A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

15

The complementarity of qualitativeand quantitative methodologies in media and communication research

Klaus Bruhn Jensen
• an overview of the two main paradigms which inform media and communication research
• a presentation of six levels of analysis that are shared across different research traditions
• a comparison and exemplification of three forms of inference from the philosophy of science
• a reassessment of reliability, validity, generalization, and probability in empirical media studies
• a discussion of realism as a framework for convergence.

INTRODUCTION

The legacy for media and communication research from a century of sometimes intense conflict within the general theory of science has been a set of conceptual dichotomies that used to divide the field into two main camps with some additional internal fronts and alliances. Even while studies of scientific practice have shown that the reality of laboratories and libraries may rarely conform to textbook models (e.g., Hacking 1983; Latour 1987), these conceptions have had real and largely counterproductive consequences for how different research traditions have understood both themselves and their ‘others.’ The perception of fundamental difference has generated various kinds of response - from ‘imperialism, ’

seeking to subordinate or delegitimate other approaches, to ‘apartheid, ’ protecting one’s own worldview through insulation from those of others (see Jensen 1995:141-145). This chapter presents an overview of the current, ongoing convergence in the practice of research, and provides examples of the complementarity of different types of empirical media studies.

neither ‘imperialism’ nor ‘apartheid’

Departing from the received conceptual dichotomies regarding qualitative and quantitative research, the chapter first takes the modest position that the two mainstreams have different strengths, and might proceed in parallel. To begin a more detailed comparison, the chapter distinguishes several forms and levels of ‘analysis, ’ which also involve different notions of ‘method’ and ‘methodology.’ Next, the different types of analysis are related to the two classic forms of inference - induction and deduction - to which is added a third - abduction. The presence of each in qualitative as well as quantitative media studies is exemplified, and their respective requirements lead into a reconsideration of criteria of validity, reliability, and other key concepts in empirical work. These various comparisons suggest the promise of a realist model of science, which may accommodate diverse research traditions. Finally, the chapter presents three concrete ways of combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies with a view to further research.

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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