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Week 2 | Defining Research: Nature, Characteristics and Foundations

Human inquiry aims at answering both what and why questions, and we pursue
this goals by observing and figuring out. Human inquiry is a natural/fundamental to
us; it is the root of reseach.
How We Know What We Know?
Direct Experience and Observation
Personal Inquiry
How do we look for Reality?
Two Criteria that an assertion must have
Logical support - must make sense
Empirical support - must not contradict actual observation; must have evidence
Ordinary Human Inquiry:
Humans recognize that future circumstances are caused by present ones (Causal).
Learn that patterns of cause and effect are probabilistic in nature.
Aim to answer both what and why questions, and pursue these goals by
observing and figuring out.
Sources of our secondhand knowledge: Tradition Authority Both provide
a starting point for inquiry, but can lead us to start at the wrong point and
push us in the wrong direction.
Errors in Inquiry and (Solutions):
Inaccurate observations - Failing to observe things right in front of us or
mistakenly observing things that really arent there. (Measurement devices guard
against inaccurate observations and add a degree of precision.)
Overgeneralization - Assuming that a few similar events are evidence of a
general pattern. (Commit to a representative sample of observations and
repeat a study to make sure the same results are produced each time.)
Selective observation - Ignoring events or situations that dont correspond to a
preconceived generalization (Make an effort to find deviant cases that do
not fit into the general pattern.)
Illogical Reasoning - Reasoning away the observations that contradict accepted
generalizations or conclusions. (Use systems of logic consciously and
explicitly.Over-Generalization and Selective Observation)
Views of Reality:
Premodern - Things are as they seem to be (as it is, fundamental).
Modern -Acknowledgment of human subjectivity.
Postmodern - There is no objective reality to be observed.
Foundations of Social Science:
The two pillars or science: 1. Logic - makes sense 2. Observation - correseponds
to what we observed
A scientific understanding of the world must both make sense and correspond to
what we observe. Both elements are essential to science and relate to the three
major aspects of the enterprise of social science: theory, data collection, and
data analysis (Babbie, 2013).
Theory logic; provides systematic observations
Data collection - observation
Data Analysis - comparison of what is logically expected with what is

actually observed; looks for pattern of observation.

Foundations of Social Science:
1. Theory, Not Philosophy or Belief - A systematic explanation for the
Observations that relate to a particular aspect of life. We can determine and know
what is and why (or how) but never which is better nor debate on issues of values
and morality.
2. Social Regularities - In large part, social research aims to find patterns of
regularity in social life. Social Norms. (eg. Only people aged 18 and above can vote.
Only people with a license can drive.) We look for patterns, we try to search for
probabilistic patterns.
3. Aggregates, not individual - The collective actions and situations of many
individuals; collection. Focus of social science is to explain why aggregated patterns
of behavior are regular even when individuals change over time.
What is Research?
To search for or To find out [Latin: Prefix Re (again) and Cercier (to search)]
Process of asking questions and finding answers that practices the application of
scientific and systematic procedures. These procedures must be empirically based
Combinig the scientific method and the human inquiry, simply, research is a
scientific process of finding answers.
Obejctive of Research/Functions of Research:
Investigation or Experimentation aimed to the discovery of facts, revision of
accepted theories or laws in the light of news facts or practical application or
such new or revised theories or laws.
Systematic exploration, guided by well constructed questions, producing new
information or reassessing old information.
Characteristics of Research: / S P I C E S M / S Systematic / P Problem-Solving /
I Inquiry / C Controlled / E Empirical / S Subject / Topic / M Method /
According to Purpose: 1. Scholarly research - You in the role of researcher
and/or research consumer; Formal, scientific, systematic; Available to the public and
other researchers; Scientific outcomes; Describes, Determines causes of, Predicts,
and Explains behavior.
2. Proprietary research - Commissioned for private/personal use.
Basic Foundations of Research:
Empirical - Based on Data observations and measurement of the world around us.
Theoretical - Concerned with the testing of theories and ideas about our
perceptions of reality.
Basic Foundations of Research (Based on how it is explained):
Nomotethic (Quantitative) - Focuses on identifying the most important variables
to explain a general case; Uses statistical inferences (a sample is studied to make
generalizations that apply to a larger population)
Idiographic (Qualitative) - Exhaustive explanation of a single action or a
particular event; Intensive investigations of individual cases; Use of unstructured and
open-ended instruments)
Basic Foundations of Research (Based on how it is observed):
Quantitative - Generalization; Recurrence of data; Numbers ; Observation of the
Qualitative - Deeper Understanding; Occurrence of data; Description of
Phenomenon; Identification of element(s) and process(es) involved.

Types of research (according to Research Typologies):

Exploratory - What is the Phenomenon all about?
Descriptive - How did the Phenomenon happen, where or in what situations did
the it occur, who or what are involved, how many are involved?
Explanatory - Why did the Phenomenon happen?
Evaluation - Did an intervention achieved its objectives? What combination of
factors or variables is most effective in achieving desired outcomes?
Types of research (according to the Usage of the results of the study):
Basic (Knowing) - Academic Research; Refinement of concepts, theory testing,
and model building.
Applied (Applying/Doing) - Action Research, Rapid Assessment procedures,
monitoring and evaluation; Propose solutions
Types of research (according to time):
Crosssectional - Single time period; Time as Constant e.g. Census, surveys, and
Longitudinal - Over the passage of time; Time as Variable (whether or how the
phenomenon or issue has changed) e.g. Trend study, Time series
Two basic approaches of Research:
Quantitative - Recurrence of Data; Counting (Numbers/Statistics) e.g. Census,
surveys, and polls
Qualitative - Occurrence of the Communication Event; Phenomenon itself and
identifying the element/s and process/es involved e.g. Phenomenology, Ethnography
Week 3 | Conceptualizing Research: The Scientific Inquiry, Theory and Research
The Scientific Process
The basic Research

The Eight(+2)-Step Research Process

1. Selecting a Topic
2. Review of Relevant Literature and other Sources
3. Formulating a Research Problem
4. Conceptualizing a Research Design
5. Constructing an Instrument for Data Collection
6. Selecting a Sample / Informants
7. Writing a Research Proposal
8. Collecting the Data
9. Processing the Data
10. Writing a Research Report
How Theories function in Research:
Theories prevent our being taken by mistakes. If we know why it has happened, we
can anticipate whether or not it will work in the future.
Theories shape and direct research efforts, pointing toward likely discoveries
through empirical observation.

Theories are explanations of a natural or social behavior, event, or phenomenon.

Benefits of using Theories in Research:
Theories provide the explanation of a phenomena by by explaining what are the
key drivers and key outcomes of the target phenomenon and why, and what
underlying processes are responsible driving that phenomenon.
Theories provide guidance for future research by helping identify constructs and
relationships that are worthy of further research.
Theories can contribute to cumulative knowledge building by bridging gaps
between other theories and by causing existing theories to be reevaluated in a new
Why is there Theory in Research?:
THEORY provides patterns for interpreting data links one study to another
provides a framework for understanding how communication concepts and issues
are important helps us interpret the meaning of research findings
Paradigms - A set of beliefs that guide scientific work in an area, including
unquestioned presuppositions and accepted theories; In and of themselves,
paradigms dont explain anything; however, they provide logical frameworks within
which theories are created.
Social Science Paradigms:
Early Positivism - Introduced by Auguste Comte, this philosophical system is
grounded on the rational proof/disproof of scientific assertions; He felt that society
could be observed and then explained logically and rationally .
Conflict - A paradigm that views human behavior as attempts to dominate others
or avoid being dominated by others; It also applies to gender and race conflicts.
Symbolic Interactionism - A paradigm that views human behavior as the
creation of meaning through social interactions, with those meanings conditioning
subsequent interactions
Ethnomethodology - Harold Garfinkel said that people are continually creating
social structure through their actions and interactions that they are, in fact, creating
their realities.
Structural Functionalism - A paradigm that divides social phenomena into parts,
each of which serves a function for the operation of the whole; This view looks for
the functions served by the various components of society.
Feminist Paradigms/Feminism - Paradigms that (1) view and understand society
through the experiences of women and/or (2) examine the generally deprived status
of women in society.
Logical Systems in Research:
Deduction - General to specific. Moves from a pattern that might be logically or
theoretically expected to observations that test whether the expected pattern occurs.
Theory-testing research
Theory guides the investigation; Gather data to assess whether theory is
Move from known position to data
Induction Specific to general. Moves from specific observations to the discovery
of a pattern that represents order among all the given events (grounded theory).
Theory-building research
Gather and analyze data framed around research question; Formulate
theories based
on data; Move from specific data to more general explanation
Week 4 | Doing Communication Research
Communication as a Social Science:

How does the study of communication as a social science differ from humanistic and
critical studies of communication?
A rhetorical study is more focused on one case, whereas the social science study of
communication looks for patterns across people or situations.
Social scientists focus on the study of human behavior.
To speak, to persuade, to present, to write --- to communicate --- it is a form of ART.
It is about rhetoric and persuasion.
Communication is also a process. A discipline that concerns relationships of
individuals in a society that differs across culture and experiences. Studying
Communication is a SCIENCE.
Communication - The process by which meaning is exchanged between individuals
through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior.
Research - A scientific procedure the entails the collection of data/knowledge by
following a given methodology. The systematic process of asking questions and
finding answers.
Communication Research - is a scientific procedure of understanding the
communication phenomena, discovering patterns in communication, and the
application, testing, or revision of communication theories.
Why we study Communication?
The primary goal of communication research is to describe communication
phenomena as well as discover and explain the relationships among them.
As Communication Research specialists
The research process allows the us to describe behavior, determine causes of
behavior, predict behavior, or explain behavior
Communicaton Models
1. Shannon and Weaver's Model of Comm SenderEncodeChannel(Noise)DecoderReceiverFeedback
2. Berlo's Model - SenderMessageChannelReceiver
3. Osgood and Schramm Circular Model of Comm
4. Barlund's Transactional Model of Comm
Components of Communication:
People The message The channel Feedback Code Encoding & decoding Noise
Communication Elements
1. Control Analysis (Source/Sender) - This refers to the performance of the
2. Content Ananlysis (Message) - The information's scope and theme, and it's
3. Media Analysis (Channel) - Various medium perform the functions
ofinterpreting themsg.
4. Audience Analysis (Receiver) - Refers to the audience's behaviour, tastes,
interests and opinions.
5. Impact (Influence) / Effects (Results) Analysis - Refers to the awareness,
attitude change, behaviour change, and practice level of the audience.
Modes of Communication Research:
1. Interpersonal/ Small Group Communication - interactions between two or a
few persons using verbal and nonverbal messages.

2. Language and Symbol Systems - Concerned with the verbal and non-verbal
codes of communication, meanings and how they are received and transmitted
3. Mass Communication - Focused on one-to-many communication via a media
channel such as radio and TV under conditions of limited feedback.
4. Organizational Communication - Concerned with the processing and use of
messages between and within organizations based on the structures and functions
5. Speech Communication - Focused on communication in public settings using
rhetoric and persuasion.
Week 5 | The Research Process: Getting Started
Selecting a Topic - A research topic is an interest stated specifically enough for you
to imagine becoming a local expert on it; Usually arise from individual interests based
on given conditions or field.
Identifying the Research Problem / Question starts by identifying your
Ideas from your experiences Ideas from the media Turn broad topics into
preliminary questions What do your questions assume? Rephrase for clarity
(Spider Map; Concept Map)
Where to find a problem? Curiosity Information Gaps Controversy
Replication Literature Review Other People
In Communication Research, focus on the elements of Communication, the different
contexts or modes of communication, and communication theories.
Your Topics then must be transformed into preliminary QUESTIONS.
The preliminary question will guide you to seek relevant resources that will help you
determine if that question has not been adequately answered or as some would say
is it research-able (sic)?.
Review of Relevant Literature and other Sources - It is done at the beginning,
in the middle, or toward the end of the research paper. You can look for interesting
topics through Internet and Library searches, or expand your knowledge to possible
topics by reading books, encyclopedias, abstract and research journals.

Evaluate the quality of the information

Get a historical overview (ie. About us)
Start with a literature review
Identify primary ideas and conclusions
Track down others references
Summarize what youve found