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Intro to Communications Week One Notes

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by: Roger Osiel Villarreal

Intro to Communications Week One Notes COMM 1001

Marketplace > East Carolina University > Communication > COMM 1001 > Intro to Communications Week One Notes
Roger Osiel Villarreal

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About this Document

These notes cover Chapters one-four.
Intro to Communications
Dr. Richards
Class Notes
Communications, Richards, unit one, Communication Theory, Social Penetration Theory
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"I'm pretty sure these materials are like the Rosetta Stone of note taking. Thanks Roger!!!"
Johathan Kihn

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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Roger Osiel Villarreal on Friday February 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 1001 at East Carolina University taught by Dr. Richards in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 41 views. For similar materials see Intro to Communications in Communication at East Carolina University.


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I'm pretty sure these materials are like the Rosetta Stone of note taking. Thanks Roger!!!

-Johathan Kihn


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Date Created: 02/05/16
Chapter One - What is Theory? I. Misunderstandings A. Messages are symbolically encoded and decoded by people based on the meanings they assign. II. Learning to Communicate A. We learn through observing, practicing and studying. III. Areas we study A. Interpersonal- communication between individuals. 1. Intimacy, gender, family, friendships. B. Intrapersonal- communication with oneself. C. Small group. D. Organizational- the structure and workings of organizations and relationship of employees. E. Health- Dr./patient interaction, health campaigns. F. Public Speaking G. Rhetoric- the study of texts. H. Argumentation/Persuasion- the study of debate, argument and influence. IV. Theory Defined A. A set of systematic informed hunches about the way things work [Judee Burgoon] (A theory) 1. A hunch- you are making a guess about how/why things work. 2. You do not know for sure if this is the case. B. Informed Hunches- usually have evidence and make some sort of sense. C. Multiple pieces of information are necessary for a strong theory. D. Systematic Theories- have multiple layers. 1. These ideas are made into a coherent thought by the theory. E. Theory as an Image- Descriptive ways to understand theory. 1. Lens- a way to look at an issue/problem/idea. 2. Map or guide- helping us understand something difficult. F. Goals of Theory 1. Description- describe the features, details, experiences, of a phenomena. Description can be very dry or vivid. 2. Explanation- show how something works or why something happens. 3. Prediction- forecast future events based on current characteristics/actions. 4. Social Change- show how to make things better. G. Evaluating Theories- There are many standards for evaluating theories. 1. No theory meetings all standards equally well. a) Testability b) Parsimony c) Logical consistency d) Utility e) Scope Chapter Two- Interpretive Paradigm Research I. Interpretive Paradigm Research A. Research focuses on characterizing and understanding how subjects do things. 1. Methods: a) Ethnography b) Textual analysis B. Truth is subjective; meaning is highly interpretive. C. Determinism​ : for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. 1. “This happens therefore we respond.” 2. We have little control. 3. Heredity and the environment determine behavior. a) Behavior is the response to a prior stimulus. 4. Free will: the ability to make your own choices without outside interference. 5. Human behavior is ultimately voluntary. a) They believe that significant decisions are value laden. (1) Value laden:​what am I going to get out of this? D. Social scientists value objectivity; personal values should not distort reality. 1. This important for theories because we want our theories to be unbiased. II. Why do we need theory? A. Interpretive scholars strive for meaning rather than prediction. B. Objective or Interpretive 1. We need to understand the assumptions about truth, human nature, the purpose of theory, and its values. C. Ontology: 1. The world is defined by power relationships. 2. Social structures generally keep the powerful in power. D. Epistemology: 1. Power structures must be identified before a thoughtful analysis of human action can occur. E. Each paradigm/method is selected based on what kind of question the research wants to answer. F. All paradigms seek to create understandings in different ways. 1. Objective a) Why questions. 2. Interpretive a) How questions. 3. Critical a) Questions regarding power. Chapter Three- Theories Continued I. Criteria for a good objective theory. A. Two objectives of scientific knowledge. 1. Explains past and present. 2. Predicts the future. B. Four additional criteria for theories: 1. Relative simplicity. 2. Testability. 3. Practical utility. 4. Quantifiable research. II. Scientific Standards A. Standard One:​ Objective theory draws order out of chaos. 1. Describes process. 2. It explains what is happening and ​ why. B. Standard Two:​ Predicts what will happen. 1. Only possible when dealing with things we can see, hear, touch, smell and taste over. C. Standard Three: ​ Objective theory should be as simple as possible. 1. Rule of Parsimony (Occam’s Razor): ​ We should use the simplest explanation. D. Standard Four:​ Hypotheses that can be tested. 1. Objective theory is testable. a) Falsifiability- requirement that scientific theory must be stated in a way that it can be tested, if we cannot test it there is no use. (1) Hypothesis must be clear. E. Standard Five:​ Practical Utility 1. Provides increased knowledge/control. F. Standard Six: Quantitative Research 1. Scientists favor quantifiable experiments and surveys. 2. Surveys rely on self-report data to discover who people are and what they think, feel, and intend to do. 3. It is difficult to support cause and effect relationships with surveys, but survey data more closely resemble “real life” than experimentation does. III. Criteria for an Interpretive theory A. Create Understanding 1. Interpretive theory offers insight into human condition. a) Typically examines a one of a kind speech community that exhibits specific language style. B. Identify values 1. Interpretive theory brings people’s values into the open. a) Theorists acknowledge their own values. C. Inspire aesthetic appreciation D. Stimulate agreement E. Reform society F. Conduct qualitative research G. Aesthetic Appeal H. Community of Agreement 1. Interpretive theory must be supported by other scholars. 2. Theory challenges cultural assumptions and generates alternatives for social action. a) Critical theorists I. Qualitative Research 1. Interpretive scholars use words to support their theories. a) Textual analysis: research method that describes and interprets characteristics of any text. b) Ethnography: method of participant observation designed to help a researcher experience a culture. Chapter Four- What is Communication? I. 7 Traditions of Communication Theory A. These traditions group theories by what they do rather than by their philosophical assumptions. B. The Socio-Psychological Tradition 1. Looks to predict and control human interaction. 2. Assumes that human behavior is caused, can be predicted and discovered by careful observation. 3. Theorist check data through surveys or controlled experiments, often calling for longitudinal empirical studies. C. The Cybernetic Traditions 1. Communication as a system of information processing. 2. Communication is the link among system parts- it is what connects system elements to one another. 3. These theories look at how to refine and improve communication by balancing predictability and uncertainty. D. The Rhetorical Tradition 1. The focus is on “public address” which finds its home in public speaking. 2. Highly interpretive and seeks “how” messages are aesthetically and practically designed. E. The Semiotic Tradition 1. Semiotics-​ study verbal and nonverbal signs that stand for something else. 2. Focuses on the sharing of meaning/communicating via “signs”. a) Meaning is learned within a culture. F. The Socio-Cultural Tradition 1. Communication creates reality and allows us to participate in that reality. 2. Culture produced and reproduced as people talk. 3. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis a) Linguistic Determinism:​ We are prisoners of our native language, unable to think certain thoughts or perceive in certain ways because of the grammatical structure and lexicon of our language. b) Linguistic Relativity:the grammar and lexicon of our native language powerfully influences but does not imprison our thinking and perception. c) Thought can exist without words to describe it. 4. It is through language that reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed. G. The Critical Tradition 1. Critical theories challenge three features of contemporary society. a) The control of language to perpetuate power imbalances. b) The role of mass media in dulling sensitivity to repression. c) Blind reliance on the scientific method and uncritical acceptance of empirical findings. 2. There is no objective truth- even “objective” science is value-laden and has its own biases. a) Communication is the tool to both create and undo inequity. H. The Phenomenological Tradition 1. Communication is the experience of oneself and others in interaction. 2. Experiences are individual and unique. 3. Phenomenology refers to the intentional analysis of everyday life from the standpoint of the person who is living it. 4. Phenomenology tradition seeks to answer two questions: a) Why is it so hard to establish and sustain authentic human relationships? b) How can this problem be overcome?


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