COM CHAPTER 2
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building blocks of theory:
- -purposes of theory
- -focus of theorizing.
basic tenets of three approaches to research:
views of human nature
factors on ontology
- human behavior is governed by forces beyond our control – usually the forces of biology and environment.
-Free will: we make choices about how we act within certain constraints.
ways of knowing
- -Creating meaning
- -There are multiple views of reality.
- -Standpoint affects how we interpret and understand.
Purposes of theory:
universal laws vs. situated rules
- Universal laws
- -Holds true across time and space.
- -Good for physics and natural sciences, not so good for communication.
- Situated rules
- -Rules that guide how we act in certain situations.
- -Generally fits views of free will rather than determinism.
Focus of theorizing:
- -Only what we can see or observe
- -Meanings, motives, and intentions, even if they exist, aren’t measurable and are outside the realm of science.
- -Behavior is useless unless we can
- attribute meaning.
- -Critique of power
- -Goal of reform
-The gathering of information that can be quantified and interpreted through statistical analysis.
-Descriptive statistics, surveys, and experiments are common.
- -About understanding more than measuring.
- -Goal is to interpret meanings and other unobservable dimensions.
- -Textual analysis and ethnography are common.
- -Difference is in goal: critiquing communication practices that oppress, marginalize, or
- otherwise harm people.
testable predictions about relationships between communication phenomena.
specify the phenomena of interest but do not predict relationships.
precise descriptions that specify how to observe the phenomena of interest.
- -Use a hypothesis if you have a reason to think you know the nature of the
- -The theory you are working with or developing may help you predict the
- -Use a research question if you do not.
- -If the theory is not well tested or you are extending it, there may be no basis
- for a prediction.
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