Interns in Communication

Gitte Gravengaard

In this research project, we follow university students in their intern periods in different jobs within communication. The aim is to study how learning and socialisation processes take place in the routinised practice in organisations – and to suggest ways in which we can make these processes more effective and efficient.

The analyses demonstrate how communication trainees are socialised into the professional culture and community of practice in different organisations working with strategic communication. Here we focus mainly on the interns’ self-understanding and experiences during the internship period answering questions like:

  • What works for whom under which circumstances?
  • What are the opportunities/pitfalls?
  • How do the interns see themselves and how do they experience the internship period?
  • How is the development for the interns during the trainee period? What are the important touch points during this process?
  • What do the organisations expect from the interns? And how do the interns meet/not meet these expectations?
  • How can this knowledge help us to improve internship periods for students within communication?

The analyses are based on empirical studies of 25 students during their trainee period. The trainees are interns in a range of different organisations – from public to private, from huge international organisations to small businesses with only a few employees.

The research design consists of: e-mail enquetes, interviews with the supervisors, student plans for internship periods, logbooks, diaries, focus groups/reflective teams and the students’ ideas for assignments as well as their final assignments of a university course.