# COM 365: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH METHODS Unit Test 3 Study Guide

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1 COM 365: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH METHODS Unit Test 3 Study Guide The test will cover the introductory materials from Chapters 7, 8, 9, & 10 in the Frey, Botan, & Kreps text as well as any handouts provided in class. Test questions may include multiple choice, true/false, short answer, definitions, short essay, and/or longer essay questions. Below are several questions students should be able to answer and concepts they should know how to define/explain, and to give/identify examples for Unit Test 3: Students should be able to define, compare and contrast each of the four major types of research methods. What are the purposes of each research method? What are the major strengths of each research method? What are the shortcomings of each research method? Chapter 7: Experimental Research Distinguish between independent and dependent variables. Describe the difference between variables and attributes. Understand the how to exercise control in experimental research --Exposing vs. Observing Exposure to an Independent Variable (treatment, control, comparison) --Ruling out initial differences between conditions (random assignment, pretest) --Controlling for the effects of extraneous influences (pp ). Differentiate between different Experimental research designs (3 types of each) --Full experiment --Quasi-experiments --Preexperiments Define and give examples of main and interaction effects as they relate to factorial designs. Be able to read a factorial design statement to determine the number of independent variables. Chapter 8: Survey Research Differentiate between the four common survey methods. Provide advantages and disadvantages of each of the four common survey methods. Identify the five types of items on a questionnaire. Detail the six guidelines for asking questions. What five conditions must exist in order to trust generalizations made on the basis of surveys? Chapter 9: Textual Analysis What are the primary units of analysis for each of the five major approaches to textual analysis? What is the purpose of textual analysis? What are the important considerations in textual analysis? Rhetorical criticism (neo-aristotelian, genre, dramatistic, metaphoric, narrative, fantasy theme, feminist) Doing rhetorical criticism Describe content themes and intercoder reliability as they apply to content analysis Explain how communication researchers overcome the challenge of identifying, acquiring, and analyzing texts most appropriate for the purposes of their research.

2 Chapter 10: Naturalistic Inquiry What is the purpose of naturalistic inquiry? Why is naturalistic research sometimes called ethnography or qualitative research? What are the uses of ethnographic research? What are the commonalities in all naturalistic/ethnographic research? How do ethnographic researchers collect data? How is reliability and validity employed in naturalistic inquiry? How are threats to validity overcome in naturalistic inquiry? What are the four roles that an ethnographic researcher could play? What is the importance of in-depth interviews / focus groups?

3 QUESTIONS / WITH ANSWERS TO REVIEW Chapter 7: Experiments What is the central characteristic of an experiment? -CONTROL What is the assumption experimental research makes about behavior? -It is not random. Ultimately, an experiment is a test of what kind of sequences?-cause and Effect. When a researcher can determine whether changes in an independent variable produce changes in a dependent variable, the researcher has established what kind of relationship? -Causal What kind of variable is manipulated in an experiment?-the Independent Variable What are the three most important things a researcher does to exercise control in experimental research? How is this accomplished? Manipulate the independent variable control when, how, or how much of an independent variable a subject receives Establish equivalent experimental groups random assignment, use a pretest Control for the influence of extraneous variables. threats due to researchers, how the research is conducted, threats due to subjects What is the group that receives the manipulation in an experiment called? -The treatment group What is the group that does not receive the manipulation in an experiment called? -The control group What is the difference between a laboratory experiment and a field experiment? -laboratory experiment takes place in a setting created by researchers -field experiments take place in subjects' natural setting. Compare full experiments, quasi-experiments, and pre-experiments in terms of control (manipulation of independent variable, establishment of experiment groups, influence of extraneous variables). (p. 182) -the extent to which researchers can accomplish a particular degree of control What are independent variables called when there are more than one in a study? - factors What is a study called when there is more than one independent variable?

4 -factorial study What are the effects due to each of the independent variables in a factorial study called? -main effects The effects due to the unique combination of independent variables in a factorial study are called what? -interaction effects Chapter 8: Survey Research Which methodology is most often used in communication research? - The Survey Method Explain one of three applied uses of survey research. -political polls, evaluation research, market research What is the difference between summative and formative evaluations in Evaluation Research? -summative is completed after a program or product is completed to learn its overall effectiveness -formative is conducted while a program or product is in process to identify ways to refine it What type of evaluation research examines the pattern of interactions between members of a social network? -network analysis How do researchers use the survey method to ensure that results of the study reflect the characteristics of the defined population? -select representative members through standardized sampling techniques -select survey respondents -sampling frame -sampling method -sampling unit of analysis What is the difference between cross-sectional and longitudinal survey designs? -cross-sectional designs study respondents at one point in time. -longitudinal designs study respondents at several points in time. (Trend, Cohort, Panel) What are three things researchers must consider when designing questions for survey questionnaires and interviews? 1. Types of questions asked 2. The way questions are constructed 3. The question format that will be used

5 What type of data is available when directive questionnaires and interviews use closed questions that limit the answers respondents can give? -quantitative data (horizontal) What type of data is available when nondirective questionnaires and interviews use open questions that place few restrictions on the kinds of responses subjects can give? -qualitative data (vertical) What is the process called when researchers assign meaning (whether numerical or verbal) to survey answers? -CODING From surveys we can learn how large groups of people think and act. What five conditions must exist in order to trust generalizations made on the basis of surveys? 1. Sample must be representative 2. Response rate must be sufficient 3. Questions must be unbiased 4. The data collection procedures must be uniform 5. The data coding and analysis must be accurate. Chapter 9: Textual Analysis What are the primary units of analysis for each of the five major approaches to textual analysis? Rhetorical Criticism - persuasion Content Analysis - themes Interaction Analysis - interactions Conversation Analysis - conversations Performance Studies - performances What method is used by communication researchers to describe and interpret the characteristics of a recorded or visual message? - Textual Analysis What is purpose of textual analysis? -purpose is to examine the communication embedded in texts To understand how people think, and consequently act, by studying patterns displayed in their discourse. (To determine the patterns underlying how humans interact). What are the important considerations in textual analysis? -types of texts (written transcripts, written documents, electronic documents, visual texts) -acquiring texts (natural, laboratory, direct requests, literary or historical sources) -analyzing texts (rhetorical criticism, content analysis, conversation analysis, unobtrusive measures) Explain how communication researchers overcome the challenge of identifying, acquiring, and analyzing texts most appropriate for the purposes of their research?

6 IDENTIFYING TEXTS: -TRANSCRIPTS -verbatim recordings of actual communication -written transcripts -audio or audiovisual recordings of group members -OUTPUTS OF COMMUNICATION -messages produced by communicators themselves -written artifacts (letters, graffiti, books) -works of art (paintings, statues, or films) -symbolic outputs (footprints or refuse) ACQUIRING TEXTS: -listen in on conversations that occur in natural, everyday settings -record "natural" conversations in a laboratory setting -request samples of specific conversation from people directly -interpersonal discourse or dialogue taken from literary or historical sources (novels or films) ANALYZING TEXTS: RHETORICAL CRITICISM -description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of persuasive uses of human communication. CONTENT ANALYSIS -make inferences by systematically and objectively identifying specified characteristics within a text. -used to identify and examine messages contained in a text CONVERSATION ANALYSIS -examines messages exchanged during dyadic and small group interactions in order to discover the "systematic and orderly properties which are meaningful to conversants [and researchers]. Systematic properties include the content, function, structure, and effects of conversation. UNOBTRUSIVE MEASURES - examines physical traces or artifacts to describe people and their communication behavior. Archival Research, Bibliometrics, & Trace Measures (measures of erosion, measures of accretion)

7 Chapter 10: Naturalistic Inquiry What is purpose of naturalistic inquiry? -purpose is to describe how people communicate in PARTICULAR CONTEXTS. -refers to a written report about a group of people -examines the patterned interactions and significant symbols of specific cultural groups to identify the cultural norms (rules) that direct their behaviors and the meanings people ascribe to each other's behaviors. -goals are to discover and disclose the socially acquired and shared understandings necessary to be a member of a specified social unit. -powerful methodology for describing and understanding the world of a social actor in a specific context. -relates how communication creates social order; how human communication influences and is influenced by the context in which it occurs. -a particular tradition in social science that fundamentally depends on watching people in their own territory and interacting with them in their own language, on their own terms. What is symbolic interactionism and how is it related to naturalistic inquiry? -stresses the symbolic nature of human social life, maintaining that the meaning and function of virtually every human action involving communication is a mutual creation defined by the individuals interacting. Why is naturalistic research sometimes called ethnography or qualitative research? -because ethnography captures people's own meanings for their everyday behavior. What are the uses of ethnographic research? - emphasizes studying subjective reality over objective fact finding. -studies the particular rather than the general. -help to appreciate, describe, and facilitate socialization. -understand how people in the new culture interpret communication. -studying extreme instances of communication behavior of particularly unsuccessful or successful episodes. -informs us about how a particular social issue is manifested in communication (cultural imperialism) What are the commonalities in all naturalistic/enthographic research? -inductive reasoning -proximity and interaction (autoethnography) -ordinary behavior -multiple and flexible methods

8 How do ethnographic researchers collect data? -Observation deciding what to observe gaining access to observational settings role of the observer Complete Observer - Observer Participant - Participant Observer - Complete Participant reactive effects of observation recording observations (field notes) -Interviews whom to interview, interview locale, interview format, analyzing and reporting the interview How is RELIABILITY and VALIDITY employed in Ethnographic Research? -LOW RELIABILITY - HIGH VALIDITY -Reliability Sole observers Analysis dependent of field notes Fully document research fully and allow other researchers to see their data upon request React subjectively to the people being studied Objectivity is threatened! Appropriate for capturing the complexity of the world in people's own words -Validity Natural context Type of data - record actual BEHAVIORS Records unconscious behavior Permits long-term contact with subjects Continual data analysis Comparison to refine constructs and to ensure match between scientific categories and participant reality. Thick, rich detail. THREATS TO VALIDITY Emotional involvement Trust violation Limited in ability to witness all relevant aspects of phenomena being studied Researchers must select what they will collect How are threats to validity overcome in ethnographic research? -Triangulate findings by using various methods to collect data. -Combine methods to check validity -Employment of multiple observational or interview methods. -Cross-check interviews and data from archival documents. -Relate observations to quantitative data obtained from questionnaires. -Use background information about the situation being observed.

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