WoodChapter03 by zhangyun


									Chapter 3 Lecture
Building and Testing Theory

           Chapter 3 CA 301
Talk About It (Chicken or Egg?)

 Do theories of human
 communication describe how
 humans actually communicate?
 Or do they reflect individual
 theorists' perceptions and
 What do you think?!?!
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and therefore interpersonal

  Ontology are assumptions about
  human nature.
  The assumptions theorists make
  about humans can't be proved or
  disproved scientifically; they are
  matters of faith or belief.
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 Determinism assumes that human
 behavior is governed by forces beyond
 individual control, usually the twin forces of
 biology and environment.
 On the other end of the ontological
 spectrum is the belief that humans have
 free will and that they make choices about
 how to act.
 For Heidegger, thrownness refers to the
 fact that we are thrown into a multitude of
 arbitrary conditions that influence our
 lives and opportunities.
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What do you think?

 Do you think we are primarily
 influenced by biology and
 Do you think we are primarily
 influenced by our choices?

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 Epistemology: the branch of
 philosophy that deals with knowledge,
 and is concerned with how we know.

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 There is a singular truth. Objectivism is the
 belief that reality is material and external to
 the human mind.
 Objectivity the quality of being uninfluenced
 by values, biases, personal feelings, and
 other subjective factors when perceiving
 material reality.
 Believers in objective truth presume that
 the true nature, or meaning of any act of
 communication can be determined.

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 Those who believe that there are multiple
 realities would regard it as entirely
 reasonable that different people interpret
 communication in varying ways.
 Standpoint Theory--the material, social,
 and symbolic circumstances of a social
 group shape what its members experience,
 as well as how they think, act, and feel.

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What do you think?
  Is knowledge based on the existence of
 phenomena (the falling tree) or on human
 perceptions (hearing it fall).
 There are different opinions about what
 counts as knowledge and how we come to
 know what we think we know.

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Universal Laws
   A law is an inviolate, unalterable fact that holds
   true across time and space.
   Universal laws may be more applicable to natural
   science than to human behavior, including
Situated Rules
   There are no laws that explain human
   communication across all time and
   We seek theories as the articulation of rules that
   describe patterns in human behavior.
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What do you think?!?!

What should the focus be for
 Meanings behind behavior?
 A combination of behavior and

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 Behaviorism: A form of science that focuses on
 observable behaviors and that assumes
 meanings, motives, and other subjective
 phenomena either don't exist or are irrelevant.
 Behaviorists believe that scientists can study only
 concrete behaviors, such as what people do or
 Human motives, meanings, and intentions are
 beyond the realm of behavioristic investigation.
 Skinner believed that human behavior is a
 response to external stimuli. He was well known
 for referring to the mind as a "black box," the
 contents of which cannot be known and which are
 irrelevant to science.
 All that can be measured is concrete, objective
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Agree or Disagree?
 Theories and theorists vary widely not only
 in what they study but also in the
 fundamental assumptions they make about
 human nature, knowledge, communication,
 and the goals of the theory.
   Meaning, motive, and intentions, even if
 they exist, aren't measurable, so they
 aren't within the province of science (p. 62).

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 Many scholars aren't convinced that behaviorism
 is desirable. Theorists who reject behavioral
 views of science believe that the crux of human
 activity is meaning, not behaviors
 themselves. What is distinctively human is free
 will or the ability to make choices and the capacity
 to create meanings (crucial to humanists).

 John Searle wrote about brute facts, which are the
 objective, concrete phenomena or observable
 behaviors that behaviorists study. Institutional
 facts are what brute facts MEAN, what humanists
 wish to study.

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brute fact--An objective, concrete
phenomenon unadorned by interpretations of
Provide one description based on only
  brute facts and a second description
  based on institutional facts.
  A marriage ceremony.
  A person interacting in a chat room.
  Two friends engaging in a game of
  friendly insults and put-downs.

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 Hypotheses are testable predictions about relationships
 between communication phenomena.
 If you don't have a clear basis for making a prediction,
 generate a research question. Use research questions in
 your action research.
 DEFINE TERMS: Operational definitions are precise
 descriptions that specify the phenomena of interest.
 QUANTITATIVE METHODS gather information that can be
 quantified and then interpret eh data to make arguments
 about what the numbers reveal about communication
 behaviors and relationships among communication
 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS use numbers to describe
 human behavior.

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Apply Research Findings
Can you think of an example or story from
 your personal experience that supports
 scholarly research findings?

   Husbands interrupt wives far more
  often than wives interrupt husbands.

  Women are more active than men in
  doing what is called "conversational
  maintenance," which is involving others
  in conversations.

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An experiment is a controlled study that
systematically manipulates one thing
(called an independent variable) to
determine how that affects another thing
(called a dependent variable, for what it
does depends on the independent

Dependent variable affects independent

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Apply Research Findings

 Can you think of an example or story from
 your personal experience that supports
 scholarly research findings?
 Acitelli found that both partners found it
 satisfying to talk about the relationship
 when there was a problem. When no
 conflict or difficulty existed, however,
 the wives in the scenarios were
 perceived as being more satisfied with
 conversation about the relationship.
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 Valuable when we wish not to count or
 measure phenomena but to understand the
 character of experience, particularly how
 people perceive and make sense of their
 communication experience.

 Textual analysis--also called interpretative
 analysis--involves describing
 communication texts and interpreting their

                   Chapter 3 CA 301
Apply Research Findings
 Can you think of an example or story
 from your personal experience that
 supports scholarly research findings?
   Men often interrupt to challenge
 others or to assert themselves.
 Women's interruptions are more
 likely to support others or to
 indicate interest in what others are
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Ethnography attempts to discover what things
mean to others by sensitive observation of human
activity. They rely on unobtrusive methods, which
are means of gathering data that intrude minimally
on naturally occurring interaction.

Critical analysis suggests that research should
make a real difference in the lives of human
beings. Critical scholarship is one important way
to change oppressive or wrong practices in the

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 Validity refers to the truth or accuracy of a
 theory in measuring what it claims to
 External validity refers to the
 generalizability of a theory. Internal validity
 is that the theory's design and methods do
 what they claim to do.
 Reliability is the consistency.
 Significance is the conceptual or pragmatic
 importance of a theory.

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End of chapter 3

 Read case studies for Wed.

               Chapter 3 CA 301

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