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Chapter 2:

Communication Research Problems and Hypotheses

The research quest depends on asking solid questions and advancing useful hypotheses. This chapter not only discusses such matters but dedicates itself to developing your skills in crafting problems and hypotheses.  In addition, distinguishing between independent and dependent variables is a major focus of attention.

An outline of Chapter 2
A study quiz on Chapter 2
STUDY1 (a codebook about a study in communication)
A set of study sheets on problems and hypotheses

 

Chapter Outline and Materials

            Outline       

              Concepts

I.  Qualities of Research
    Problem Statements
    A.  Useful Research
          Problem Statements
          1. Research Questions
              Must Be Within the
              Researcher's
              Capabilities
          2. Research Questions
              Must Be Narrow But
              Not Trivial
    B.  Criteria for Sound
          Problem Statements
          (Stated Unambiguously,
          Usually in Question Form;
          Include at Least Two
          Variables; Testable: Not
          Advance Value
          Judgments;  Clear
          Grammatical Sentences
     C.  Constructing Problem
           Statements
           (A Format)
problems: questions for which we expect to find answers through research

 

 

 

 

 

 

variable: a symbol to which numbers may be assigned
constant: a symbol to which only one number may be assigned (the opposite of a variable)

II.  Using Hypotheses

 

      A.  Using Hypotheses to
            Test Explanations
            --hypotheses allow the
              use of formal logic
              to test statements
           --if a hypothesis
             derived from a theory
             is rejected, then the
             theory is rejected
           --yet, one can never
             claim to "prove" a
             theory is true; instead
             hypotheses permit
             one to see if a theory
             survives an additional
             test
          --alternative theories
             may be eliminated by
             experiments that pit
             the predictions of one
             theory against those of
             another

hypothesis: an expectation about events based on generalizations of the assumed relationships between variables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crucial experiments: testing alternative theories by pitting predictions of one theory against those of another                           

       B.   A Note on Hypotheses
            in Qualitative Studies
           --hypotheses often take
             the form of working
             hypotheses

      C.   Requirements of
             Hypotheses (Must
             State Relationships
             Between Variables;
             Must Be Consistent
             With What is Known
             in the Literature; Must
             Be Testable; Must Be
             Clear, Grammatical,
             and Unambiguous,
             Usually in the Form
             of a Declarative
             Sentence)
       D.  Constructing Sound
             Hypotheses    

 


working hypotheses
: suggestions that might be used to probe the area of inquiry

 

       E.  Types of Hypotheses
             in Quantitative Studies
             (Material and Null
             Hypotheses)
nondirectional material hypotheses: hypotheses that state that there will be some kind of relationship between variables, but not the direction of the relationship
directional material hypotheses: hypotheses that state the form of differences predicted
null hypothesis: a hypothesis that states that there is no relationship between variables
III.  Identifying Variables in
       Hypotheses and Problems
      A.  Isolating Variables in
             Hypotheses
       B.  Independent Variables   
 


 

independent variables: variables that  predict outcomes (dependent variables) posited in hypotheses
moderator variables: variables that mediate the independent variable's prediction of the dependent variable

       C.  Dependent Variables dependent variables: variables whose values or activities are presumed to be conditioned upon the independent variable in the hypothesis