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Communication studies

Definition: Communication Research

❶If you are working with a community organization, you may choose to make a donation. Why might someone be interested in researching a communications strategy?

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Many Communication researchers want to use the results of their research to predict and control communication in certain contexts. This type of research can help us make communicative choices from an informed perspective. In fact, when you communicate, you often do so with the intention of prediction and control. Imagine walking on campus and seeing someone you would like to ask out. Because of your past experiences, you predict that if you say certain things to them in a certain way, you might have a greater likelihood that they will respond positively.

Your predictions guide your behaviors in order to control the exchange at some level. This same idea motivates many Communication researchers to approach their research with the intention of being able to predict and control communication contexts.

D explains prediction and control in action. Scholars often perform research in order to challenge communicative norms and effect cultural and societal change. Research that examines health communication campaigns, for example, seeks to understand how effective campaigns are in changing our health behaviors such as using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or avoiding high fat foods.

As humans, researchers have particular goals in mind. Having an understanding of what they want to accomplish with their research helps them formulate questions and develop appropriate methodologies for conducting research that will help them achieve their intended outcomes.

Remember that theoretical paradigms offer different ways to understand communication. While it is possible to examine communication from multiple theoretical perspectives, it has been our experience that our colleagues tend to favor certain theoretical paradigms over others.

Put another way, we all understand the world in ways that make sense to us. Which theoretical paradigm s do you most align yourself with? How would this influence what you would want to accomplish if you were researching human communication? What types of communication phenomena grab your attention? These are questions that researchers wrestle with as they put together their research projects. While most researchers have preferences for certain theoretical paradigms, most researchers also have preferred methodologies for conducting research in which they develop increased expertise throughout their careers.

As with theories, there are a large number of methodologies available for conducting research. As we did with theories, we believe it is easier for you to understand methodologies by categorizing them into paradigms. Most Communication researchers have a preference for one research paradigm over the others. For our purposes, we have divided methodological paradigms into 1 rhetorical methodologies, 2 quantitative methodologies, and 3 qualitative methodologies.

We encode and decode messages everyday. As we take in messages, we use a number of criteria to evaluate them. Did you have a conversation about the movie with others?

Did that conversation include commentary on various parts of the film such as the set design, dialogue, plot, and character development? If so, you already have a taste of the variety of elements that go into rhetorical research. Simply stated, rhetorical methods of research are sophisticated and refined ways to evaluate messages. Steps for Doing Rhetorical Research We already outlined the seven basic steps for conducting research, but there are ways to vary this process for different methodologies.

Below are the basic steps for conducting rhetorical research. Determine a focus of study such as political speeches, television shows or genres, movies or movie genres, commercials, magazine texts, the rhetoric of social movement organizations, music lyrics, visual art, public memorials, etc. Analyze the message s of focus such as a Presidential address by using a particular rhetorical method. Interpret the implications of the rhetorical act, as well as the rhetorical act itself.

For example, a scholar might choose to rhetorically research television violence and provide interpretations regarding the implications of television violence on viewers. Share the results of research.

From sharing research comes the opportunity to improve our ability to create and evaluate effective messages. We can also use what we learn from rhetorical research to shape the ways messages are constructed and delivered. What do rhetorical methods actually look like? How are they done? While each rhetorical methodology acts as a unique lens for understanding messages, no one is more correct over another. Instead, each allows us a different way for understanding messages and their effects.

This piece demonstrates rhetorical research used as a means of understanding a historical rhetorical act in its particular context. What is the value of researching acts of communication from a rhetorical perspective?

The systematic research of messages tells us a great deal about the ways people communicate, the contexts in which they communicate, the effects of communication in particular contexts, and potential areas to challenge and transform messages to create social change. Rhetorical research methodologies help us better determine how and why messages are effective or ineffective, as well as the outcomes of messages on audiences.

Think about advertising campaigns. Advertising agencies spend millions of dollars evaluating the effectiveness of their messages on audiences. The purpose of advertising is to persuade us to act in some way, usually the purchasing of products or services. Advertisers not only evaluate the effectiveness of their messages by determining the amount of products sold, they also evaluate effectiveness by looking at audience response to the messages within the current cultural and social contexts.

Steps for Doing Quantitative Research Rhetorical research methods have been being developed since the Classical Period. As the transition was made to seeing communication from a social scientific perspective, scholars began studying communication using the methods established from the physical sciences.

Thus, quantitative methods represent the steps of using the Scientific Method of research. Decide on a focus of study based primarily on your interests. What do you want to discover or answer? Develop a research question s to keep your research focused. Develop a hypothesis es. A hypothesis states how a researcher believes the subjects under study will or will not communicate based on certain variables.

Collect data in order to test hypotheses. In our example, you might observe various college classrooms in order to count which students professors call on more frequently. Analyze the data by processing the numbers using statistical programs like SPSS that allow quantitative researchers to detect patterns in communication phenomena. Analyzing data in our example would help us determine if there are any significant differences in the ways in which college professors call on various students.

Interpret the data to determine if patterns are significant enough to make broad claims about how humans communicate? Simply because professors call on certain students a few more times than other students may or may not indicate communicative patterns of significance. Share the results with others.

Through the sharing of research we continue to learn more about the patterns and rules that guide the ways we communicate. The term quantitative refers to research in which we can quantify, or count, communication phenomena. Quantitative methodologies draw heavily from research methods in the physical sciences explore human communication phenomena through the collection and analysis of numerical data.

What if we wanted to see how public speaking textbooks represent diversity in their photographs and examples. One thing we could do is quantify these to come to conclusions about these representations. For quantitative research, we must determine which communicative acts to count? How do we go about counting them? What can we learn by counting acts of human communication? Suppose you want to determine what communicative actions illicit negative responses from your professors.

How would you go about researching this? What data would you count? In what ways would you count them? Who would you study? How would you know if you discovered anything of significance that would tell us something important about this? These are tough questions for researchers to answer, particularly in light of the fact that, unlike laws in the physical sciences, human communication is varied and unpredictable.

Nevertheless, there are several quantitative methods researchers use to study communication in order to reveal patterns that help us predict and control our communication.

Think about polls that provide feedback for politicians. While people do not all think the same, this type of research provides patterns of thought to politicians who can use this information to make policy decisions that impact our lives. There are many ways researchers can quantify human communication. Not all communication is easily quantified, but much of what we know about human communication comes from quantitative research. To determine if students were more motivated to learn by participating in a classroom game versus attending a classroom lecture, the researchers designed an experiment.

They wanted to test the hypothesis that students would actually be more motivated to learn from the game. In a number of classes instructors were asked to proceed with their normal lecture over certain content control group , and in a number of other classes, instructors used a game that was developed to teach the same content experimental group. The students were issued a test at the end of the semester to see which group did better in retaining information, and to find out which method most motivated students to want to learn the material.

It was determined that students were more motivated to learn by participating in the game, which proved the hypothesis. The other thing that stood out was that students who participated in the game actually remembered more of the content at the end of the semester than those who listened to a lecture.

Zabada-Ford conducted survey research of customers to determine their expectations and experiences with physicians, dentists, mechanics, and hairstylists. In this study, the goal was to be able to predict the behavior of customers based on their expectations before entering a service-provider context.

However, this research can be used to alter and change messages, such as PSAs, to produce behavioral change in the culture.

In this case, the change would be to either keep adolescents from smoking marijuana, or to get them to stop this behavior if they are currently engaged in it. First, the broader U. To this end, many Communication researchers emulate research methodologies of the physical sciences to study human communication phenomena.

In fact, many of your own interactions are based on a loose system of quantifying behavior. Think about how you and your classmates sit in your classrooms.

Most students sit in the same seats every class meeting, even if there is not assigned seating. In this context, it would be easy for you to count how many students sit in the same seat, and what percentage of the time they do this.

You probably already recognize this pattern without having to do a formal study. However, if you wanted to truly demonstrate that students communicatively manifest territoriality to their peers, it would be relatively simple to conduct a quantitative study of this phenomenon.

This research would not only provide us with an understanding of a particular communicative pattern of students, it would also give us the ability to predict, to a certain degree, their future behaviors surrounding space issues in the classroom. While these trends and patterns cannot be applied to all people, in all contexts, at all times, they help us understand what variables play a role in influencing the ways we communicate.

While quantitative methods can show us numerical patterns, what about our personal lived experiences? How do we go about researching them, and what can they tell us about the ways we communicate? Qualitative research methodologies draw much of their approach from the social sciences, particularly the fields of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social-Psychology. Rather than statistically analyzing data, or evaluating and critiquing messages, qualitative researchers are interested in understanding the subjective lived-experience of those they study.

In other words, how can we come to a more rich understanding of how people communicate? Steps for Doing Qualitative Research Qualitative approaches break from traditional research ideals developed in the physical sciences. As a result, the steps for conducting qualitative research vary from the seven basic steps outlined above.

Planning is the first step for qualitative research. You might want to study the communication of registered nurses. Getting in is the second step of qualitative research Lindlof. Because qualitative research usually focuses on human communication in real-world settings, researchers must gain access to the people and contexts they wish to study.

Observing and learning make up the third step of qualitative research. For example, researchers must decide whether or not to reveal themselves to those they are studying. Each of these choices has an impact on the outcomes of the research. Analyze what you have observed. There are exhaustive methods for examining and analyzing qualitative data. Issues of right versus wrong ways of analysis can be addressed by recognizing that the goal of qualitative research is not to generalize findings to everyone, but to share the lived experiences of those who are researched.

Share conclusions of the research. Again, research should be shared with others so they can gain a greater understanding of the lived-experience of those researched. Data collection comes in the form of words or pictures Neuman There are no hard rules for qualitative research.

Instead, researchers must make many choices as they engage in this process. With the move from the industrial age to the information age, many jobs center around the creation and dissemination of information. With so many online options for retrieving information, it is more important to have skills in gathering information rather than memorizing facts and data. As it is vital to be able to access proper information when needed, many universities require a specific amount of research hours for both undergraduate and masters degree programs.

A variety of career opportunities require research experience such as marketing agencies or health industries. What can we learn by using qualitative research methods for studying communication? Qualitative Communication researchers often believe that quantitative methods do not capture the essence of our lived experience. In other words, it is difficult to quantify everything about our lives and therefore, we need different strategies for understanding our world. Think of the various ways you experience and communicate in your relationships?

However, through methods like observation, interviewing, journaling, etc. Another value of qualitative research is that it resonates with readers who are able to identify with the lived-experiences represented in the research Neuman. Statistical studies often seem detached from how we experience life.

This rich description allows us to identify with the communication experiences of others, and learn through this identification. From understanding to social change, feminist scholars demonstrate the importance of qualitative inquiry for strengthening the body of scholarship in our discipline.

While researchers who use quantitative approaches tend to value prediction and control as potential outcomes of their research, those who use qualitative approaches seek greater understanding of human communication phenomena, or evaluate current pragmatic uses of human communication to help identify and change oppressive power structures. Communication research is important because it focuses on a common goal—to enhance our interactions with others.

Other programs and courses often integrated in communication programs include journalism , film criticism , theatre , public relations , political science e. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the academic journal, see Communication Research journal. History of communication studies.

Communication Outline of communication Communibiology Communication theory Critical theory Digital rhetoric Linguistics Philosophy of language Rhetoric Semiotics Semiotics of culture Text and conversation theory Category: Archived from the original on September 6, Retrieved February 10, Statistical Methods for Communication Science.

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities". International Journal of Communication. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration.

Archived from the original PDF on Communication design Communication theory Communicology Crisis communication Cross-cultural communication Development communication Discourse analysis Environmental communication Health communication International communication Mass communication Media studies Mediated cross-border communication Organizational communication Political communication Risk communication Science communication Technical communication Visual communication.

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Communication Research (CR), peer-reviewed and published bi-monthly, has provided researchers and practitioners with the most up-to-date, comprehensive and important research on communication and its related fields. It publishes articles that explore the processes, antecedents, and consequences of communication in a broad range of .

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Communication Research: It is the qualitative and quantitative research methodology followed to understand about the communication paydayloanslexington.gqication Research helps in confirming and discovering patterns in communication behavior of people, and helps the scholars to develop useful Communication theories.

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Years ago, few scholars studied communication. But since the s, more research has been done in this field of study, as researchers try to understand how people communicate (or fail to. At its foundation, Communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, and is the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry.

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Doing Communication Research Students often believe that researchers are well organized, meticulous, and academic as they pursue their research projects. The reality of research is that much of it is a hit-and-miss endeavor. Types of communication methods include verbal communication, written communication and body language. Communication is very important because it's the only way we can effectively work together on.