COMM 2001: September 16 th
We need to be able to critically determine that what we are using as social scientists are reliable and
valid. We are trying to bring a formal structure to our questions of social behavior.
There are two distinct research strategies in Communication Studies. The two strategies differ in terms
of: The role of theory in research, epistemological foundations and ontological basis.
Theory: Explanation of observed regularities or patterns
There are grand theories and then there are smaller more specific theories.
The role of theory in research:
- Theory can play a different role depending on what we are researching. It can be a key player to
the research or it can take more of a minor role.
- It is the questions that must be posed to decide what should be considered acceptable
- These questions help decide if the social world can be studied scientifically (numerical, data) and
also if it is appropriate to apply the methods of the natural sciences to social science research.
- Questions we pose when we are studying what we are going to study. These questions can be
about social entities and our social reality
- Example: Do social entities exist independently of our perceptions of them?
- Q: How are we going to measure spirits or the soul?
Quantitative Strategy: Measurement of social variables using common research designs such as surveys
and experiments. The data is numerical and statistical.
- Deductivism: It is reasoning that goes from general to specific. (Stimulus Response Method)