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CM 380 Overview

Perspectives, Genres

Patrice Oppliger

on 20 May 2015

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Transcript of CM 380 Overview

COM CM 380
Communication Theory and Processes

What is Theory?
an organized set of concepts or explanations for a phenomenon
Genres of Theory
Dimensions of Theory
Epistemology: knowledge
Structural and Functional
Cognitive and Behavioral
Ontology: nature of being/
or nature of human interaction
Axiology: values or influence
Evaluating Theory
Scope: is its comprehensiveness appropriate?
Appropriateness: is it logically consistent with assumptions?
Heuristic Value: does it generate new ideas?
Validity: is it "true" and generalizable?
Parsimony: is it logically simplistic?
Openness: does it invite challenges?
Assumes Free Will: e.g.,Philosophy
Subjective: no one "truth"
Research: Qualitative (ethnography)
Inductive: research then theory

Social Scientific
Assumes Patterns: e.g., Psychology
Objective: Truth
Research: Quantitative
Deductive: theory then research
(Hypothesis Testing)
Humanistic: simply describe a phenomenon
Social Scientific: explain, predict, and control
A "Good Theory:"
conceptually interesting
constantly evolving
"How do we know what we know?"

"What is there to know?" "Truth" or "truth"
Determinist (passive) vs. Pragmatists (active)

"Can research be free from bias?"
Focus on individual's thoughts and actions
Focus on dyads/relationships
Focus is on groups and organizations
Focus on meaning
Focus on meaning with intent to change
one way to capture the "truth"
Social Scientific
Theoretical/Research Perspectives
Realist (objective)
vs. Nominalist (subjective)
vs. Social Constructivist (both)

Universal Stance (objective - observable)
vs. Relativists (subjective)
Value-free vs. Value-laden
Theory: “any organized set of concepts, explanations, and principles of some aspect of human experience” (Littlejohn, 2008, p. 14).

“A theory offers one way to capture the “truth” of a phenomenon; it is never the only way to view it” (p. 15).

Ontology: nature of being
human choices
states or traits
individual or social
Epistemology: how we know what we know
does knowledge exist before experience?
to what extent can knowledge be certain?
what process is selected?
should theory be objective?
can theory be subjective?
Axiology: values
Full transcript