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Week 2

by: Emily Mason

Week 2 COMM 2010

Emily Mason

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This Study Guide covers all of the learning objectives for Chapters 1 and 2 and the Lab as seen on Blackboard.
Introduction to Communications Studies
Marilyn Pugh
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This 9 page Study Guide was uploaded by Emily Mason on Wednesday May 18, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to COMM 2010 at Clemson University taught by Marilyn Pugh in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Communications Studies in Communication at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 05/18/16
1 Week 2: What is Communication? Chapter 1  Communication- the transactional use of symbols, influenced, guided, and understood in the context of relationships.  Symbols- arbitrary representations of ideas, objects, people, relationships, cultures, genders, races, and so forth o have no direct connection with that which they represent  (e.g., the word chair has been arbitrarily chosen to represent the objects on which we sit) o Can be split into symbols that are iconic and those that are not  Iconic symbols look like what they represent o **Symbols and signs do NOT represent the same thing** o Signs- a consequence or an indicator of something specific, which cannot be changed by arbitrary actions or labels  (e.g., “wet streets are a sign of rain”)  Meaning- what symbols represent o Social construction- the way in which symbols take on meaning in a social context or society as they are used over time o The physical context, the relational context, and the situational context also affects a symbol’s meaning o Verbal and nonverbal communication also affects meaning o Medium- means through which a message is portrayed  E.g., a text, email, or even visibility  Cultural Communication o Each time you talk to someone, you are taking knowledge for granted, doing what your culture expects, and treating people in ways the culture acknowledges. o When you follow cultural expectation, you reinforce them as the ‘proper’ way to do things o Also reinforced when someone violates them o Culture is accomplished, performed, and enacted through communication.  Communication is Relational o Relationships are assumed each time you communicate with someone. o Every message indicates how the sender of a message and the receiver of that message are socially and personally related.  Frames- basic forms of knowledge that provide a definition of a scenario, either because both people agree on the nature of the situation or because the cultural assumptions built into the interaction and the previous relational context of talk give them a clue o Communication Frame- a boundary around a conversation that pulls one’s attention toward certain things and away from others  Representation and Presentation o Representation- describes facts or conveys information (Contrast of presentation) 2 o Presentation- one person’s particular version of, or “take” on, the facts or events (Contrast of representation) o In some cases you select your words very carefully and thoughtfully, wanting your friend to view the situation from your perspective. Your message is conveying information (representational) while at the same time providing a glimpse into your perspective and how you want your friend to view the situation (presentational).  Communication is a Transaction o Communication is addressed in two other common ways: as action and as interaction o Communication as Action- the act of sending messages—whether or not they are received  E.g., someone leaves a message on your voice mail, sends you an e-mail, or puts a message in a bottle in the ocean o Communication as Interaction- an exchange of information between two (or more) individuals  E.g., Eva sends Corban a text, Corban receives the text from Eva, and Corban then sends a reply to Eva. o Communication as a Transaction- the construction of shared meanings or understandings between two (or more) individuals  E.g., communication exists between Emalyn and Corban if, through their texts, they both arrive at the shared realization that they understand/know/love/need each other.  The communication message transacts or constitutes something above and beyond the symbols being exchanged.  Constitutive Approach to Communication- communication can create or bring into existence something that has not been there before, such as an agreement, a contract, or an identity 3 Chapter 2  History of Communication Discipline o communication got its start as a discipline devoted to the study of public speaking, debate, and performance o the first formally organized professional association devoted to its study was the Eastern Communication Association o The first national association devoted to the study of communication is currently known as the National Communication Association o Three major areas emerged during communication’s first century as a formal discipline: (a) rhetoric and rhetorical criticism, (b) interpersonal communication, and (c) mass communication. (a) Rhetorical criticism a. originated with the development and delivery of public address b. enabled students to describe, interpret, and evaluate the spoken word. (b) Interpersonal communication a. interest in interactions between people (c) Mass Communication a. Started with the study of mass media such as newspapers, books, and eventually radio b. found an initial home in journalism departments.  Modern Communication Discipline o Developed as increasing numbers of scholars became interested in the study of communication, accompanied by the creation of academic associations and of academic departments devoted to the study of communication. o Rhetoric currently is more likely to study all contexts of communication, including media content, technology, and even architecture. o Interpersonal now tends to focus on close personal relationships rather than simply two people talking with one another. o Mass communication is now most likely to occur in another department and is generally considered an area of communication studies.  Approaches to the Study of Communication o Social scientific approach- views the world as objective, causal, and predictable; researchers using this approach primarily seek to describe communication activity and to discover connections between phenomena or causal patterns o Assumptions:  That Truth (with a capital T) exists  That reality is objective and exists externally to human beings. 4  Because a true reality exists, human communication is predictable, and causal connections can be uncovered. o Methods:  Primarily uses experiments or questionnaires/surveys to study communication.  Experiments generally involve the manipulation of a person’s experience to determine how he or she will respond.  Questionnaires/surveys provide data reported to the researcher by participants o Advantages  Studies are relatively easy to mount and can involve large numbers of participants, especially when it comes to questionnaires.  There is often strong agreement between different types of social scientists about the way in which assessments can be made of behavior.  The main advantage of the social scientific approach is its ability to explain patterns of observations theoretically and to derive new predictions from previous work. o Disadvantages  Human behavior tends to be creative and unpredictable rather than fixed and predictable  Argued that people create their own unique realities rather than simply react to an established shared reality.  Multiple variables- a number of variables affect communication and cannot all be identified  Culturally insensitive- Experiments and questionnaires are frequently created in ways that do not take into account differences in race, religion, gender, sexuality, education, national origin, age, socioeconomic status, and so on  Restrictive- the researcher may impose too much restriction on subjects.  Participant accuracy- Participants may not always be honest about the answers provided to researchers.  Convenience samples- Researchers frequently use participants who are nearby and readily accessible to take part in an experiment or to complete a questionnaire, usually students. o Interpretivist Approach- views communication as creative, uncertain, and unpredictable, and thus rejects the idea that a single reality exists or can be discovered; researchers using this approach primarily seek to understand and describe communication experience o Assumptions:  Do not believe that Truth (with the capital T) can be discovered or that it even exists. 5  Reject the idea that research can ever be value free; neutrality cannot exist, so no researcher can ever be truly objective. o Methods:  Uses grounded theory- works from the ground up and focuses on observations grounded in data and developed systematically. o Data Used in Grounded Theory  Tends not to be quantitative or number-based.  Data used in interpretivist research are actually symbolic activity.  E.g.: nonverbal behaviors when interviewing or words spoken when interacting with an enemy. o Gathering Data  One method is direct observation- researchers observe communicative activity by a particular group but do not engage in these interactions themselves.  Participant observation- requires researchers to interact with the group but do nothing that would alter what would have otherwise taken place.  Interviews  Textual analysis- verbal communication taking place during an interaction is specifically analyzed, often by using a written transcript of the interaction o Advantages  Provides a deep understanding of communication that cannot be gained through other perspectives.  Communication is more likely to be studied in a natural context.  Draws to our attention the inability of scholars to be truly objective. o Disadvantages  Limited scope of understanding- we only learn about the communication of very specific people through interpretivist research, and does not allow for a wide-range understanding of communication  Researcher accuracy and perspective-researchers using interpretivist methods may impose their own values and understandings when studying the communication of others, so they are never able to fully understand the communication taking place from the perspective of the group being studied  Time-Consuming- studies take a long time o Critical Approach- seeks to identify the hidden but formidable symbolic structures and practices that create or uphold disadvantage, inequity, or oppression of some groups in favor of others o Assumptions:  Assumes that there is a built-in structure in society that gives advantage to one set of people rather than another 6  Some groups of people have greater opportunities to express and convey their thoughts feelings and experiences, while other groups of people are repressed and have limited opportunities to be heard or recognized.  Only certain types of experiences are valued and expressed in a given society precisely because of the power dynamics that are contained in that society. o Methods:  Interviews  Analysis of texts o Advantages:  Encourage us to not only identify inequalities but also to make it our goal to eradicate them o Disadvantages:  the criticism that it is giving itself power and the right to identify the nature of inequity and how it might be challenged  Scholars’ understanding will never be as complete or as accurate as actual members of a group.  Dealing with the questions of how we know we are correct and what gives us the right to make such judgments.  Major Areas of Study 1. Communication Education and Instructional Communication- Both areas are dedicated to improving instruction. 2. Communication Theory- touches on a few different theories dedicated to different contexts of communication. 3. Cultural Communication- has strong interest in cultural influences  Intracultural communication examines communication within a single culture.  Intercultural communication examines communication when members of different cultural groups interact.  Cross-cultural communication compares the communication of different groups.  Critical cultural communication examines issues of power within cultural contexts and seeks to contest hegemony and promote social justice. 4. Family Communication -Relationships are naturally the primary area of study within family communication. (Can be considered interpersonal communication) 5. Group Communication- has 6 key perspectives:  Functional theory of communication in decision-making groups  Decision development perspective  Symbolic convergence theory  Structuration theory  Bona fide groups theory  Socioegocentric theory 7 6. Interpersonal communication- a general term for the study of relationships; viewed as something that happens when two separate individuals come together 7. Media- 3 areas of this study:  One study examines the impact of technology, or a particular medium, on the construction of knowledge, perceptions, and social systems.  A second area of study entails media content.  The final primary area of study examines people’s reactions to technology and media content. 8. Health Communication- focused on interactions between patients and doctors and public campaigns concerning health issues. 9. Organizational Communication- involves communication taking place within an organization or a workplace and is concerned with the processing of information and the creation of meanings within organizations and workplaces. 10.Persuasion- examines the ways in which people’s thinking and behavior can be modified (changed, strengthened, weakened, and so on). 11.Political Communication- Scholars in this area study, for instance, campaign strategy, voter behavior, campaign advertisement, news media coverage, candidate speeches, and candidate debates. 12.Public Relations- entails understanding the ways in which organizations (and increasingly high-profile people) communicate and should communicate with the general public and is concerned with determining how organizations can influence how the public views them and their activities 13.Rhetorical Criticism- Any analysis or study of symbolic activity could be strengthened through the recognition of relationships. Lab  How is “academic writing” different from other forms of writing? Academic writing is different from other forms of writing because it is always a form of evaluation that asks you to demonstrate knowledge with certain disciplinary skills of thinking, interpreting, and presenting. It requires more in-depth information and you must be able to research efficiently and in an extremely organized way, as this is very crucial to this kind of writing. In addition, academic writing requires you to close-read and critically-read unfamiliar texts, and then argue the interpretations we form. Your argument should always be presented in a way that doesn’t necessarily “win” the argument, but gets your audience’s consideration of your perspective. Then, the writing itself must analyze the subject in three ways: by inquiring about something in which the answer is not known at 8 first, by identifying meaningful parts of the subject, and by examining both of these parts and relating them back to each other. The success of academic writing depends on how well you understand what you are doing as you write and how you approach the task. For more info, read the article on academic writing (posted on blackboard) here:  How does one prepare for an academic writing assignment? Knowing who your audience is (professor), knowing the context of the assignment, deciding what message for your paper, understanding the purpose of the assignment, and conducting reliable research. For more info, read the article on academic writing (posted on blackboard) here:  How are effective article searches conducted efficiently? Wikipedia can be used to get a general sense of the topic and to identify key search words. Google can be used to also get a broader sense of the topic and verify information found in Wikipedia. Searching Google with quotation marks around you search terms will also manage the number of results you get. After this, Google Scholar can be used to investigate the key terms you have found, but make it a limited search for articles “since 2000” to further manage your results. Using your college library’s database is also a great place to apply your search terms. For more info, read the article on academic writing (posted on blackboard) here: 9


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