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Qualitative Research

Your essay should explain how research is conducted through qualitative research (ethnography) for communication studies. Our textbook provides an entry point for understanding each of these research methods and should be used as a primary source in your essay. It can be supplemented with three additional sources that provide examples of research and establish individuals who are prominent scholars in Communication Studies. Three criteria that will be used to assess your paper are: Clearly describe the research method selected and the theories and assumptions that method draws from. Cite at least two examples of academic articles where the research method is utilized. Identify at least two scholars who have established their prominence in Communication Studies using the research method selected. Your paper should be typed and double-spaced in an 11-point Times font. The length expectation should be roughly 5-7 pages or approximately 2000 to 2800 words. You should have a clear thesis statement. Citation may be either APA or MLA format. Grammatical and spelling errors will lower your final essay grade. This is what my textbook says on qualitative research for communication Now that we have discussed the data that are being analyzed, we can examine various ways in which the data are gathered. Direct observation and participant observation, sometimes referred to as ethnographic research, involve observing communication and gathering information (data) about its use in natural settings. When conducting direct observation, researchers observe communicative activity by a particular group but do not engage in these interactions themselves. Among other ethnographic methodology, Yanrong Chang (2012) used direct observation to examine Chinese criminal courtroom communication. Participant observation requires researchers to interact with the group but do nothing that would alter what would have otherwise taken place. David (McMahan, 2011) used this method by working at a rural tavern to study the physical altercations that take place therein. Interviews Interviews are also frequently used when conducting interpretive research. Data collected through interviews result from asking participants questions and engaging in general conversation with them about a particular issue of communication. In a way, interviews can be a lot like questionnaires completed by participants. However, interviews allow researchers to ask follow-up questions and probe deeper into the information being provided by participants. Jimmie Manning and Andrea Lambert South (2018), for example, interviewed participants with at least two children and at least one sibling about family favoritism, and these scholars were able to follow up with specific questions that paid attention to particular answers. Textual Analysis Textual analysis involves the analysis of recorded communication, which could be visual, auditory, or both. Textual analysis conducted as part of interpretivist research frequently takes the form of conversation analysis or discourse analysis. In both of these approaches, verbal communication from an interaction is specifically analyzed, often by using a written transcript of the interaction. Stephanie Lenzen and colleagues (2018), for example, used conversation analysis to examine the ways in which nurses’ communication influences patient participation in treatment planning. Advantages Like the social scientific approach to the study of communication, the interpretivist approach has both advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of this approach is that it provides a deep understanding of communication that cannot be gained through other perspectives. Another advantage of the interpretive approach is that communication is more likely to be studied in a natural context. A laboratory experiment, for instance, makes it easier for researchers to control what happens, but it can never fully represent what happens naturally. What happens in a laboratory does not happen naturally, and vice versa. Finally, the interpretivist approach claims that scholars can never be truly objective. All observers have their own biases and interpretative styles. Even a social scientist is trained to observe and evaluate data in particular ways. Thus, interpretivism has the advantage of recognizing the influence of the observer on the results obtained, something the “scientist” typically overlooks, at least in the absence or presence of Schrödinger’s cat. Disadvantages There are also a number of disadvantages to the interpretivist approach and the methodology used in its study. Limited Scope of Understanding First, interpretivist work seems to commit to individual levels of analysis without the possibility of making any broader understandings of human communication. In other words, we learn a great deal about the communication of very specific people through interpretivist research. This knowledge increases our understanding of communication in a general sense and has value. However, it is not transferable to the study of other specific people, and it does not allow for a wide-ranging understanding of communication. Researcher Accuracy and Perspective Another issue with this approach involves believing the researcher. If people view things differently, who is to say that the researcher’s observations and conclusions are accurate? Another researcher might report something entirely different. Further, researchers using interpretivist methods may import their own values and understandings when studying the communication of others. Especially when conducting direct and participant observation, researchers are often outsiders, or not an actual member of the community they are studying. Accordingly, they are never able to fully understand the communication taking place from the perspective of the group being studied. Time-Consuming Compared with methods primarily used in social scientific research, the methods used when taking an interpretivist approach are very time-consuming. It takes a great deal of time and energy to conduct these studies, especially when it comes to collecting the data.

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