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Approaches to communication the idea of theory.

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  • 1. The Idea of Theory in 12/8/2012Communicationadapted from Littlejohn, S. W. and Foss, K.A. (2005). Theories of HumanCommunication. 8th edition. Belmont, CA.: Thomson Wadsworth. 1
  • 2. 12/8/2012Communication is central tohuman life. It is pervasive,important and complex. 2
  • 3. The Idea of Theory• Theories are used in every day living.• Theories are also the academic foundation of every discipline 12/8/2012 or field.• Theories allow scholars and students to transform information to knowledge.• Theories do not just help us grow knowledge, they also help us communicate knowledge. 3
  • 4. The Idea of Theory • Theories also provide a way to challenge existing cultural life and to generate new ways of living. 12/8/2012 • What is theory?It is any organized set of concepts, explanations and principlesof some aspect of human experience. 4
  • 5. The Idea of Theory• All theories are abstractions.• Theories are also human constructions. 12/8/2012• Theories are less a record of reality than a record of scholar’s conceptualizations about that reality. –Abraham Kaplan. 5
  • 6. The Idea of TheoryBasic Elements of Theory1. Philosophical assumptions2. Concepts 12/8/20123. Explanations4. Principles 6
  • 7. The Idea of Theory 12/8/2012 Nomothetic Practical Theory Theory 7
  • 8. The Idea of TheoryEvaluating Communication Theory• Theoretical Scope• Appropriateness 12/8/2012• Heuristic Value• Validity• Parsimony• Openness 8
  • 9. The Academic Study ofCommunication• Communication has been studied since antiquity but it has assumed immense importance in academics in recent times. 12/8/2012• In recent years many scholars have come to recognize that communication is central to human experience and have emphasized it in academic research.• Thus a new field of communication seemed to have emerged and is growing strong in the universities. 9
  • 10. The Academic Study ofCommunication• Communication is so broad a field that it can not be confined within any single paradigm, nor any single discipline. 12/8/2012• It is a multi-disciplinary field. 10
  • 11. Introducing CommunicationTheory• A theory is not just an explanation; it is a way of packaging reality, a way of understanding it. 12/8/2012• We can’t view reality purely; instead, we use a set of concepts and symbols to define what we see, and our theories provide the lenses with which we observe and experience the world. 11
  • 12. Introducing CommunicationTheory • We need to understand two things about theory:1. Theory is the product of human judgment and discussion. 12/8/20122. Different people prefer different ways of knowing. 12
  • 13. Developing Theories• First Stage: asking questions. 12/8/2012• Second Stage: observation.• Third Stage: constructing answers.• Each stage affects and is affected by the others. 13
  • 14. The stages of inquiry 12/8/2012 Questions Observation Theory 14
  • 15. Types of scholarship 12/8/2012 Standardization Creative Observation HumanitiesSciences Social Sciences Replication Interpretation 15
  • 16. Communication Theory as a Field• Robert Craig in a landmark article proposes a vision for communication theory that takes a huge step toward unifying 12/8/2012 our otherwise disparate field.• Craig argues that the field will never be united by a single theory or group of theories.• Thus, the field would always have multiplicity of approaches 16
  • 17. Communication Theory as a Field• Craig argues that scholars should not seek a standard model that applies universally to any communication situation, as 12/8/2012 this would lead to a “dead field”.• Instead, communication scholars should strive to manage the tensions of diverse theories of the field through dialogue and a common understanding of similarities and differences among theories. 17
  • 18. Communication Theory as a Field• Rather than viewing a theory as an explanation of communication process, Craig argues that, it should be seen 12/8/2012 as a statement or argument in favour of a particular approach to the study of the field.• In other words communication theories are a form of discourse among diverse approaches of study. 18
  • 19. Communication Theory as a Field• Craig says that theories communicate about communication, meaning that ‘meta-discourse’ is taking place in the field. 12/8/2012• Different theories are different ways of “talking about” communication each one having its own powers and limitations. 19
  • 20. Communication Theory as a Field • Craig identifies seven traditional standpoints that enters the meta-discourse: 12/8/20121. Rhetorical2. Semiotic3. Phenomenological4. Cybernetic5. Socio-psychological6. Socio-cultural7. Critical 20
  • 21. Jimi Kayode 12/8/2012Adebola Adegunwa School ofCommunication,Lagos State University,Lagos, Nigeria. 21