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Date Created: 09/12/15
Chapter 2 352012 10100 AM Determining Your Purpose o 4 most common and useful purposes for communication research 0 1 Exploratory Conducted to explore or provide familiarity with a topic typically when a researcher examines a new interest or when the study of a subject itself is relatively new pursued by the use of focus groups Done for 3 purposes a 1 To satisfy the researcher s curiosity and desire for better understanding a 2 To test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study a 3 To develop the methods to be employed in any subsequent study 0 2 Description A researcher observes and then accurately and precisely describes what was observed Most qualitative studies are primarily aimed at description 0 3 CausalFunctional Explanation To explain things Causal addresses why questions and functional addresses how questions 0 4 Understanding Moves beyond description and strives for comprehension of what a communication action means and the rules that guide its enactment Determining Your Unit of Analysis o Units of Analysis refers to who or what you can study also known to be the units of observation those things we examine in order to create summary descriptions and to explain or understand differences among them 0 Individuals The most typical units of analysis for communication research more specifically the communications characteristics of individual people EX specific group members parents consumers gaylesbian or individuals characterized in terms of their categorization of psychological attributes 0 Groups Social groups themselves may also be the units of analysis EX Members of management friendship cliques married couples support groups etc 0 Organizations Formal social organizations may also be units of analysis EX Church congregations colleges army divisions academic departments hospitals etc 0 Social Artifacts Any product of social beings or their behavior Unobtrusive research research in which the focus of study is unaware of being studied a Erosion trace based on the erosion of some social artifact n Accretion trace physical remnants or deposits Archival records Communication messages court cases traffic accidents congressional hearings etc o Ecological Fallacy 0 Drawing conclusions about individuals based solely on observation groups The danger lies in drawing unwarranted assumptions about the cause of those patterns Opposite of this is the individual fallacy Formulating Your Research Design o The Time Dimension 0 CrossSectional Studies A study based on observations representing a single point in time 0 Longitudinal Studies A study design involving the collection of data at different points in time Trend Studies a Studying changes within some general population over time Cohort Studies a Examining relatively specific subpopulations or cohorts as they change over time Typically an age group Panel Studies a Examines the same sample of people for data collection multiple times a Drawback is panel attrition respondents in first wave may not participate in later waves which distorts results of study Obvious advantage is more information but the disadvantage is that this costs more time and money Approximate conclusions can be drawn abut processes that take place over time even when only cross sectional data is available Logical inferences can be made whenever the time order of variables is clear Age differences discovered in a study form the basis for inferring processes over time Asking people to recall their pasts is another common but dangerous way of approximating observations over time o The Space Dimension 0 FieldDependent Research Researchers who conduct naturalistic field research are interested in how people communicate in the natural surroundings of their everyday lives Researchers who conduct evaluation research asses the impact of social interventions o FieldIndependent Research Researchers who conduct experimental research for purposes of inferring causeeffect relationships between variables 352012 10100 AM 352012 10100 AM 352012 10100 AM 362012 21300 AM Chapter 3 Paradigms of Knowing 362012 21300 AM The Positivist Paradigm CauseandEffect o An Objective Reality 0 Emphasis is placed on objective ways to gather empirical observations in order to minimize the subjectivity of the researcher The goal is to understand causeandeffect relationships o The Study of Variables 0 Researchers study features or characteristics about individuals or phenomena 0 Researchers study the attributes values characteristics or qualities that describe a phenomenon that compose variables logical groupings of attributes o EX A variable would be Medium of communication and attributes would be email facetoface telephone letter o Positivist Theory 0 Theories describe the relationships we might logically expect among variables When variables are related we have the ability to predict one variable with knowledge of the other variable 0 Causal Explanation demonstrating causality 3 requirements 1 The cause must precede the effect in time 2 There is an observed empirical relationship between them 3 The relationship is not found to be the result of some 3rd variable o Generalized Laws 0 Nomothetic explanation Seeks to economically using 1 or a few factors explain fully or partially a class of situations or events rather than a single one o Idiographic explanation Explains a single situation exhaustively to where one can fully understand the causes of what happened in a particular instance However it is limited to only the case at hand 0 0 Researchers who subscribe to the positivist tradition strive to discover laws the generalize beyond particular instances to encompass the entire class of phenomena Quantitative Data 0 Researchers grounded in the positivist tradition seek to study variables objectively through quantitatively based empirical observations for purposes of nomothetic prediction and explanation that take the form of causeandeffect laws They Systems Paradigm Function Characteristics of Systems 0 Communication is a system a group of interrelated parts that function as a whole Parts of the communication system are characterized by interdependence a change in one part results in changes elsewhere in the system 0 Communication systems are organized wholes and researchers appreciate that the whole is more than the sum of its parts 0 Communication systems are characterized by dynamic equilibrium ongoing adjustments to sustain balance 0 Systems vary in their openness to external influences A Comparison of Systems and Positivist Paradigm o The research agenda is that of discovering how the parts function together to sustain the system 0 Systems researchers are committed to understanding phenomena more holistically O The Interpretive Paradigm Understanding The primary goal is to understand the web of meanings in which humans act Researchers rely on the qualitative methods of participant observation qualitative interviewing and qualitative text analysis The Study of Meanings o The goal is to understand what action means to people o The interpretive counterpart to the variable is the semantic relationship a chunk of meaning 0 There is no single reality because there are different meanings that can guide different people s actions 0 The study of meaning is closely linked to the study of rules o The Study of Rules 0 A rule is a commonly shared belief among members of a group or subculture about appropriate action 0 The goal of interpretive communication research is to identify the rules that guide communicative actions in a given setting or social group o Interpretive Theory 0 Researchers are interested in theories of understanding 1Local Knowledge rules and meanings are specific to the setting or social group and cannot be generalized n Idiographic 2 Heuristic Framework a set of statements designed to guide our efforts to understand meaning making regardless of the specific setting or group n Nomothetic o Qualitative Data 0 The goal is to provide understanding in as rich and detailed a manner as possible evocativeness Walk a mile in their shoes Researchers believe that numerical data is relatively thin compared to the evocativeness of words Not to say that meanings can t be summarized quantitatively O O The Critical Paradigm Ideologies o Researchers are interested in understanding the power relations between communicators using reflection and critique rather than empirical observation if empirical qualitative research is used Critical Reflection o Refers to an interrogation of a data set with an eye toward identifying its ideological bias and the implications of this bias for power relations 0 Goal is to expose the values implicit in social practices in order to enlighten and emancipate members of a society or group social change o Some Critical Approaches o Struggle among economic classes Marx o Feminist theories focused on gender differences 362012 21300 AM