Beyond Agendas: New Directions in Communication Research

Beyond Agendas: New Directions in Communication Research

Beyond Agendas: New Directions in Communication Research

Beyond Agendas: New Directions in Communication Research

Synopsis

Foremost scholars explore new directions in communication research in the light of social, economic, and technological changes in recent years. They analyze differing perspectives historically, problems and opportunities in terms of information flows and filters, and new public policy and social issues and challenges. They raise major questions about future needs and trends. This interdisciplinary study delves into a number of basic concerns, such as how public agendas are formed, how shifting groups in society interpret messages differently, and how technology has changed profoundly the ways in which we communicate in the world today. This overview of the state of communication research is designed for scholars, professionals, and for student use in research methods courses.

Excerpt

In an age of information, disciplined intelligence about communication is more vital than ever before. In the United States, it would seem that those who can benefit from communication research are well positioned because of the rich range and texture of available research. But, wait--that is a cursory view which, when examined more carefully, is not quite the case. True, both the quantity and quality of media and communication research in the United States and a few other information societies is extraordinarily rich. But it is also fragmented and difficult to access, not to mention understand. Few organizations, let alone individuals, have as their mission the assessment, synthesis and examination of media research output, whether in the academy, industry or other settings. The result is an ever growing body of research, embracing many topics--from individual media and media use to arcane aspects of communicators and their missions.

Any serious mapping of the communication research enterprise not only presents a mind-boggling range of topics and concerns but also employs a multitude of research methods, yielding an output that is neither comparable in any sense nor particularly understandable. Social scientists and humanists meet on the field of communication research with different motivations, interests and values, not to mention that they have different methods of extracting information.

If this diverse and fragmented condition is the case on both the national and international scenes, how does it relate to those in the academy with similar interests and passions for knowing more about mass communication and its various subfields? Here, too, there is a lack of coherence and some potential . . .

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