An Integrated Approach to Communication Theory and Research

By Michael B. Salwen; Don W. Stacks | Go to book overview

Preface

THE INTEGRATIVE PROCESS

This volume focuses on integrating theory and research in communication study. The terms "theory" and "research" are often linked together, like bread and butter, bagel and cream cheese, or speech communication and mass communication. It is stating the obvious to say that theory and research should be similarly linked together. Despite the obviousness of this statement, it comments on our field that a volume such as this that links communication theory and research in the same chapters is needed.

Our purpose in editing this volume is to provide both seasoned scholars and beginning students unfamiliar with the state of theory and research in various areas of communication study to provide with a taste, a sampler if you will, of current theory and research in communication. To explicate the integration process, the chapter contributors, experts in their respective areas, offer sample studies in the form of hypothetical studies, published studies, or unpublished research, showing how theory and research are integrated in their particular areas.

The idea for this book grew out of a series of informal discussions between the coeditors by the water cooler, in the photocopy room, in the hallway, by the coffee machine, and outside faculty mailboxes. In these discussions, we complained about the difficulty of teaching communication students communication theory and research. As with many programs, theory and research are taught in the University of Miami's School of Communication as separate courses. This clean curricular separation, however, bears no resemblance to how the courses are actually taught. Faculty who teach communication theory often digress into a discussion on research methods to make sense of exemplar studies. This is no small matter; sometimes an entire theory class is devoted to discussions of research methods. Likewise, faculty who teach research methods have--out of necessity--had to bring discussion of theory into their courses. It was clear that the teachers were not to blame for this situation; the curriculum was at fault. In attempting to alleviate the problem of linking theory and research in communication study, we were astounded to find that no single volume attacked the

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