Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research

Article excerpt

* Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research. Lawrence R. Frey and Kenneth N. Cissna, eds. New York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 670 pp. $120 pbk.

I don't understand what the intended market for this book is. The word "handbook" in the title suggests it might be used in an introductory graduate research methods course. A handbook usually tells you how to do something. This book doesn't.

The editors are, respectively, professors of communication at the universities of Colorado and South Florida. They both are winners of the Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship presented by the National Communication Association. They have collected thirty-five co-authors of the twenty-four chapters that make up this "handbook," mostly faculty members in communication or communication studies programs.

The handbook offers four pages on content analysis, three pages on survey research and three pages on experimental research. It offers a definition of content analysis attributed to K. A. Neuendorf in a 2002 book, a definition almost identical with Berelson's of fifty years earlier. True, Berelson is referenced, but I don't know why his work wasn't quoted.

Sampling in content analysis is not discussed in specific terms. The only mention of computerized content analysis is a statement that computerized coding enables you to code a lot of material. Likewise, the book doesn't deal with sampling in surveys. Neither is interviewing, nor the advantages and disadvantages of mail surveys, Internet surveys, telephone surveys, and personal interview surveys.

The material on experimental research is stronger, with good points on randomization and controls. Unfortunately, it does not go beyond this to deal with details of experimental design. Oddly enough, experimental research is not mentioned in the index.

There is one page on agenda setting, consisting largely of references and lacking an overview or statement of where we are in agenda setting. The handbook provides two references to articles from this journal; I found nineteen articles on agenda setting in the JMCQ indexes for 19841993 and 1994-2003. …