Chapter 1 – Getting Started: Possibilities and Decisions
1. Do observations capture an underlying reality?
‘power’ cannot be seen, neither can ‘attitude’ -> behaviour is shown
2. Can theories about human behaviour be generalised?
No, we are all unique, we can make the assumption, but it’s hardly ever a fact.
3. Should researchers distance themselves from their research participants?
Yes = more objective ; No = more insightful
4. Should research me done for a specific purpose?
No, it can also be out of curiosity or motivation.
5. Is there a best position from which to observe human behaviour?
No, what might be noise to one party, might be interesting to another.
Approaches to communication research:
1. Empirical analysis
(observe, measure from researcher’s perspective)
2. Interpretive analysis
(observe, interpret from participant’s perspective)
3. Critical analysis
(ask whose interests are advanced by communication)
(interested in the appeals or persuasive tactics) Qualitative
Based on Aristotle = Logos(logic), Ethos(character), Pathos(emotion)
- Analytical analysis
- Content analysis Quantitative
A series of unavoidable decisions
Field of study: wide or narrow
Researcher: dispassionate or involved
Approach: objective or subjective
The priority: participant’s answers or your answers
Sample: large or small
Data: qualitative or quantitative Q-Methodology (respondent’s views are important, but
in combination with quantitative, computational approaches to recording and assessing
The report: subjective or objective
Researchers specialise by:
1. Interest area
2. Research method
Research methods reflect researcher’s
1. Interest area
2. Assumptions about human communication
Communication has 3 main components:
1. Problem Posing
2. Problem Solving
3. Peer persuasion
Quick Summary Chapter 1
o Communication research is a systematic process of posing questions about
human communication, designing and implementing research that will answer
those questions and then persuading other researchers that your results are valid.
o Communication researchers typically specialise in one aspect of communication.
o Researchers may use qualitative methods, quantitative methods, or both.
o Researchers have empirical, interpretive or critical perspectives on
Chapter 2: First Decisions: What, Why, How?
Induction - ‘reasoning from observations to a theory that might explain them’
Deduction – ‘moving from a theory to defining observation to test the theory’ (hypothesis)
Abduction – ‘reasoning from an effect to possible causes’
Exploration – curiosity-based research (qualitative)
Description (bring up more questions) (qualitative and quantitative)
Interpretation (understanding from the point of the observed ones)
Epistemology (how do we know what we know?)
Tenacity (we’ve always done it or understood it in that way)
Authority (based on credible source)
Positivism (phenomena are governed by and can be explained by rules)
Scientific methods typically combine empiricism, rationalism and positivism
Starting with a worldview: Basic Beliefs
Worldview I : human behaviour is predictable, objectively measurable and generalisable.
nomothetic approach (researcher’s perspective, quantitative)
Worldview II : human behaviour is individualistic, unpredictable and subjective.
idiographic approach (participant’s perspective, qualitative)
Ethnographic study: aimed at uncovering the hidden metaphors of organisational life
Ontological questions: deal with the nature of existence and what language refers to