Overview of Communication Theory

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					Basic Elements of Human Thought

• The Law of Non-Contradiction
  – truth claims or propositions
  – A and ~ A (If A, then not ~ A)
  – time and sense

• Modes of Reasoning
  –   Deductive
  –   Inductive
  –   Analogical
  –   Meta
A Logic of Communication Inquiry
Essential Elements

• Data (What are you looking at/listening to?)
• Problem/Experience (What’s up with the data?)
• Method (How are you looking/listening?)
• Theory (What do you have to say about the data?)
What information counts as relevant for
Communication Theory?

• Human Verbal/Nonverbal Behavior

• Human Beliefs, Attitudes, and (Pre)dispositions

• Rhetorical or Symbol(ic) Artifacts
By what means will you select, observe,
identify, discover, create, analyze, organize
and synthesize the data?

• 4 types:
   – Experimental
   – Self-Report (survey and interviews)
   – Textual Criticism (e.g., rhetorical)
   – Ethnography
What sorts of representations count in or
toward Communication Theory?

• Truth claims/propositions or sets of propositions that
  describe, explain, predict “real” data patterns

• Arguments that persuade us of the meaning and
  value of a “way of seeing” or understanding the data
          Theory Criteria
Social Scientific Theory (objectivist)

   –   Description (data concepts relations clarity scope)
   –   Explanation
   –   Prediction
   –   Parsimony (Ockham’s razor)
   –   Testability (hypotheses, verifiability, falsifiability)
   –   Coherence
   –   Competitiveness
   –   Historicity
   –   Utility (practical, scholarly)
         Theory Criteria
Interpretive Theory (subjectivist)

   –   Insight into Human Condition
   –   Alternative Way(s) of Knowing/Seeing
   –   Values Clarification (ethics, power, hegemony)
   –   Sex Appeal (aesthetics)
   –   Persuasive Power
   –   Community Endorsement
   –   Societal Reform
      Lines of Criticism
Social Scientific Theory          (objectivist)

  –   incoherent
  –   concepts unclear, redundant
  –   fails to explain (accurately and reliably)
  –   scope of explanation too narrow or too broad
  –   fails to predict
  –   untestable
  –   untested (relatively, completely)
  –   too complicated
  –   useless (practically, academically)
      Lines of Criticism
Interpretive Theory       (subjectivist)

  –   no “news”
  –   no values clarification
  –   no sex appeal
  –   no agreement (unpersuasive to many/most)
  –   no reform (cultural, political, social)
  –   no promise
Generic Research Plan I
Social Scientific Tradition (objectivist)

• Introduction
   – overview of problem/experience
   – significance
• Literature Review & Rationale
• Methods/Procedures
  – data/variables, collection procedures, analysis
• Results/Findings
• Conclusions
• Future Research
Generic Research Plan II
Interpretivist Tradition (subjectivist)

• Introduction
  – overview of problem/experience
  – significance of study
  – (preview)
• Background &/or Critical Apparatus
  – artifact(s), description of theory and/or method
• Analysis
• Conclusions
• Implications
Communication Subdisciplines
 •   Intra/Interpersonal
 •   Small Group
 •   Organizational
 •   Public Address
 •   Mass Media
 •   Cultural/Intercultural
Interpersonal Communication
• Definition: Communication interaction or transaction
  between 2 individuals
• D-Epistemology: Objectivist/Social Scientific
• Key Theories: Social Penetration; Uncertainty
  Reduction; Expectancy Violations; [Relational
  Dialectics]; Social Judgment
• Key Concepts: dyadic relationships; friendships;
  marriage; conflict; deception; relational
  maintenance/dissolution; self-disclosure; intimacy;
• D-Methodology: Experimental, Survey
 Small Group Communication
• Definition: Communication interaction among 3 to ...
• D-Epistemology: Objectivist and Interpretivist
• Key Theories: [Functionalism]; Adaptive
  Structuration; [Information Systems]; [Cultural]; Critical
• Key Concepts: decision-making; identity;
  cohesiveness; “group think”; productivity; stability &
  change; conflict; power structures and relations
• D-Methodology: All
                            Public Rhetoric
• Definition: Static and interactive communication
  between a single speaker and audience
• D-Epistemology: Interpretivist
• Key Theories: Neo-Aristotelian; Dramatism;
• Key Concepts: Persuasion; Identification; Situation
• D-Methodology: Rhetorical criticism (generic,
  metaphoric, feminist, cluster, fantasy theme, macro-
  stylistic, micro-stylistic)