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COMM2001 September 16, 2013.docx

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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 2002
Heather Pyman

Research Strategies • Two general strategies: Quantitative and Qualitative Sem 1: Quantitative • How theory is used and the epistemological difference o Refers to the process and how we do it "how do we do it" • Deal with ontological differences o What are we going to study • Theory is used in different ways and have a different approach to the process • Theory, epistemology and ontology Problems with sources of information Books • Opinionated • Changing - may not be true • Tampered facts - no context • Changing-> may not be true • Old, out of date, out of print Parents • Incomplete knowledge • Exaggerated • Outdated • Incomplete knowledge • Limited perspective • Biased Religion • Misinterpretation • Propaganda • Variations • Emotional • Not universal • Outdated • Second guessing/guilt, consequences to changing behaviours As social scientists looking for reliable and valid questions • Have valid and reliable information, when measuring behaviour or belief, do we have a measure that is a valid measure of that particular concept? • Bringing a formal structure to answering the questions that we have about human behaviour • Specifically interested in the behaviour of our communication o Connection between research methods and communication specifically Two research strategies: • Qualitative and quantitative • Strategies differ in terms of the (3 key differences) o Role of theory in research o Epistemological foundations • What is the process, how do we collect the information to get us reliable valid answers, what does the process look like? o Ontological basis • What objects of study are possible in this research process, what can we study and what can we not study? Theory and research: • Theory: explanation of observed regularities or patterns • Concept of a theory: it is an explanation of observed patters of behaviour • There are grand theories (Large theories that have been developed through hard sciences, explain how world was created, relationships, etc.) -> large social theories • Marxist theories: grand overlay that explains relations • Smaller theories, look at small aspects: magic bullet theory (early 1900s), critical and cultural theories, etc. They evolve and refine one another • Developed a set of theories that help us get up in the morning • Each and every theory we have helps us answer our own set of questions • Whole other set of theories we need to help understand how we get by Epistemological questions: • What is the process? o What is (or should be) considered acceptable knowledge? (taking a way to answer questions) o Can the social world be studied scientifically? o Is it appropriate to apply the methods of the natural sciences to social science research? • Quantitative is used by an approach (SR theory [stimulus response]) -> one way to answer research questions • How is someone's gender related to their environmental behaviours • We have questions about how we could design a marketing campaign to increase the target audience • Depending on gender, is something going to effect your environmental behaviour or action? • We can look at different attitudes as a stimuli, how does it predict a behaviour • How does a stimulus result in a response • A stimulus can be some sort of chemical and if we added t to a certain environment, what would the reaction be? o Idea of taking epistemological process and applying that to social sciences Ontological questions: • What are we going to study? o What kind of objects exist in the social world? o Do social entities exist independently of our perceptions of them? o Is social reality external to social actors or constructed by them? • Scientific method is making the assumption of all things being studied • How tor reliably measure them • To understand happiness, find a question to measure how happy you are, therefore happiness is measureable outside of you as an individual • Quantitative says you cannot isolate a concept of happiness outside of an individual's concept of happiness, it exists only inside that individual so that reality is only knowable through knowing the individual • From a scientific perspective, it is a reliable measure • From qualitative, that happiness does not exist in a measurable form that way • When you hear the term happiness, you interpret it differently • Different measures of different things • Cannot make the assumption that all of what makes us human beings will give us the ability to measure what is human beings • Ideas of applying stimulus response theory to human behaviour does not work • Need to think more of just our behaviours, how can we study them if we were to use scientific method: idea of spirit and soul • Stimulus response theory is quantitative research • Two different ways to use theory and processes, two different sets of object of study to use Quantitative strategies • Deductivism o Theory > data > theory • Positivist epistemology = scientific method o Nature is orderly, we can know nature, knowledge is superior to ignorance, natural phenomena have natue causes, nothing is self-evident, knowledge is derived from experience • Objectivist ontology o Social phenomena confront us as external facts • Research questions are based on questions that are already existing • DPO = Determine what the questions are going to be (stimulus response theory) -> determines human relations o Start with theory, deduct the data and it builds on the current understanding of the theory (circle goes clockwise, always starts with theory) = Positivism (process)= scientific method, idea t
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