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uploaded by user lizard8 Class: Lecture/Exam: School: Semester: Professor: Communication Research Methods (301) Chapters 1-6 UDEL Spring 2014 N/A

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Communication301 (Test 1)

2/19/2014 11:04:00 AM

Chapter 1: Approaches to the Study of Communication Models/paradigms: sets of assumptions that social scientists use to guide their work 3 paradigms dominate the contemporary scene: covering law model rules approach pragmatic paradigm The covering law model also known as: determinism, the received view, positivism, the classical paradigm, logical empiricism the most widely accepted perspective in contemporary communication research states that the reasons for the occurrence of some communicative behavior exist in the past o means that every event is caused by specific events that have already occurred helps us to ask why? (we ask why to find out what the specific events in the past were that caused this new event) nothing is random, everything is governed by natural laws patterns in human behavior are determined (determinism) by these natural laws laws at the core of the covering law model can be classified into two groups: o universal laws: thought to be unrestrained by time, space, cultural differences, or personal characteristics; they explain regularities that have, do, and will exist; because it is a law it cannot be broken otherwise it has been proven false and is no longer a law; allows for predictions about particular events example: water at sea level at 100 degrees Celsius will boil and if not then the law is no longer a law o statistical laws: different from universal laws in that they do not suggest that a consequent event or condition will always follow a given predecessor; they only predict the percentage of times that a specific condition will occur; only allows predictions about larger groups or collections of events
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example: if a man and woman conceive a child there is

a 50% chance that child will be female conditional logic: a very formal and rigorous form of logic; characterized by the use of ifthen statements; (event B will occur under the condition that event A occurs ); strongly implies a cause and effect relationship o what connects the meaning of A with the observation of A are the operations used by scientists to measure A which are called operational definitions operational definition: used to define something in

terms of a process needed to determine its existence, duration and quality o *note* there is a difference between a causal relationship and regularly coexisting The rules approach humans play an active role in creating the rules that govern their various message exchanges social science must be pluralistic (must adopt different explanatory models for different types of human behavior) human behavior can be divided into two classes/groups of activity o controlled behavior: a persons intentions, desires, or purposes have no effect or relevance (ex: whether or not falling down the stairs will end in injury doesnt depend on how you feel) controlled behaviors exist and occur frequently and are most appropriately explained by the covering law model these instances rely little on human communication o influenced behavior: behavior designed to accomplish a specific purpose (ex: apologizing to someone for doing something wrong is a purposeful action) teleology: purpose leads to action involves human choice (choose which purposes to pursue and the means by which to pursue them) guided by the cognitive meanings people hold people assign meaning to situations episode: a communication situation
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our experiences are framed into episodes

cannot be explained by the covering law model because of choice and reason choice implies breaking natural laws reason implies looking to the future to explain something practical syllogism o designed to answer why questions while incorporating the concept of teleological behavior o the reason for performing a certain behavior is to bring about a certain event or condition in the future two distinct types of rules o regulative rules: societal norms or standards, include both implicit norms or standards for correct conduct and explicit, publicly stated legal statutes (associated with legal codes/formal laws), consequences of violating this rule include criticism and disapproval example: dont burp loudly in public because people will think youre rude o constitutive rules: define a frame of reference within which

certain behaviors may appropriately and coherently take place, associated with episodes (define a set of behaviors that make sense within that episode), violations bring about concern for the violators social competence or mental health relies more on mental constructs rather than behavioral constructs Difference between rules approach and covering law model: covering law=this happened because I did this rules approach=Im doing this so that this will happen Pragmatic perspective pragmatics is the most recently developed approach to communication pragmatics = contexts contributes to meaning involves the joining of two communication theories o systems theory: suggests the importance of the social, communicative context, assumes that communication does not take place in isolation

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three basic principles wholeness: aka the principle of nonsummativity, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, when people communicate their messages make up a system in which the individual messages, the behavior of one member affects and is affected by the behavior of all other members, ones communication depends on who theyre with openness: refers to the degree to which a system exchanges information or energy with the environment around it, people are constantly coming and going within the communication system and when they do they bring and take away information, an open system can be selfregulated (ex: when you get in a fight you can work it out) ecological balance: refers specifically to the natural and unimpeded exchange among various living, open systems and their hierarchical order: almost every system is a

component of a larger suprasystem and simultaneously comprises a number of smaller subsystems (ex: familyneighborhoodcity), must study communication system by looking at its appropriate suprasystem o certain aspects of information theory: implies that as people communicate over time, the inevitably develop patterns of interaction (certain alternatives become more likely over time) people have the ability to choose from among a range of alternative behaviors what allows people to systematically reduce the number of alternatives and eventually select a single behavior is information two applications

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uncertainty reduction: a situation in which no information exists is one of maximum uncertainty, uncertainty is reduced when you have more information about a situation binary digit: the basic quantitative unit of information, that amount of information necessary to reduce uncertainty by 50% Redundant patterns: past choices have an impact on or constrain future choices. People tend to habitually process information to repeatedly

reduce uncertainty in the same way, people do what they know works Paradigms and research methods all three perspectives require that the researcher associate variables in terms of other variables Chapter 2: Scientific Experiments Experiments allow a researcher to compare or contrast the effects of two distinct levels of some explanatory variable An experiment is different from an informal comparison because it has a control Control: the systematic elimination of all possible effects on or causes of the outcome, except the explanatory (variable that is held constant) Experiments are the only form of scientific research that allow cause and effect explanations to be examined Explanatory variable=independent variable (x) Outcome measure (criterion variable)=dependent variable (y) Logical requirements: if x, then why AND if not x, then not y (this eliminates a third variable problem) Types of variance variance we can explain o researcher can explain the differences between the scores because he or she created the variance by designing an experiment (subjects experienced different conditions so there will obviously be a difference in scores)
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variance we cannot explain

o researcher cannot explain this because these are variables that were not accounted for (ex: personality, mood during experiment, intelligence) these two variances sum to 1.00 (100%) researcher always wants to maximize explained variance and minimize unexplained variance Maximizing the explained variance make sure the experimental conditions are as different as realistically possible (researcher wants to influence outcome scores) the larger the difference between treatments, the larger the differences in outcome scores (as long as the treatment differences remain realistic) pilot study: practice study, used to test the logistics of an experiment before it is actually conducted Controlling extraneous variables extraneous variable: any factor that has the potential to influence the subjects outcomes scores in a systematic manner, irrelevant and unrelated to the basic research question confederate=assistant that is aware of the purpose of the experiment when you make everything equal you are only controlling for the variables you think of whereas when you randomly assign you control for everything because everything is supposed to be equally/randomly distributed (cannot systematically influence the experiment) 3 ways to control extraneous variables o control extraneous variables by making everything equal for all participants

o randomly assign participants to conditions to ensure that differences between the subjects are constant o include the extraneous variable (ex: the location could be an extraneous variable so redo the experiment at multiple locations) Unexplained variance revisited

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3 factors that have the potential to make unexplained variance larger o unique and idiosyncratic attributes of the individuals who participate o any explanatory variables that influences that outcome measure but was not designed into the experiment not a nuisance, these are meaningful variables ex: not using a male and female confederate but having gender influence the outcome measure o measurement error

all measurement contains some degree of error Completely randomized design: when subjects are measured once in a single condition Repeated measures designs: occurs when subjects are measured more than once Population vs. sample population: larger group who did not participate in the study but who the researcher wants to make social scientific claims about, always too large and too geographically dispersed to include the entire group in any form of research sample: small group that the researcher is actually studying 95% of participants in research studies are college sophomores In an ideal experiment, the subjects know nothing about the goals of the experiment (could potentially influence the results) Informed consent form: if there is even the slightest chance the subject could be physically or psychologically harmed this must be signed Every subject should be thoroughly debriefed after the experiment Experimental deception and institutional approval every experiment must be approved by an IRB (institutional review board) 3 reasons why deception is bad o morally and ethically wrong o subjects could suffer psychological harm when they realize they were duped o subjects are likely to see through the deception invalidating the results

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Internal vs. external validity internal validity: occurs when all of the extraneous variables are controlled, and the subjects have been randomly assigned; cause and effects relationships are warranted when an experiment possesses this external validity: occurs when an experiments results are generalizable to the real world (universalistic inquiry) internal and external validity are mutually exclusive (you can achieve one or the other but not both at the same time) o most researchers opt for internal validity

Chapter 3: Survey Methods In a survey the experimental concept of an outcome measure is absent as well as the concept of control Subjects are now called respondents Disadvantage of surveys is the lack of control When to use a survey some questions are unsuitable/unethical to use in an experiment (ex: marriage problems, exposure to primetime television) when the researcher wants to generalize his or her findings to a diverse and geographically dispersed population Types of survey questions closed ended questions: request information, but then ask respondent to choose from a set of categories (ex: what is your gender?) o researcher assumes that he or she has access to all of the relevant categories and these categories are the same as te respondents open ended questions: give respondents the opportunity to answer a question in their own way with their own words (ex: describe your feelings about gun control legislation) o perceptions are those of the respondent and not the researcher fill-in the blank questions: the respondent fills in specific information but without the categories (ex: occupation _________)

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scale items: designed to assess the presence of various attributes and characteristics or to determine the level of agreement with evaluative position statements (ex: Tuition at UD is too high : strongly disagreestrongly agree) o different types of scales likert scale: used to assess a respondents degree of agreement with certain statements semantic differential scale (bipolar adjective scale): used to assess whether a person, object, or entity possesses or fails to possess certain attributes as well

as to discover a respondents opinions and attitudes all people make sense of their world by imposing structure on it when writing a question researchers must ask two things o whose structure, the researchers or the respondents o when should it be imposed, as the survey is being constructed or after the responses have been provided Continuous vs. categorical responses never ask for a categorical response when you can obtain a continuous one a categorical response serves only to place the respondent into an undifferentiated group with other respondents (dont use a yes or no question when you can find out the degree to which the yes and no are) Types of surveys personal interview: considered by many to be the best form of administering survey questions to respondents, when the researcher goes to the respondents home and directly asks the survey questions o advantages: researcher has control over aspects of the interview (order, pace, understandability of questions), o disadvantages: time and expense telephone survey: when the research firm calls respondent to answer questions o advantages: inexpensive and efficient

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o disadvantage: no social norm to finish the story, built in sampling bias because rich people have unlisted numbers and poor people dont have phones mail survey: sending questions in the mail and waiting for a response to be mailed back o advantages: inexpensive o disadvantages: hidden costs (printing, stamps), no control self-administered survey: use either online or with paper and pen, respondents access the survey themselves Survey Designs 4 types o cross-sectional survey: takes a momentary cross section of time by surveying one sample at one time only, cannot answer questions that involve change (ex: how do you feel about event right now?) trend survey: although the population remains constant, the same people do not comprise that population from year to year (ex: give freshmen a welcome survey every year) cohort survey: studies a population of people as they pass through time however the same participants are not used (ex: news

magazine readership, start with 18 year olds and then in 4 years survey 22 year olds) panel study: survey equivalent of repeated measures design, same sample of respondents is surveyed on two or more occasions usually after some relevant intervening event has occurred (ex: how did you feel about candidate before and after the debate) o possible disadvantage of this is that people could drop out making your sample smaller Methods of sampling probability samples: each person has an equal opportunity of being selected to participate o random sampling: prevents unknown systematic influences from entering into the respondents answers 3 ways to achieve this random sampling algorithm and the phone book

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random sampling algorithm and voter registration

lists random digit dialing o stratified random sampling: ensures that your sample is representative of the population, often requires a screening question strata: important dimensions (age, education, race, religion) o disproportionate stratified random sampling: disproportionately sample groups until they are all about equal, use this when one strata will be too small or too large non-probability sample: respondents are selected out of convenience o convenience sampling: respondents are close in proximity and readily available Sampling error vs. sampling bias sampling error: researcher is not responsible for this however it will affect their results, when the sample is not representative, occurs even when the researcher does everything by the book sampling bias: occurs any time a researchers sampling procedures systematically exclude certain portions of the population from being represented in the sample, the researcher is responsible for this because they have done something incorrectly Chapter 4: The Observation of Communicative Behavior: Content Analysis (Tabular and Contingency) Researchers use observation to focus on content and style of communicative behavior In observational studies focus shifts from person to the selection of a behavior Sequencing: the dependence of one part of a message or interaction on earlier parts Observational studies are divided into two types tabular: messages are analyzed without regard to the sequencing of their parts
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contingency: sequencing is a major focus of attention

Units, categories and their operationalization communication occurs in a relatively uninterrupted stream so to generalize the stream it must be segmented unit: an element to be categorized Unitizing decisions about unitizing observational data should be guided by the need to strike a balance between two concerns o the unit needs to be inclusive enough to manifest whatever term or items are of interest to the researcher o the unit needs to be manageable (not so inclusive that it is simply general or vague) unitizing decisions must be clear so they can be replicated Categorizing Cubbyholes into which units are places and counted Generally tend to be one of two types o Descriptive: categorize units in terms of what they are (ex: masculine pronouns, negative depictions of women) o Functional: categorize unites in terms of what they do in a communication context (ex: ask questions, propose solutions) The category system you adopt has the effect of imposing structure on the reality of the text you analyze Category systems for observational analyses should be finite and exhaustive and the categories within the system should be mutually exclusive o Exhaustive: each and every unit of behavior must be assignable to a category o Mutually exclusive: each unit of behavior should be assignable to one and only one category

Must have a balance between inclusiveness and manageability From conceptualization to operationalization Practical suggestions for operationalizing o Define categories with words whose common meanings denote the variable of interest

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o Define units carefully so that coders will know whether they are to make judgments of words, sentences, thought units, or time periods o Survey material similar to that which is to be analyzed in order to discover the relative difficulty of the judgments to be made o Prepare a list of instructions as explicit as possible for the coders to use in assigning units to categories (sometimes called decision rules) o Test these instructions by having coders attempt to use them on material similar to that which will be coded in the main analysis o Then check the coders reliability on this pilot material o If necessary revise his or her units, categories, or decision rules and test reliability again Sampling in observational studies Must define population with great care You should not sample from among a coherent set of symbolic material but that instead once you have chosen a set you should analyze it all Contingency studies An important focus of attention is the relationship among parts of the set of data (structural relationships) Uses key words like follow, precede, before, and after Interaction analysis: one kind of contingency analysis Lag sequential analysis: modification of interaction analysis Different from tabular studies because the researcher preserves the order of events The ubiquitous utility of ratios Ratio: the quotient obtained by dividing instances of the category of interest by the total number of instances, help researchers to compare bodies of texts that are not the same size Type/token ratio: commonly used ration in communication research, measures lexical diversity, found by dividing the number of different words in a text by the total number of words in the text, systematically affected by the length of the text

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Mean segmental type/token ratio: found by dividing the text into

passages of a given length and then calculating the TTR for each passage and adding them all together and then dividing by the number of passages to calculate the mean On the issue of structure In the quintessential structured approach, the researcher specifies in advance not only the unitization and categorization scheme and the method analysis, but also the environment and often the selection of message sources resulting in a rigorously designed observational experiment No researchers investigation can be completely unstructured Constant comparison technique: process of categorizing and critically recategorizing Researchers using a grounded theory approach face severe problems in establishing the reliability of their units and of their categories

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2/19/2014 11:04:00 AM Chapter 5: Paper-and-Pencil Tests and Rating Scales Scales

attempt to obtain information about subjects perception by means of self-report used to detect changes in cognitions and cognitive processes Cognitive States and Traits cognitive states o situationally dependent and of relatively short duration o existence is intrinsically bound to a particular person, object, context, or situation o ex: fear, anger, anxiety, empathy cognitive traits o thought to be relatively enduring attributes or characteristics of an individual o thought to operate and influence behavior in many situation the individual encounters o ex: social introversion, Machiavellianism, dogmatism, communication apprehension, anxiety both states and traits are measured by self-reports (paper and

pencil instruments) that contain multiple scales or items each scale is related to the core meaning associated with the concept but measures the perception of a subtly different aspect of that concept Attitude Formation and Change attitudes are thought of as evaluative cognitions involving judgments of the goodness or badness of attitude objects attitudes are measured with self-reports Rating the Communicative Behavior of Others Becker defined rating as describing an individual, group of individuals, behaviors, or artifacts of behaviors in terms of one or more numerical scales communicators are not the best sources of information about their own behavior Types of Scales Likert Scales
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o Named for Rensis Likert o Consists of a statement followed by a scale on which the subject can indicate his or her agreement or disagreement with the statement Semantic Differential Scales o Connotative meaning: the affective or emotional meanings of words and other symbols o Semantic differential scales tend to cluster together in predictable ways o 3 dimensions of evaluation, potency, and activity

evaluation (good/bad, fair/unfair, kind/cruel) accounts for the greatest variations in scales potency (strong/weak, brave/cowardly, hard/soft) activity (vibrant/still, active/passive, hot/cold) Other Scaling Methods Thurstone Scaling: goal is to develop an equal appearing interval scale Guttman Scaling: basic idea is to develop a perfect cumulative scale Multidimensional Scaling (MDS): attitude is now defined as multidimensional, multiple perceptions involved in cognitive concepts and structures may be related to each other in any number of complex ways Q-technique: method by which individuals sort themselves into cognitive types

Chapter 6: Levels of Measurement, Reliability, and Validity Measurement consists of the rule-governed process of assigning numbers to objects in such a way as to represent quantities of attributes Rule governed refers to correspondence rules o Correspondence rules are designed to connect the conceptual meaning of variables to the empirical (or operational) observations of those variables Levels of Measurement 4 levels of measurement
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o nominal concerned with naming things places objects into mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories according to some characteristic of the objects not technically quantitative because it names things examples: gender, social security number, numbers on athletic uniforms o ordinal means the same as ranking categories go beyond nominal in that they imply more and less of the attribute of interest and not just the presence or absence of that attribute examples: attractiveness, credibility limitations: does not say how much more/less o interval categories go beyond ordinal in that they imply how much more/less asserts the existence for practical purposes of a scale of measurement in which level 1 is as much less than level o ratio categories go beyond interval in that they contain a zero point that is not arbitrary zero means none of whatever variable is being measured values on the scale may not be negative no matter the what unit of measurement is used, the ratio between two particular points on the scale will not change examples: amounts and counts 2 than level 2 as is less than level 3 the intervals among units are equal zero does not necessarily represent none values on the scale may be negative example: temperature

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amounts: ratio measures of how much of

something an object possesses counts: frequencies The Weak versus the Strong Measurement Controversy conservatives believe that the four levels of measurement constitute weak and strong measurement because some deal more with labels and some deal more with numbers o nominal and ordinal = weak o interval and ratio = strong end page 11

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