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An empirical study in the U & G tradition might typically involve audience members completing a questionnaire about why they watch a TV programme. Blumler & Katz (1974) argued that audience needs have social and psychological origins which generate certain expectations about the mass media, leading to differential patterns of media exposure which result in both the gratification of needs and in other (often unintended) consequences.
James Lull (1990: 35-46) offers a typology of the social uses of television based on ethnographic research. A major focus for research into why and how people watch TV has been the genre of soap opera.
We are guiding in Assignments and Handwritten AIOU Assignments of Classes Matric to Master Degree. Scientists, physical or social (however narrowly or broadly defined), deal in theory.“Theories are stories about how and why events occur….
Kenneth Bailey’s conception of theory accepts a wider array of ways to understand the social world: “Explanations and predictions of social phenomena … relating the subject of interest… to some other phenomena” (1982, p. Our definition, though, will be drawn from a synthesis of two even more generous views of theory.
When communication researchers first wanted to systematically study the social world, they turned to the physical sciences for their model. The goals of postpositivist theory are explanation, prediction, and control (and in this you can see the connection between this kind of social science and the physical sciences). Its ontology accepts that the world, even the social world, exists apart from our perceptions of it; human behavior is sufficiently predictable to be studied systematically. But many communication theorists do not want to explain, predict, and control social behavior. The ontology of hermeneutic theory says that there is no truly “real,” measurable social reality. There are still other scholars who do not want explanation, prediction, and control of the social world. Critical theory’s epistemology argues that knowledge is advanced only when it serves to free people and communities from the influence of those more powerful than themselves. A normative media theory explains how a media system should operate in order to conform to or realize a set of ideal social values.
Viewers may not know why they chose to watch what they did, or may not be able to explain fully. Scientific theories begin with the assumption that the universe, including the social universe created by acting human beings, reveals certain basic and fundamental properties and processes that explain the ebb and flow of events in specific processes” (Turner, 1998, p.
For example, researchers who want to explain the operation of political advertising, predict which commercials will be most effective, and control the voting behavior of targeted citizens would, of necessity, rely on postpositivist theory.
Instead, “people construct an image of reality based on their own preferences and prejudices and their interactions with others, and this is as true of scientists as it is of everyone else in the social world” (Schutt, 2009, p.
They see media as an essential tool employed by corporate elites to constrain how people view their social world and to limit their agency in it.

It may be applied to any form of communication but is most often applied to mass communication. As such, its ontology argues that what is known is situational (or, like interpretive theory, local).
Study of a media system or parts of a media system is undertaken in the explicit belief that there is an ideal mode of operation based in the values of the social system.
It presents the use of media in terms of the gratification of social or psychological needs of the individual (Blumler & Katz 1974). However, instrumental (goal-directed) accounts assume a rational choice of appropriate media for predetermined purposes. As a theoretical stance it foregrounds individual psychological and personality factors and backgrounds sociological interpretations.
It is this cautious reliance on the scientific method that defines postpositivism’s axiology— the objectivity inherent in the application of the scientific method keeps researchers’ and theorists’ values out of the search for knowledge (as much as is possible). This hermeneutic theory is the study of understanding, especially through the systematic interpretation of actions or texts. They start from the assumption that some aspects of the social world are deeply flawed and in need of transformation. According to critical theory, what is real, what is knowable, in the social world is the product of the interaction between structure (the social world’s rules, norms, and beliefs) and agency (how humans behave and interact in that world). In other words, what is real or knowable about a media system is real or knowable only for the specific social system in which that system exists. Theorists interested in the press’s role in a democracy would most likely employ normative theory, as would those examining the operation of the media in an Islamic republic or an authoritarian state. Postpositivist communication theory, then, is theory developed through a system of inquiry that resembles as much as possible the rules and practices of what we traditionally understand as science. Hermeneutics originally began as the study or interpretation of the Bible and other sacred works. As such, hermeneutic theory’s epistemology, how knowledge is advanced, relies on the subjective interaction between the observer (the researcher or theorist) and his or her community. Instead, its goal is to set an ideal standard against which the operation of a given media system can be judged. Its epistemology, how knowledge is developed and advanced, is based in comparative analysis—we can only judge (and therefore understand) the worth of a given media system in comparison to the ideal spoused by the particular social system in which it operates. Problems arise if media systems based on one normative theory are evaluated according to the norms or ideals of another normative theory. There is evidence that media use is often habitual, ritualistic and unselective (Barwise & Ehrenberg 1988). U & G theorists tend to exaggerate active and conscious choice, whereas media can be forced on some people rather than freely chosen.
This perspective tends to be associated with the use of interviews rather than questionnaires.

John Bowers and John Courtright offered a traditional scientific definition: “Theories … are sets of statements asserting relationships among classes of variables” (1984, p.
As it evolved over the last two centuries, it maintained its commitment to the examination of “objectifications of the mind” (Burrell and Morgan, 1979, p. Put another way, knowledge is local; that is, it is specific to the interaction of the knower and the known.
This goal is inherently political because it challenges existing ways of organizing the social world and the people and institutions that exercise power in it. But more positively, TV viewing can sometimes be seen as aesthetic experience in which intrinsic motivation is involved. Naturally, then, the axiology of hermeneutic theory embraces, rather than limits, the influence of researcher and theorist values. In contrast, people who reported having many acquaintances in their neighbourhood tended to see the quizzes as a basis for social interaction.
Its functionalist emphasis is politically conservative: if we insist that people will always find some gratifications from any use of media, we may adopt a complacently uncritical stance towards what the mass media currently offer. Personal and professional values, according to Katherine Miller, are a “lens through which social phenomena are observed” (2005, p. It assumes that by reorganizing society, we can give priority to the most important human values.
Just as the Bible was the “objectification” of early Christian culture, and those who wanted to understand that culture would study that text, most modern applications of hermeneutics are likewise focused on understanding the culture of the users of a specific text. A researcher interested in understanding teens’ interpretations of social networking websites like Facebook, or one who is curious about meaning-making that occurs in the exchange of information among teen fans of an online simulation game, would rely on hermeneutic theory. For example, social hermeneutics has as its goal the understanding of how those in an observed social situation interpret their own lot in that situation.
As ethnographer Michael Moerman explained, social hermeneutic theory tries to understand how events “in the alien world make sense to the aliens, how their way of life coheres and has meaning and value for the people who live it” (1992, p.
Different needs are associated with individual personalities, stages of maturation, backgrounds and social roles. Another branch of hermeneutics looks for hidden or deep meaning in people’s interpretation of different symbol systems—for example, in media texts. Judith van Evra argues that young children may be particularly likely to watch TV in search of information and hence more susceptible to influence (Evra 1990: 177, 179). As you might have guessed from these descriptions, hermeneutic theory is sometimes referred to as interpretive theory.

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mass communication theory scribd

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