Communications Comprehensive Exam

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  1. What is communication theory?
    • a set of systematic, informed hunches about the way things work (Judee
    • Burgoon).

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  2. What are the Levels of Communication Theory?
    Level 1: Descriptive-actual communication

    Level 2: Hypothetical-theorizing about actual communication

    Level 3: Metatheoretical- methatheorizing about communication theories

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  3. How are Communication Theories Evaluated?
    *Power & scope- its comprehensiveness (power) & inclusiveness (scope)

    *Power- apply to a large number of situations

    *Scope- apply to a broad domain

    *Heuristic- help researchers decide what to observe & how to observe

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  4. What is the Process of Inquiry?
    • Inquiry is the systematic study of experience that leads to understanding, knowledge and theory. People engage in inquiry when they attempt to find out about something in an orderly way. The
    • Process of inquiry involves three stages.

    • Asking Questions- Can be of various types. Questions of definition call for answers, seeking to clarify what is observed or inferred. Questions of fact ask about properties and relations in what is observed. Questions of value probe aesthetic, pragmatic, and ethical qualities of the
    • observed.

    • Observation-the scholar looks for answers by
    • observing the phenomenon under investigation.

    • Constructing Answers-the scholar attempts to define, describe, and explain-to make judgements and interpretations about what they
    • observed. This stage is usually referred to as theory.

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  5. What is the process of Developing Communication Theories
    First, a scholar or group of scholars becomes curious about a topic.

    These scholars must develop their curiosity into research topics of their choice for their doctoral dissertations

    The results of reading, observing, and thinking-of scholarly investigation-must be shared with others.

    Ultimately, a scholar’s work must go out for peer review.

    The researcher writes a paper & submits it to a professional association, so the paper can be presented at a regional or national meeting.

    When the paper is given at a convention, the presentation permits at least two other forms of peer assessment.

    Often a group of researchers will present various iterations of their work several times at conventions before they submit the work for publication

    Two forms of publication are most valued in the academic community-journal article & monograph or book

    One of the most important publications for introducing communication theories is a journal Communication Theory

    Members of the communication field subscribe to these journals, use their contents as background for their own research, and learn about the latest & best developments in the field.

    Since no universal, objective scale can be found, peers must judge potential publications subjectively.

    After a group of scholars develops a line of research & theory detail by presenting numerous convention presentations & publishing journal articles, they may publish a book

    Once a theory is identified & codified, other scholars may use it to guide additional research adding to the body of research & theory accepted as standard within the community

    After a group of scholars has established a name for itself, the scholars are often invited to write about & summarize their work in edited volumes

    In the end, then, theories are made-scholars label the concepts in the theory, decide what connections or relationships to feature, determine how to organize the theory & give the theory a name

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  6. What are the structural approaches to the Critical Theories?
    There are three essential keys and features of Critical Theories.

    First, they seek to understand the taken for granted systems, power structures, and beliefs or ideologies that dominate society, with a particular eye to whose interests are served by these power structures.

    • Second, critical theorists are particularly
    • interested in uncovering oppressive social conditions and power arrangements in
    • order to promote emancipation, or a freer and more fulfilling society.

    Third, critical social science makes a conscious attempt to fuse theory and action.

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  7. What is the foundation for Marxism?
    • Marxism is the originating branch of critical theory. Marx taught that the means of production
    • in society determines the nature of society; so the economy is the base of all social structure. In capitalistic systems, profit drives production, therefore oppressing labor or the working class. Only when working class rises up against
    • dominant groups can the means of production be changed and the liberation of the worker be achieved. Few critical theorists adopt Marx’s ideas on political economy, but his ideas of dialectical conflict, domination, and oppression remain important. Language is an important aspect of critical theory. According to Marx the ruling class always develops language and ideologies to justify and legitimize their exploitation of the working class. For example, the concept of the American Dream is often preached in American culture. This idea promotes the thought that “one-day if you work hard enough then you too will be rich and
    • become a member of the elite class”. The language of the “elite” often gets the working class to accept their situation. It is the job of critical theorists to
    • create forms of language that will enable the predominant ideology to be exposed and competing ideologies to be heard.

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  8. What is poststructuralism?
    • Poststructuralism seeks to deconstruct the study
    • of signs rather than generate a unifying theory like structuralism. Post-structuralism offers a study of how knowledge is produced and a critique of structuralist premises. It argues that because history and culture condition the study of underlying structures it is subject to biases and
    • misinterpretations. To understand an object (e.g. one of the many meanings of a text), a post-structuralist approach argues, it is necessary to study both the object itself and the systems of knowledge that produced the object.

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  9. What is the basis for feminist studies?
    Feminism has been defined in many ways ranging movements to secure rights for women to efforts at ending all forms of oppression

    Feminist scholars began with a focus on gender and sought to distinguish between sex a biological category and gender a social construction

    • Feminists inquiry seeks to offer theories that center
    • women’s experiences and to articulate the relations between the categories of gender and other social categories, including race, ethnicity, class and
    • sexuality

    (LittleJohn/Foss 2005)
  10. What are concepts in Communication Research?
    • CONCEPTS is a term
    • that summarize a group of characteristics

    Example: observing a news article

    -typical concepts in mass media include advertising, effectiveness, message length, media usage, and readability

    • - concepts are important because they simplify the research process by combining particular characteristics, objects, or people into a more general categories. Concepts also simplify communication among those who have a shared
    • understanding of them.

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  11. What are Variables in Communication research?
    • VARIABLES are things that
    • researchers manipulate, change, and measure.

    - a characteristic with more than 1 form/value.

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  12. What is an Operational Definition?
    An operational definition defines a concept solely in terms of the operations (or methods) used to produce and measure

    • EXAMPLE: measuring primary news source effectiveness; look at the desired news source
    • among audience, number of hours spent engaging with news source

    -some news source are not as effective as others, examine hours spent on sources

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  13. What are the four major scales of measurement?
    Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, Ratio

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  14. What is probability sampling and what are the types of probability sampling?
    PROBABILITY SAMPLING- is selected according to mathematical guidelines whereby each unit’s chance for selection is known.

    (types of probability sampling)

    RANDOM SAMPLING (probability): where each subject or unit in the population has an equal chance of being selected

    Pros: detailed knowledge of the population is not required

    External validity may be statistically inferred.

    A representative group is easily obtainable

    The possibility of classification error is eliminated

    Cons: a list of the population must be compiled

    A representative sample may not result in all cases

    The procedure can be more expensive than other methods

    Example: obtaining a given population and randomly select and individual from that population

    STRATIFIED SAMPLE: approach used to get adequate representation of a subsample. Before sampling, the population is divided into characteristics of importance for the research.

    • Example: males and females, or managers and
    • non-managers. The researcher first identifies the relevant stratums and their actual representation in the population.

    Pros: representation of relevant variables is ensured

    Comparison can be made to other populations

    Selection is made from a homogenous group

    Sampling error is reduced

    Cons: a knowledge of the population prior to selection is required

    The procedure can be costly and time consuming

    It can be difficult to find a sample if incidence is low

    Variables that define strata may not be relevant

    CLUSTER SAMPLING: selecting samples in groups or categories

    Example: a researcher wants to survey academic performance of high school students in Spain. He can divide the entire population (population of Spain) into different clusters (cities). Then the researcher selects a number of clusters depending on his research

    Pros: only part of the population need be counted

    Cost are reduced if clusters are well defined

    Estimates of cluster parameters are made and compared by the population

    Cons: sampling error are likely

    Clusters may not be representative of the population

    Each subject or unit must be assigned to a specific cluster

    • SNOWBALL SAMPLING: qualifies respondents are randomly contacted, then asked for the names of friends, relatives, and acquaintances they know
    • that may qualify for the research study

    • Example: researcher is studying environmental engineers but can only find five. She asks
    • these engineers if they know any more. They give her several further referrals, who in turn provides additional contacts.

    Pros: process is cheap and simple

    Cons: sample may be bias, sample may consist of respondents from club or organization

    Researcher has little control over sampling method

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  15. What is Non-probability sampling and what are the types of non-probability sampling?
    NONPROBABILITY- does not follow the guidelines of mathematical probability.

    (types of non probability sample)

    • NON-RANDOM SAMPLING (non probability): where each subject or unit in the population does
    • not have an equal chance of being selected.

    CONVENIENCE SAMPLE (available sample): collection readily subjects for a study.

    • Example: a group of students enrolled in an introductory mass media class or shoppers in
    • the mall

    Pros: useful in pretesting questionnaires or other preliminary work

    Cons: don’t represent the population and has no external validity

    This method is accessible when the researcher is interested in getting an inexpensive approximation of the truth.

    QUOTA SAMPLE: when subjects are selected to meet a predetermined percentage

    • Example: when researching a researcher that studies VCR vs. non- VCR owners and their use of television may know that 40% of the population owns a VCR; therefore the sample selected would
    • be composed of 40% VCR owners.

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  16. In content analysis, what are the major measurement units for analyzing the material? How do you set up the coding categories? How can you determine the intercoder reliability in the content analysis?
    Content analysis has been defined as a systematic, replicable technique for compressing many words of text into fewer content categories based on explicit rules of coding.

    Major measurement units for analyzing materials are by one word, one paragraph, one theme

    set up coding categories after a preliminary examination of data, called emergent coding; the coding categories are created based on common factors or themes that emerge from the data

    Example: content of FM radio stations website, 4 categories after examining station contact variables, station information, news information, other

    Prior coding, where you establish the categories before the data are collected based on conceptual rationalization

    • Example: study of media coverage of fundamentalist Christians, developed a 10 category
    • system based on stereotypes that were reported in the American National Election studies & more than 2000 newspaper articles were coded in those
    • categories

    To determine the intercoder reliability, set of data needs to be coded twice at different times.

    "the amount of agreement or correspondence among two or more coders."

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  17. What distinguishes the experiment from other research methods? Can you identify IV vs DV in an experiment? How do you increase the internal validity?
    • Experiment methods allow evidence of causality
    • which help establish cause and effect, researchers have control over the environment, variables, and subject; cost is low compared to other research
    • methods; replication is permitted in experimental research. Experiment research is extremely accurate compared to others

    Other research methods such as scientific method, scientific research is public, researchers cannot plead private knowledge,

    -manipulation and observation distinguishes experiment research from other methods

    Independent variable (IV): controlled by the researchers [CAUSE], Dependent variable (DV): is measured and observed by researcher [EFFECT]

    internal validity is the confidence that we can place in the cause and effect relationship in a study.

    -ways to increase internal validity, make sure that the conditions in your experiment are exactly the same, except for the one thing you want to study - the independent variable. You have to reduce as many extraneous variables as possible so that you can isolate the effect of the one thing you want to study (again, the independent variable).

    -When a study is high in internal validity, its results provide clear support for the hypothesis being tested.

    • -Scientific researchers deliberately set up artificial
    • laboratory conditions when testing their hypotheses because it is the best way to increase the internal validity of a study.

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  18. What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?
    QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH: a research method that uses standardized questioning; all respondents are asked the same questions. Follow-up questions are allowed in the questionnaire but must be included in the measurement instrument before the research begins.

    Requires large research sample size

    Doesn’t require interviewer to have special skills

    Gives statistical and summarization analysis

    Uses computers, questionnaires, and printouts to perform research

    Research is descriptive and casual

    QUALITATIVE RESEARCH: a research method that uses flexible questioning; researchers can change questions or ask follow-up questions at anytime.

    Requires small research sample size

    Requires interviewer to have special skills

    Gives interpretive analysis

    Use videos, pictures, tape recorders, focus groups, and etc. to perform research

    Research is exploratory (investigating, examining

    • made while observing in the field, interview transcripts, documents, diaries, journals

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  19. In terms of data analysis, understand the measures of central tendency and dispersion, chi square test, correlation coefficient, and interpreting the results.

    -central tendency is the mean, median, and mode in data; determines the typical score of a distribution

    -dipersion is variance, describes the way the scores are spread out

    -chi square test, whether a group of variables are significantly different from the overall population. Whether the data is significant or not

    • X²= ∑(O-E)² o=observed e=expected --------
    • E

    • Steps: find O, find E (total observed /by # of groups), find O-E, find (O-E)², find
    • (O-E)²/E, then add up the (O-E)²/E column

    df= (# rows)(# columns-1)

    • probability chart look at df, then follow
    • chi-square till you get the correct probability

    0.05% (5%) or less is significant

    • -correlation coefficient represents the product moment correlation between the predicted and
    • weighted scores. (r) relationship between two variables whether positive or negative

    • R= n(∑xy) – (∑x) (∑y)
    • _______________

    Square root of n= (∑x²) -(∑x)² * squared root of n=(∑y²) – (∑y)²

    If the p-level comes is equal or less than .05 then it is statistically significant which means that the row variable and cross variables are significant. If greater than then it is NOT significant

    (Wimmer/Dominick 2006)
  20. What is theory X?
    1. Employees normally do not like to work and will try to avoid it.

    2. Since employees do not like working, they have to coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to motivate them to work.

    3. The average employee is lazy, shuns responsibility, is not ambitious, needs direction and principally desires security.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  21. What is Theory Y?
    • 1. Work is as natural as play and therefore
    • people desire to work.

    2. Employees are responsible for accomplishing their own work objectives.

    3. Comparable personal rewards are important for employee commitment to achieving work goals.

    4. Under favorable conditions, the average employee will seek and accept responsibility.

    5. Employees can be innovative in solving organizational problems.

    6. Most organizations utilize only a small proportion of their employees’ abilities.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  22. What is theory Z?
    Theory Z places more reliance on the attitude and responsibilities of the workers, whereas Mcgregor's XY theory is mainly focused on management and motivation from the manager's and organisation's perspective.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  23. What is the classical school?
    The classical school of management was primarily concerned with developing such a theory to improve management effectiveness in organizations. Within the classical school there are the bureaucratic management, administrative management and scientific management branches.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  24. What is Maslow's heirarchy of needs?
    • Maslow believes the needs hierarchy can be
    • classified into five specific groups. To reach successive levels of the hierarchy required the satisfaction of the lower level needs:

    1. Physiological needs. Maslow groups all physical needs necessary for maintaining basic human well being into this category. These needs become acute and predominant if any or all of these needs are unsatisfied. However, consistent with Maslow’s theory of motivation, once a need is satisfied, such as thirst, it no longer is a motivator.

    2. Safety needs. These needs include the need for basic security, stability, protection, and freedom from fear. A normal state exists for an individual to have all of these needs generally satisfied. Otherwise, they become primary motivators.

    • 3. The belongingness and love needs. Once the
    • physical and safety are satisfied and no longer are motivators, than the belongingness and love needs emerge as primary motivators. The individual will
    • strive to establish meaningful relationships with significant others. Deprivation of the belongingness and love need will result in significant personality maladjustment.

    4. The esteem needs. An individual must develop self confidence. In order to do this it is essential to the individual to have adequacy from achieving mastery and competence leading to the achievement of status, reputation, fame and glory. This achieves satisfaction of the self-esteem needs.

    • 5. The need for self-actualization. Assuming
    • all of the previous needs in the hierarchy are satisfied, a “new discontent and restlessness will soon develop... A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write ... What a man can be, he must be.”

    • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory helps the
    • manager to visualize employee motivation. It helps in understanding the motivations and needs employees have and the requirement to satisfy basic needs in order to achieve higher level motivation.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  25. Study and elaborate on the required qualities, skills, etc. of a manager of a broadcast station (television and radio).
    To carry out their functions and roles effectively, managers require many skills. Robert L. Katz identifies three basic skills that every manager must have in varying degrees, according to the management level. Technical, Human, Conceptual

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  26. What do the technical skills of a manager entail?
    • Knowledge, analytical ability, and facility in the use of the tools and techniques of a specific kind
    • of activity. For the general manager, that activity is managing. While it does not demand the ability to perform all the tasks that characterize a broadcast
    • station; it does require sufficient knowledge to ask pertinent questions and evaluate the worth of the responses. Accordingly, the GM should have knowledge of

    a. The objectives of the station’s owners

    • b. Management and the management functions of planning, organizing, influencing or directing,
    • and controlling

    • c. Business practices, especially sales and marketing, budgeting, cost controls, and public
    • relations

    • d. The market, including the interests and the needs of the audience and the business
    • potential afforded by the area retail and service establishments

    e. Competing media, the sources and amonts of their revenues

    f. Broadcasting and allied professions, including advertising agencies, station representative companies, and program and news services

    g. The station and the activities of its departments and personnel

    h. Broadcast laws, rules and regulation, and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations

    • Contracts, particularly those dealing with
    • network affiliation, station representation, programming, talent, music licensing, and labor unions

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  27. What do the human skills of a manager entail?
    The ability to work with people and to build a cooperative effort. The general manager should have the capacity to influence the behavior of emlployees toward the accomplishment of the station’s objectives by motivating them, creating job satisfaction, and encouraging loyalty and mutual respect. An appreciation of the differing skills and aspirations of employess and departments also is essential if the station’s activities are to be combined in a successful team effort

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  28. What do the conceptual skills of a manager entail?
    The ability to see the enterprise as a whole and the dependence of one part on the others. To coordinate successfully the station’s efforts, the GM must recognize the interdependence of programming and promotions, sales and programming, and production and engineering, for example. Equally important is the ability to comprehend the relationship of the station to the rest of the broadcast industry, to the community, and to prevailing economic, political, and social forces, all of which contribite to decisions on directions that the station will take and the subsequent formulation of objectives and policies.

    (Management of Electronic media by Albarran.)
  29. Be prepared to discuss how social media has
    impacted other forms of electronic mass media? Study at length the future prospects for Internet television and radio.
    • One can reasonable conclude that social media
    • certainly has affected journalism and will continue to affect it in the future. Also social media has affected the way we watch television and interact with our peers.

    Social media has given journalists new ways to report and has opened the door for members of the general public who have something to say but can’t go through a journalist for one reason or another.

    Social media will continue to change the way journalists gather and report the news. Reporters can find sources and disseminate information using social media tools. Eyewitnesses will become reporters, but the world will still need “traditional” journalists to go in and verify the facts. Perhaps in the future, professional journalists won’t be so much pure information disseminators but truth disseminators. If you want to see what people say is happening right now, check Twitter; if you want to see what’s actually true and what might be false, check CNN or The New York Times.

    According to our textbook Communication Technology updates and fundamentals we are rapidly heading toward a place where consumers will want converged television and want to be able to personalize their television watching experience.

    There is already evidence of this with Video on demand services popping up everywhere such as Netflix, Hulu plus and various cable and satellite on-demand services. As far as convergence goes there is also evidence of that phenomenon happening today. Apple has been a major player in this with their cloud service which allows one to watch a movie on their mobile device and pick it up on their television when they arrive at home.

    (Grant/Meadows 2010)
  30. Who is rhetorician? What is Rhetorical

    What are two Meanings of "Argument"?
    If you enjoy learning how to communicate effectively, especially in public situations, being a speaker, politician or minister or if public art as symbolic statement intrigue then you are a rhetorician

    *Ministers, politicians, motivational speakers, public speakers

    • -
    • Dating back in the West to 5th-century BC Greece: the study of rhetoric is really where the communication discipline began

    Rhetorical persuasion-(Originally) rhetoric was the art of constructing arguments & speechmaking.

    • It then evolved to include the process of “adjusting
    • ideas to people & people to ideas” in messages of all kinds

    • -
    • The focus of rhetoric has broadened to encompass all of the ways humans use symbols to affect those around them and to construct the worlds in which they live

    Two Meanings of “Argument”


    • ·
    • 2 Meanings of Argument

    1*involves making an argument by giving reason

    (Ex. Smoking is bad for you)

    2* is having an argument, or exchanging objections

    (Ex. Mary & her son may argue about the effects of smoking)
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