Chapter 1 Introduction to Research in Communication

Research: Process of asking questions and finding answers Application of scientific and systematic procedures Assumes that patterns can be uncovered Empirically based methods

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Chapter 1 Introduction to Research in CommunicationResearch: Process of asking questions and finding answersApplication of scientific and systematic proceduresAssumes that patterns can be uncoveredEmpirically based methods1Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Your Relationship with ResearchScholarly researchYou in the role of researcherYou in the role of research consumerProprietary researchCommissioned for private use2Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Scholarly ResearchFormal, scientific, systematicAvailable to the public and other researchersScientific outcomesDescribes behaviorDetermines causes of behaviorPredicts behaviorExplains behavior3Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Research and TheoryTheory:Set of concepts, definitions, and propositions that present a systematic view of the phenomenaAttempts to explain and predict phenomenaResearch should be theoretically driven or aid in the creation of theory4Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Characteristics of ScienceBased on evidenceTestableExplores all possibilitiesReplicablePublic recordSelf-correctingMeasurement and observationControl errorObjectivitySkepticismGeneralizabilityHeuristic5Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Communication as a Social ScienceSocial science methodsLook for patterns of communication behaviorMust be empirical; verify through observations or experiencesFocus on messages; effects of messages & their meaningsQuantitative methodsRelies on numerical measurementQualitative methodsResearcher is the primary observer6Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.The Scientific ApproachResearch follows traditions & proceduresStart with an interesting questionFormulate a hypothesis or research questionUse reason and experience to refine the hypothesis or research questionConduct the observation, measurement, or experimentAnalyze and interpret the data7Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Methodological ExtremesLaw of the hammerMethodological tools for different purposesContent of research question or hypothesis drives selection of the methodological toolA method is only helpful if it helps answer the research question or hypothesis8Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Questions Communication Scholars AskWide variety of questions can be asked about many communication phenomenaDetermine the significance of the questionPersonal interestSocial importanceTheoretical significanceSo what?9Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.The Nature of the QuestionsQuestions of fact Provide definitionsQuestions of variable relations Examine if, how, and to what degree phenomena are relatedQuestions of value Ask for subjective evaluationsQuestions of policy Recommend a course of action10Copyright c 2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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