COMM3710 - Fall 2011 - Section 001 - Lecture Notes - 08/30

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Systems theory – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Ontology – how much free will does the human race have?

If you lean toward the determinism end then you’ll use trait theories. People who lean toward free will also lean toward state theories.

Social science approach
  1. We are trying to make the world a better place.
  2. We are interested in symbols and meaning and understanding
  3. We are systematic
  4. Show me the data
  5. We begin with a question and try to find something out that wasn’t known before.

If you are in the field of communication then your primary goal is to understand symbols and meanings.

Denotative definition is the dictionary definition. The common agreed upon meaning.
Connotative definition is the feelings you have with the meaning.
Stipulative definition is when the researcher defines what it means.

Questions of fact – empirical questions
Questions of value – value judgments
Questions of policy – prudent course of action

If your not systematic and define your definitions then others won’t know how valid your research is.

With questions of value we won’t be able to answer these questions with social science.

Ethical relativism – anything goes given a certain situation
Ethical absolutism – there is only one right and wrong for everything

To analyze questions of policy see if you are agreeing on definitions, values, etc.

Advantages of Hypothetico-deductive method
  1. Hypothetico-deductive is authority free. This could mean that you get blind review. They don’t know you and you don’t know them.
  2. The knowledge produced is public knowledge. Anyone can ask for the data, methods, etc.
  3. The results can be replicated.

Risky-shift phenomenon – groups of people make riskier decisions

Later research found that this wasn’t true. The make up of the group determines whether or not they are risky. In other words, if the group is made up of risky people then they will tend to be more risky. If the individuals, however, are more conservative then they will tend to be more conservative.

Theory - statements about the relationships between abstract variables.

X is always the independent variable
Y is always the dependent variable

The independent variable is the variable thought to be influencing the dependent variable. The dependent variable is the variable thought to be influenced by the independent variable.

Independent variable can be manipulated or measured.

Dependent variables are always measured.

Theory is self-correcting and can be practical.