CMN 3102 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Karl Popper, Syllogism, Scientific Method
SchoolUniversity of Ottawa
Course CodeCMN 3102
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Research: Studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or
experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision
of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application
of such new or revised theories or laws.
•!Research is the use of scientific method to answer questions.
EPISTEMOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO SCHOLARSHIP
Epistemology: A way of knowing.
The two most prominent epistemological approaches in this discipline are:
•!Humanism: qualitative, interpretive, critical
Some scholars attempt to employ both epistemological approaches when
they search for answers.
The most successful scholars typically devote the great majority of their
efforts to one approach or the other.
For a qualitative researcher to be considered scientific, he or she must follow
the scientific methods.
However, much qualitative research is subjective: knowledge arises out of
the researcher’s own opinion and perceptions, and based on very small
samples that cannot be used to explain larger groups of people.
Conversely, quantitative research attempts to be very objective: to create
knowledge by examining facts through the scientific method without
distorting the findings by personal feelings, prejudices, and interpretations.
•!Quantitative research generally relies on large samples of people
that can help us understand what is occurring within a larger group.
3 types of research: quantitative, qualitative/interpretive, critical research
THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks both created systems for determining
knowledge through a process that is loosely related to what we now know as
the scientific method.
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Whether you are a physical scientist (biologist, chemist, etc.) or a social
scientist (psychologist, communication researcher, etc.), the basic processes
for conducting research stem out of the scientific method.
•!4 primary steps to the scientific process: (TPOE)
o!4. Empirical Generalizations
•!In the Book of Optics, Ibn al-Haytham describes a method of
conducting experiments, which ultimately became the basis of
•!His scientific method consisted of seven basic steps:
o!2. Stating of the scientific problem
o!3. Formulating a hypothesis
o!4. Testing the hypothesis through experimentation
o!5. Analyzing the experimental results
o!6. Interpreting data and forming conclusions
o!7. Publishing research
•!The scientific method that is most popular today stems from the
work of Karl Popper (1934, 1968).
•!Theory: a proposed explanation for how a set of natural
phenomena will occur, capable of making predictions about the
phenomena for the future, and capable of being falsified through
•!Describe the Natural Phenomenon
o!A theory should either be able to explain or describe a natural
phenomenon (observable event).
o!An explanation is an attempt to satisfy one’s curiosity about
an observable event.
o!Ways to explain a phenomena:
!!Appealing to authority: the explanation centers
around the higher power or authority.
!!Label the phenomena: humans use labeling
constantly with children to help explain why their
parents do things.
!!Evoke empathy: show how a phenomenon had good,
just, or moral reasons.
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