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Theory Resources

DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORIES IN THE 10TH EDITION

 

Resources
by Type




 CHAPTER OUTLINES






 LINKS





Instructors can get additional
resources. Read more


New to Theory Resources?
Find out more in this
short video overview (3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter  3—Weighing the Words

  1. Introduction.
    1. Not all theories are equally effective.
    2. The utility of a theory may be judged by applying the appropriate criteria used by behavioral scientists and a wide range of interpretive scholars to weigh the theories of their colleagues.
  2. What makes an objective theory good?
    1. Scientific standard 1: Prediction of future events. Prediction in physical science is more accurate than in social science, where it is based on probability.
    2. Scientific standard 2: Explanation of the data.
      1. A good theory makes sense out of disturbing situations or draws order out of chaos.
      2. It focuses attention on crucial variables and away from irrelevant data.
      3. It explains what is happening and why.
      4. It explains both the process and the results.
    3. Scientific standard 3: Relative simplicity. The rule of parsimony dictates that all things being equal, we accept the simpler explanation over the more complex.
    4. Scientific standard 4: Hypotheses that can be tested. If there is no way to prove a theory false, then any claim that it’s true seems hollow.
      1. They shy away from the put-up-or-shut-up standard—they aren’t testable.
      2. They are never-miss shots.
    5. Scientific standard 5: Practical utility.
      1. This requirement is consistent with social psychologist Kurt Lewin’s claim that there is nothing as practical as a good theory.
      2. Don't dismiss a theory as impractical unless you understand it.
      3. The wider the scope of a theory’s application, the greater its practical utility.
    6. Scientific standard 6: Quantitative Research
      1. Scientists favor quantifiable experiments and surveys.
      2. The idea that numbers are more reliable than words runs deep in the scientific community.
      3. Through experiments, scientists seek to establish a cause-and-effect relationship by manipulating an independent variable in a tightly controlled situation in order to determine its effect on a dependent variable.
      4. Surveys rely on self-report data to discover who people are and what they think, feel, and intend to do—the key components of our attitudes.
  3. What makes an interpretive theory good?
    1. Interpretive standard 1: Clarification of values.
      1. Theorists acknowledge their own values.
      2. They seek to unmask the ideology behind messages.
      3. Of course, not all interpretive scholars occupy the same moral ground, but there are core values most of them share.
      4. Many theorists value individual liberty and equality. Krippendorff's Ethical Imperative argues that we should grant others that occur in our construction the same autonomy we practice constructing them.
      5. Many interpretive scholars value equality as highly as they do freedom.
      6. Critical theorists, in particular, insist that scholars can no longer remain ethically detached from the people they are studying, or from the political and economic implications of their work
    2. Interpretive standard 2: New understanding of people.
      1. Interpretive scholarship is good when it offers fresh insight into the human condition.
      2. Rhetorical critics, ethnographers, and other humanistic researchers seek to gain new understanding by analyzing the activity that they regard as uniquely human—symbolic interaction.
      3. Whereas science wants objective explanation, humanism desires subjective understanding.
      4. Klaus Krippendorff's Self-Referential Imperative states that, as theorists, we are both the cause and the consequence of what we observe.
    3. Interpretive standard 3: Aesthetic appeal.
      1. A theory's form can be as captivating as its content.
      2. Although the elegance of a theory is in the eye of the beholder, clarity and artistry seem to be the two qualities needed to satisfy this aesthetic requirement.
    4. Interpretive standard 4: A community of agreement. A theory must have widespread scrutiny and usage.
      1. We can identify a good interpretive theory by the amount of support it generates within a community of scholars who are interested and knowledgeable about the same type of communication.
      2. Interpretation of meaning is subjective, but whether the interpreter’s case is reasonable or totally off the wall is ultimately decided by others in the field.
    5. Interpretive standard 5: Reform of society.
      1. They want to expose and publicly resist the ideology that permeates the accepted wisdom of a culture.
      2. Theory challenges cultural assumptions.
      3. The aim of critical scholarship is to unmask communication practices that create or perpetuate power imbalances in an attempt to stimulate change.
      4. To the extent that the theory stimulates students to rethink, respond, and react to this “free-market” process, it is a good interpretive theory.
    6. Interpretive standard 6: Qualitative research
      1. While scientists use numbers to support their theories, interpretive scholars use words.
      2. Textual analysis and ethnography are the two methods most often used to study how humans use signs and symbols to create and infer meaning.
      3. Textual analysis describes and interprets the characteristics of messages.
      4. Through ethnography, participant-observers experience a culture's web of meaning.
  4. Contested turf and common ground among theorists.
    1. Although the differences that separate objective and interpretive theorists are meaningful, they can friendly with each other across their lines of difference.
      1. It requires mutual respect for each other’s interest and recognition of their intellect.
      2. It requires a mutual appreciation that scientific theorists are comparing multiple messages or groups while interpretive theorists are analyzing a single message or group.
      3. The two sets of six criteria are not as different as they might seem.
        1. Both prediction and value clarification look to the future.
        2. An explanation can further understanding of motive.
        3. Simplicity has aesthetic appeal.
        4. Hypothesis testing is a way of achieving a community of agreement.
        5. Theories that reform are practical.
        6. Qualitative and quantitative research both reflect a commitment to learning more about communication.
    2. It is important for the two communities to at least be familiar with the other’s work.
    3. Although all theories featured in this book have merit, they also have weaknesses elucidated by the standards set forth in this chapter.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

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Resources
by Type




 OUTLINES


 VIDEOS


 ESSAY


 LINKS





Instructors can get
additional resources.
Read more

New to Theory
Resources?

Find out more
in this short
video overview
(3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter  3—Weighing the Words

  1. Introduction.
    1. Not all theories are equally effective.
    2. The utility of a theory may be judged by applying the appropriate criteria used by behavioral scientists and a wide range of interpretive scholars to weigh the theories of their colleagues.
  2. What makes an objective theory good?
    1. Scientific standard 1: Prediction of future events. Prediction in physical science is more accurate than in social science, where it is based on probability.
    2. Scientific standard 2: Explanation of the data.
      1. A good theory makes sense out of disturbing situations or draws order out of chaos.
      2. It focuses attention on crucial variables and away from irrelevant data.
      3. It explains what is happening and why.
      4. It explains both the process and the results.
    3. Scientific standard 3: Relative simplicity. The rule of parsimony dictates that all things being equal, we accept the simpler explanation over the more complex.
    4. Scientific standard 4: Hypotheses that can be tested. If there is no way to prove a theory false, then any claim that it’s true seems hollow.
      1. They shy away from the put-up-or-shut-up standard—they aren’t testable.
      2. They are never-miss shots.
    5. Scientific standard 5: Practical utility.
      1. This requirement is consistent with social psychologist Kurt Lewin’s claim that there is nothing as practical as a good theory.
      2. Don't dismiss a theory as impractical unless you understand it.
      3. The wider the scope of a theory’s application, the greater its practical utility.
    6. Scientific standard 6: Quantitative Research
      1. Scientists favor quantifiable experiments and surveys.
      2. The idea that numbers are more reliable than words runs deep in the scientific community.
      3. Through experiments, scientists seek to establish a cause-and-effect relationship by manipulating an independent variable in a tightly controlled situation in order to determine its effect on a dependent variable.
      4. Surveys rely on self-report data to discover who people are and what they think, feel, and intend to do—the key components of our attitudes.
  3. What makes an interpretive theory good?
    1. Interpretive standard 1: Clarification of values.
      1. Theorists acknowledge their own values.
      2. They seek to unmask the ideology behind messages.
      3. Of course, not all interpretive scholars occupy the same moral ground, but there are core values most of them share.
      4. Many theorists value individual liberty and equality. Krippendorff's Ethical Imperative argues that we should grant others that occur in our construction the same autonomy we practice constructing them.
      5. Many interpretive scholars value equality as highly as they do freedom.
      6. Critical theorists, in particular, insist that scholars can no longer remain ethically detached from the people they are studying, or from the political and economic implications of their work
    2. Interpretive standard 2: New understanding of people.
      1. Interpretive scholarship is good when it offers fresh insight into the human condition.
      2. Rhetorical critics, ethnographers, and other humanistic researchers seek to gain new understanding by analyzing the activity that they regard as uniquely human—symbolic interaction.
      3. Whereas science wants objective explanation, humanism desires subjective understanding.
      4. Klaus Krippendorff's Self-Referential Imperative states that, as theorists, we are both the cause and the consequence of what we observe.
    3. Interpretive standard 3: Aesthetic appeal.
      1. A theory's form can be as captivating as its content.
      2. Although the elegance of a theory is in the eye of the beholder, clarity and artistry seem to be the two qualities needed to satisfy this aesthetic requirement.
    4. Interpretive standard 4: A community of agreement. A theory must have widespread scrutiny and usage.
      1. We can identify a good interpretive theory by the amount of support it generates within a community of scholars who are interested and knowledgeable about the same type of communication.
      2. Interpretation of meaning is subjective, but whether the interpreter’s case is reasonable or totally off the wall is ultimately decided by others in the field.
    5. Interpretive standard 5: Reform of society.
      1. They want to expose and publicly resist the ideology that permeates the accepted wisdom of a culture.
      2. Theory challenges cultural assumptions.
      3. The aim of critical scholarship is to unmask communication practices that create or perpetuate power imbalances in an attempt to stimulate change.
      4. To the extent that the theory stimulates students to rethink, respond, and react to this “free-market” process, it is a good interpretive theory.
    6. Interpretive standard 6: Qualitative research
      1. While scientists use numbers to support their theories, interpretive scholars use words.
      2. Textual analysis and ethnography are the two methods most often used to study how humans use signs and symbols to create and infer meaning.
      3. Textual analysis describes and interprets the characteristics of messages.
      4. Through ethnography, participant-observers experience a culture's web of meaning.
  4. Contested turf and common ground among theorists.
    1. Although the differences that separate objective and interpretive theorists are meaningful, they can friendly with each other across their lines of difference.
      1. It requires mutual respect for each other’s interest and recognition of their intellect.
      2. It requires a mutual appreciation that scientific theorists are comparing multiple messages or groups while interpretive theorists are analyzing a single message or group.
      3. The two sets of six criteria are not as different as they might seem.
        1. Both prediction and value clarification look to the future.
        2. An explanation can further understanding of motive.
        3. Simplicity has aesthetic appeal.
        4. Hypothesis testing is a way of achieving a community of agreement.
        5. Theories that reform are practical.
        6. Qualitative and quantitative research both reflect a commitment to learning more about communication.
    2. It is important for the two communities to at least be familiar with the other’s work.
    3. Although all theories featured in this book have merit, they also have weaknesses elucidated by the standards set forth in this chapter.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



The screen on this device is not wide enough to display Theory Resources. Try rotating the device to landscape orientation to see if more options become available.
Resources available to all users:

  • Theory Overview—abstract of each chapter
  • Self-Help Quizzes—for student preparation
  • Chapter Outlines
  • Key Names—important names and terms in each chapter
  • Conversation Videos—interviews with theorists
  • Application Logs—student application of theories
  • Essay Questions—for student prepatation
  • Suggested Movie Clips—tie-in movie scenese to theories
  • Links—web resources related to each chapter
  • Primary Sources—for each theory with full chapter coverage
  • Further Resources—bibliographic and other suggestions
  • Changes—for each theory, since the previous edition
  • Theory Archive—PDF copies from the last edition in which a theory appeared

Resources available only to registered instructors who are logged in:

  • Discussion Suggestions
  • Exercises & Activities
  • PowerPoint® presentations you can use
  • Short Answer Quizzes—suggested questions and answers
  • Compare Texts—comparison of theories covered in A First Look and ten other textbooks

Information for Instructors. Read more


 

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