Communication Research Methods (Comm 88) Lectures 2 & 3
Communication Research Methods (Comm 88) Lectures 2 & 3
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Date Created: 04/11/14
Lecture 4814 Unique characteristics of science continued 0 Science is empirical More than simply noticing My friends who eat vegetables are healthier I Rigorous empiricism conscious deliberate observations Set up study with controlled factors Many observations are made 0 IE more studies repeated results can see a pattern I Science is objective Opposed to subjective which is biased Control remove personal biases Even so there is always a spin to objective research 0 Public side attempts to catch those viewpoints must be able to challenge Explicit rules standards amp procedures 0 Science is systematic amp cumulative I Builds on prior studies theory I Practically impossible to do totally original research Must ask what we know already I New knowledge modi es old 0 Goals of scientific research What can science tell us I Description Looking for social regularities of aggregates 0 Means seeking pattems things that happen regularly 0 Science not interested in a unique case I IE predictors of infidelity to con rm evidence of patterns I Aggregate deciding what factors will be used in research IE infidelity in freshman females I Science can tell is what is Handles description fairly well I Explanation Develop understanding of WHY pattems exist what causes what Can create a causal chain 0 Science can tell us why it is I Prediction Predict outcomes given certain factors If I know X Y Z I can tell what you39re likely to do Science can tell what will be within certain realm of probability 0 Can sometimes make good prediction without an explanation I Science CANNOT settle questions of value CANNOT tell us what should be right wrong good bad moral immoral Science get brought into debates but cannot address rightness or wrongness 0 IE abortion debate science can tell fetus development is used to support or refute both sides of debate but not if abortion should be considered okay 0 Science can only inform debate The Research Process Theories Hypotheses amp Research Questions 0 Wheel of Science cyclical process of research always ongoing building of knowledge 0 Theories gt Hypotheses gt Observations I In this order engaging in deduction Traditional science quantitative methods I Theories Something scientists posit may be true having reason to suspect 0 Can also be Observations gt Empirical generalizations gt Theories I In this order engaging in induction Humanistic interpretive qualitative methods To remember difference think of how gathering data inward to make point inductive Difference between quantitative and qualitative 0 Quantitative I Employ numerical measures amp data analysis I Adhere strongly to scientific goals amp principles objectivity empirical data etc I Examples Surveys Experiments Content Analysis 0 Qualitative I Also called interpretive research or field research I A humanistic form of social science Values some aspects of science especially empiricism 0 Data is very significant Having personal spin on it is okay Values researcher subjectivity I Examples Participant Observation Depth Interviewing Conversation Analysis I Note There is also purely humanistic research in communication called critical studies IE rhetorical criticism feminist analysis cultural studies etc What is the difference between Basic and Applied Research 0 Basic theoretical Research I Testing building theories conceptual ideas advancing what we know about a topic Valuable aside from having practical use IE Math is valuable for its own sake 0 Applied practical Research I Applying research to solve practical problems I IE testing effects of an ad campaign policy change new school program company technology etc Use math to build bridge 0 Matter of emphasis in any given study these descriptions are of extremes I Note Even the most theoretical research has practical value and even most applied research uses theoretical reasoning and arguments to form hypotheses etc Lecture 41014 Using Theories in Research 0 Theory an attempt to explain some aspect of social life I A scholar39s ideas about howwhy eventsattitudes occur I Includes set of concepts and their relationships Terms for thingsideasparts of the theory because they are conceptualized Researchers must define these terms 0 IE Social Cognitive Theory Bandura I Theory about how we leam mostly applied to children or in communication media effects I Theory that leaming happens through watching modeled behavior see parent brushing teeth child imitates Requires attention retention motor production motivation e g rewardspunishments 0 What are some concepts involved here I What does it mean to retain information I What is it to be modeled I Does it have to occur inperson I Definition of rewardpunishment I Definition of leaming etc I Concepts are studied as variables They have variations that can be measured 0 IE Motivation I How does it vary Rewarded vs punished model amount of rewardpunishment etc 0 IE Model I TV character vs parent TV hero vs villain degree of likeability or similarity to viewer etc 0 Scientific theories should be falsifiable I If not a study cannot actually test the theory I Able to be til empirically with data I There is some result that if you got it would show the theory is Q Note you can never prove theories true can only gain supportevidence 0 What about Soc Cog theory I Has been tested many times cannot say it39s right only that there is much evidence for it 0 What about theory of man made global warming I Evidence suggested in press temp change ice change droughts oods lackexcess of hurricanes etc many contradictions I Ends up being politics and less of a scientific theory Using Theories in Research 0 From prior findings andor theory we derive a testable hypothesis I A speci c prediction about the relationship between variables in your study I IE Using Soc Cog Theory to make a prediction about the effects of TV violence H1 TV violence viewing will produce more aggressive behavior than will non violent TV viewing What are the variables involved here 0 Definition of violence definition of aggressive behavior etc I What if theory or previous research does not lead to a specific prediction Or if previous findings con ictinconclusive Pose research question instead of hypothesis 0 Difference is that research question is not a statement but an actual question 0 IE To what extent will children imitate behavior of a TV character whom they do not likerelate to Will there be gender differences in children39s imitation of violence I If study has only research questions appears to be a lack of background knowledge Testing a hypothesis An example 0 Researcher A I Soc Cog Theory children leam behavior by watching models behave I Hypothesis watching TV violence will increase kids aggressive behavior I Given large grant to conduct research Finds out how much violent TV viewed How much aggression is shown on playground Random sample of subjects used Each scored and plotted on X Y axis shows positive linear relationship 0 Conclusion TV violence increases aggression I Possible problems Correlation relationship bw variables is not causation Could be another cause for aggression in subjects perhaps parental neglect leading to more violent viewing leading to aggression Cannot tell difference from aggression before and after chickenegg issue Problem with conclusion TV violence increases aggression gt should be TV violence is related to aggression 0 Researcher B I Catharsis Theory watching others behave allows purging of pentup feelings I Hypothesis watching TV will reduce kids aggressive behavior I Lack of funds for research Has subjects watch one of four clips 0 5 10 20 acts of violence in clip of varying degrees of violence Random assignment of subjects Number of hits on toys variety available without other kids toys used as weapons Plot on XY axis acts of aggression with degree of violent content viewed negative linear relationship 0 Conclusion TV violence decreases aggression I Many possible problems with lack of resources I However conclusion correct because controlled study accounts for behavior prior to viewing Technically should state correct for these lab conditions Types of Hypotheses amp Research Questions 0 Hyps and RQs can be I Causal state how 1 variable changesin uences another I Correlational state mere association between variables
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