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Effective argumentation is at the very heart of communication and a key component to understanding and conducting communication research. Using clear language, concrete examples, and the Toulmin model of claim-data-warrants, Communication Research Methods introduces students to multiple ways of knowing, helps them think critically about communication, and provides them with the tools they need to explore the often murky depths of communication research.
Ideal for research methods courses covering multiple methodologies, this is the only text that uses a research-as-argument approach to help students become not only more effective researchers, but more insightful consumers of research.
Gerianne Merrigan is Professor of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University.
Carole L. Huston is Associate Provost and Professor of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: The What and Why of Communication Research
1. Introduction to Communication Research Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Critical Thinking and Information Literacy Communication Theories Theory and Research Methods » Everyday Ways of Knowing » Research Methods as Argument » Making Good Academic and Practical Arguments Audiences for Communication Research » Professional Networks and Associations » Scholarly Journals » Trade Journals and Popular Press Publications Two Academic Manuscripts: Research Reports and Critical Essays » Research Reports Elements of Research Reports Characteristics of Research Reports » Critical Essays Elements of Critical Essay Characteristics of Critical Essays Summary Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
2. Three Paradigms of Knowing Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Methodological Ways of Knowing The Dichotomy of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Three Epistemological Paradigms » Interpreting Communication » Critiquing Communication » Discovering Communication Summary Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
3. Ethics and Communication Research Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline A Brief History of Communication Ethics Ethical Choices in Research » Before Doing Research: Motives for Projects and Topics » During Research Projects: Protecting the Rights of Research Participants Right to Freely Choose Research Participation Right to Privacy Right to Be Treated With Honesty » Afterward: Reporting and Evaluating Research Ethically Summary Ethical Issues and Choices Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
4.Making Claims Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline The Process of Making Claims Definition of Claim Types of Claims » Interpretive Claims Grounded theory Hermeneutic circle » Evaluative and Reformist Claims » Explanatory and Predictive Claims Research questions and hypotheses Causal relationships: Independent and dependent variables Associative relationships Summary Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
5. What Counts as Communication Data? Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Data Collection Sources » Texts » Direct Observations of Communicative Behaviors » Self-Reports of Communicative Behaviors, Beliefs, and Characteristics » Other-Reports of Communicative Behaviors, Beliefs, and Characteristics Data Collection Settings Data Collection Strategies » Selecting Data Sources » Random Selection Methods » Nonrandom Selection Methods » Selection in Critical Studies Capturing Observed Behaviors Capturing Self-Reports and Other-Reports Research Design » Design as a Bypassing Term » Cross-Sectional Research Designs » Longitudinal Research Designs Triangulation & Mixed Methods Research » Multiple Data Sources » Multiple Data Settings » Multiple Data Collection Strategies » Multiple Data Analytic Strategies » Multiple Investigators' Viewpoints Summary Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
6. Warrants for Research Arguments Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Interpretive Paradigm Warrants » Interpretive Values: Subjectivity and Rich Description » Form of Argument: Demonstrating Multiple Realities » Researcher Credibility as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Training and Experience Degree of Membership Faithfulness » Plausible Interpretations as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Adequacy of Evidence Coherence Negative Case Analysis » Transferable Findings as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Confirmability Relevance Critical Paradigm Warrants » Emancipatory Values: Voice and Liberation » Form of Argument: Demonstrating Ideological Need for Change » Coherence as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence » Researcher Positionality as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence » Change in Awareness & Praxis as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Discovery Paradigm Warrants » Scientific Values: Precision, Power, and Parsimony » Form of Argument: Demonstrating Causality » Validity as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Bias: A Threat to Accurate Measurement Types of Measurement Validity Content validity Face validity Criterion-related validity Construct validity External validity » Reliability as a Standard for Evaluating Evidence Noise: A Threat to Consistent Measurement Types of Measurement Reliability Three Views of Truth » Interpretive Paradigm » Critical Paradigm » Discovery Paradigm Summary Warrants for Research Arguments Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
PART TWO: How to Interpret & Critique Communication
7. Ethnography: How to Interpret Participants' Realities Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline The Roots of Interpretive Field Research in Ethnomethodology » Paradigm Affiliations » Levels of Analysis » Emphasis on Context in Analysis? Ethnographic Claims » Interpretive Claims » Evaluative and Reformist Claims Ethnographic Data » Sources for Data Collection Participant Observation Interviews with Key Informants Archival Documents Artifacts » Strategies for Data Collection Gaining Access to the Setting Selecting Key Informants Taking Field Notes Exiting the Field » Strategies for Data Analysis Transcribing Interviews Coding and Reducing Field Notes Applying Descriptive Frameworks Writing Case Studies Ethical Issues for Ethnographers Ethnographic Warrants » Valuing Subjectivity and Rich Description » Researcher Credibility Degree of Membership Faithfulness » Plausible Interpretations Adequacy and Coherence of Evidence Negative Case Analysis » Transferable Findings » Coherence and Researcher Positionality for Critical Ethnographic Research Coherence Researcher Positionality Ethnographic Research Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
8. Conversation and Discourse Analysis: How to Explain and Interpret Talk Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Conversation Analytic Claims » Turn Taking » Adjacency Pairs » Preference » Repair » Action Sequences Discourse Analytic Claims » Interpreting Interactional Accomplishments Facework Role and Identity Performances » Interpreting Social Practices and Entities Conversation and Discourse Analytic Data » Collecting Interactive Discourse Recording Techniques Ethical Issues » Transcribing Interactive Discourse Notating Transcripts Formatting Transcripts » Transcription Programs » Collecting Narrative Discourse » Determining the Unit of Analysis » Analytic Induction Conversation Analytic Warrants » Transcription Veracity » Detail Level » Sample Representativeness Discourse Analytic Warrants » Researcher Credibility » Plausible Interpretations » Transferable Findings More Ethical Issues in CA/DA Research Conversation Analysis Summary Table Discourse Analysis Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities for CA "Try It!" Activity for DA
9. Rhetorical Criticism: How to Interpret Persuasive Texts & Artifacts Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Rhetorical Theory and Rhetorical Criticism Neoclassical Analysis and Genre Criticism » Neoclassical Criticism Claims and Data Invention Organization Style Delivery Memory » Warrants Genre Criticism » Traditional Aristotelian Genre » Claims and Data » New Approaches to Genre Studies » Warrants Interpretive Rhetorical Criticism » Metaphoric Criticism Claims and Data Warrants » Dramatism Claims and Data Act Scene Agent Agency Purpose Warrants Narrative Analysis » Claims and Data » Warrants New Directions for Rhetorical Criticism » Recondisering Rhetorical Contexts » Audiences and the Nature of the Public Sphere Ethical Concerns in Rhetorical Criticism Rhetorical Criticism Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
10. How to Critique Texts Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline New Directions: Bridges from Interpreting to Critiquing Texts » Communication as Performative and Ideological » Communication as Social Change Claims in Critical and Cultural Studies » Evaluating and Reforming Social Structures Marxist Criticism Gender and Feminist Criticism » Evaluating and Reinventing Discourse Processes Postmodern Criticism Cultural Criticism Semiotic Criticism Data/Evidence in Critical Studies » Actions and Events » Texts » Researchers' Experiences and Beliefs Analytic Moves in Critical Studies » Deconstruction » Narrative Analyses Warrants for Critical Studies » Establishing Coherence » Establishing Researcher Positionality » Establishing Impact: Changes in Awareness and Praxis Ethical Issues in Critiquing Texts Critical Studies Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
PART THREE: How to Discover Communication
11. How to Design Discovery Research Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Research Design as the Essential Framework Measurement » Conceptual and Operational Definitions » Levels of Measurement Nominal Level Ordinal Level Interval Level Ratio Level Building Arguments Through Research Designs » Causal and Associative Arguments » Experimental Research Design Design Elements Comparison Groups Random Selection and Assignment (sampling issues) Pretesting Types of Designs Preexperimental Designs Quasi-Experimental Designs True Experimental Designs Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
12. Content Analysis Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Content Analytic Claims » Explaining and Predicting Message Content Data for Content Analysis » Selecting a Representative Sample of Messages » Encoding Texts » Data Treatment for Content Analysis Unitizing Messages Categorizing Messages A Sample Coding Scheme Content Data Analysis Warrants for Content Analysis » Intercoder Reliability » Validity of the Coding Scheme » External Validity Coder Training Sample Representativeness Ethical Issues in Content Analytic Research Content Analysis Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
13. Survey Research Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Survey Research Claims » Explaining and Predicting Attitudes and Behaviors Survey Research Data » Sources for Data Collection » Settings for Data Collection Laboratory and Field Settings Basic and Applied Research Three Types of Applied Survey Research » Data Sampling Strategies Random Selection Methods Nonrandom or Purposive Selection Methods » Capturing Self-Reports and Other-Reports Types of Survey Interviews Formats for Survey Interviews Training Survey Interviewers Questionnaires General structure of questionnaires Formats for survey questions » Instrumentation and the Measurement of Survey Data Operationalization of Variables Levels of Measurement Data Collection and Analysis Online: Qualtrix & Survey Monkey Data Analysis Software Offline: Free Ware Survey Research Warrants » Response Rate as an Essential Contributor to Validity » Establishing Valid Measurement » Establishing Reliable Measurement Ethical Issues in Survey Research Survey Research Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
14. How to Conduct Experimental Research Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Experimental Research Claims » Deductive Process » Explaining and Predicting Cause and Effect Sequences Experimental Research Data » Data Sources » Data Settings » Research Designs for Causal Arguments » Data Collection and Analysis Data Collection Strategies Analysis of Variable Effects Experimental Research Warrants » Controlling Rival Hypotheses » Internal Validity Threats Time Progression Effects History Maturation Mortality Statistical regression Testing Instrumentation Reactivity Effects Selection Treatment diffusion Compensatory behavior Researcher attributes Demand characteristics Evaluation apprehension » External Validity Threats Sample Representativeness Setting Appropriateness Ethics in Experimental Research Experimental Research Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
15. Descriptive Statistics and Hypothesis Testing Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline How to Describe Sample Data » Visual Representations of Variables Nominal and Ordinal Data Pie charts Bar charts Interval and Ratio Data Histograms Frequency Polygons Some Ethical Issues » Numerical Representations of Variables Measures of Central Tendency Mean Median Mode Measures of Shape Skew Kurtosis Measures of Dispersion Range Variance Standard deviation » Using Excel and SPSS Excel SPSS » Some Ethical Issues? How to Estimate Population Differences and Relationships Using Sample Data: The Logic of Hypothesis Testing » Three Types of Distributions Sample Distributions Population Distributions Sampling Distributions » Estimation and Inference » The Logic of Hypothesis Testing Central Limits Theorem The Normal Curve Areas under the Normal Curve Standard Error Confidence interval and level » Steps to Testing Hypotheses Formulating Hypotheses The research hypothesis The null hypothesis Framing Decisions Based on Likelihood of Error Calculating the Test Statistic Deciding to Accept or Reject the Null Hypothesis Descriptive Statistics Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities
16. Inferential Statistics: Differences and Relationships Introduction Learning Outcomes Outline Tests of Differences » Nonparametric Tests Nature of Data and Assumptions Chi-Square Single-sample chi-square Multiple-sample chi-square SPSS and Excel chi-square steps Interpreting the results and APA formatting » Parametric Tests Nature of Data and Assumptions t-Test Independent and paired samples SPSS t-test Excel t-test Interpreting the results and APA formatting Analysis of Variance One-way ANOVA SPSS Oneway ANOVA steps Multiple Comparisons Excel Oneway ANOVA steps Interpreting results and APA formatting Two-way (and greater) ANOVAs Tests of Relationships » Correlation Nature of Data and Assumptions Point-Biserial Correlation SPSS and Excel Pearson Correlation Interpreting results and APA formatting Causal Associations: Regression Analysis Nature of data and assumptions SPSS and Excel Simple Regression Interpreting the results and APA formatting Types of regression analysis Two Ethical Issues Inferential Statistics Summary Table Key Terms Discussion Questions "Try It!" Activities