did work as a consultant for five years and found in that time it was rewarding to very practically apply his research to companies’ work and see his findings making a tactical impact. 

Dr. Meeds primarily conducts quantitative research. While he has an undergraduate degree in English and was originally drawn to qualitative research methods, his advisor while he was working toward his PhD conducted quantitative research and he found this to be the path to take. 

Quantitative research demonstrated in Dr. Meeds’ 2004 publication. (Meeds, 2004)

As for levels of measurement to utilize in research, Dr. Meeds recommends being informed by other research of similar topics and focus. By utilizing similar levels of measurement, research can be compared and built upon itself. He warned, however, that by keeping measurement similar to other research there is risk of error. If a previous level of measurement was unsuccessful or had flaws, these mistakes will be repeated by repeating this method in one’s own research. Dr. Meeds warned of this way of deciding levels of measurement and emphasized the importance of knowing levels of measurement well and being very familiar with research methods before making such decisions. Dr. Meeds recommends that young researchers, such as ourselves, decide which method we most enjoy and want to work with and really dive into the methodology and practice. He recommended that students understand the theories they wish to research in great depth and focus on what is being measured. Dr. Meeds concluded by advising that potential researchers should discover what they want to find out. This should direct a researcher’s work as answering a question is the goal of research and what will drive the professional to answers.

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