September 16 , 2013
How theory is used in qualitative and quantitative strategies, they both have different
approaches to the concept,
Epistemology – how are we going to do it?
Problems with where we get our information:
Always changing (Wikipedia)
May not be true (Wikipedia)
Tampered facts/lacking context
Old/out of date
Incomplete knowledge (parents/friends)
Limited perspective (parents)
Misinterpretation (religion, church)
Where we can get our information:
We need reliable and valid information; as social scientists we look for the ability to
critically determine what were studying is correct and reliable. Bringing a formal structure
to answer the questions that we have, that is what our interest is. As communication
scholars, we look at the connection between research methods and communication.
Two distinctive clusters of research strategies: quantitative vs. qualitative
These strategies differ in terms of the:
o Role of theory in research
o Epistemological foundations (how are we going to do this)
o Ontological basis (what objects of study are possible to look at) Theory and Research
Theory: explanations of observed regularities or patterns
o Large social theories (social relationships)
o Smaller specific theories (Magic bullet theory, critical cultural theory)
We live our lives unconsciously guided by a whole bunch of theories; these theories
determine how you’re going to live your life, how you interact and what you do. You have
soon developed your own set of theories that helps you answer questions. Each culture
has a different theory outlook; by the way we greet people (hand shake, bowing to one and
other). These theories help us understand how the world works, that will help us answer
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
What is (or should be) considered acceptable knowledge?
Can the social world be studied “scientifically”?
Is it appropriate to apply the methods of the natural sciences to social science
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO STUDY?
What kinds of objects exist in the social world?
Do social entities exist independently of our perceptions of them?
Is social reality external to social actors or constructed by them?
You cant apply stimulus response theory to the human behavior (only quantitative)
If you wanted to measure happiness, you must find a question that is applicable to “being
happy”. These questions will divide the Q vs. Q research.
Qualitative research: you cannot measure human behavior by making the assumption that
we are able to measure “happiness”, for example – that is impossible.