Characterized by its multi-level interdisciplinary character, communication has become a variable field -- one in which the level of analysis varies. This has had important ramifications for the study of communication because, to some extent, the questions one asks are determined by the methods one has available to answer them. As a result, communication research is characterized by the plethora of both qualitative and quantitative approaches used by its practitioners. These include survey and experimental methods, and content, historical, and rhetorical analyses.
A variety of tools has been developed in cognitive psychology and psychophysiology which attempts to measure "thinking" without asking people how they do it. This book is devoted to exploring how these methods might be used to further knowledge about the process of communication. The methods chosen have all been used extensively in cognitive and experimental psychology. Each chapter in this book is designed to describe the history of the method being introduced, the theory behind it, how to go about using it, and how it has already been used to study some area of communication. The methods introduced here vary widely in terms of the amount of equipment and training needed to use them. Some require only theoretical knowledge and a paper and pencil; others require more elaborate hardware and software for implementation. These methods also vary widely in terms of what sorts of variables they can be used to measure. Some of them adapt quite readily to traditional communication variables like persuasion, attitude change, and knowledge; others are more applicable to process type variables such as attention, arousal, involvement, encoding, and retrieval.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. M.A. Shapiro, Think-Aloud and Thought-List Procedures in Investigating Mental Processes. F. Biocca, P. David, M. West, Continuous Response Measurement (CRM): A Computerized Tool for Research on the Cognitive Processing of Communication Messages. E. Thorson, Using Eyes on Screen as a Measure of Attention to Television. M.D. Basil, Secondary Reaction-Time Measures. A. Lang, What Can the Heart Tell Us About Thinking? R. Hopkins, J.E. Fletcher, Electrodermal Measurement: Particularly Effective for Forecasting Message Influence on Sales Appeal. M.A. Shapiro, Signal Detection Measures of Recognition Memory. G.T. Cameron, D.A. Frieske, The Time Needed to Answer: Measurement of Memory Response Latency. B. Reeves, S. Geiger, Designing Experiments That Assess Psychological Responses to Media Messages. J.H. Watt, Detection and Modeling of Time-Sequenced Processes. E.P. Lorch, Measuring Children's Cognitive Processing of Television. A. Lang, Comments on Setting up a Laboratory.
"...each chapter does an exceptional job of explaining the usefulness of the technique it presents....many also provide very rich and informative theoretical and historical contexts for the measurement techniques and procedures under consideration....will likely be a very useful and appropriate reader for many graduate courses in quantitative research methods....I look forward to reading the research that results from scholars who are armed with the information presented in this volume..."
—Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media
"Whether the reader is interested in qualitative or quantitative research or is exploring practical or theoretical research questions, this book will prove helpful. In addition to being a good resource for scholars, it might be a useful supplementary text for a graduate research methods course."
—Public Relations Review