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Theories of Mass Communication

  • Date Submitted: 07/12/2012 05:44 AM
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LECTURE 1
INTRODUCTION

What is theory?

Theory is a conceptual representation or explanation of phenomenon. Kurt Lewin defines theory as a way of explaining the ordering and occurrence of various events.   It can also be defined as a set of systematic generalizations based on scientific observation and leading to further empirical observation. (Severin and Tankard (Jnr.) 1982).

Characteristics of Theory

These are characteristics of theory and they could also be seen as criteria for a good theory.
  A) Scientific Criteria
        1) Intellectual Rigour: - Every theory is a product of careful analysis and giving great attention to its details.   This process ensures that they are testable, verifiable or systematic.
        2) Dynamism: - Theories are subject to change; they are seldom constant because they can be modified or completely repudiated when new facts emerge.
        3) Predictive power:   Theories enable us to make predictions but those predictions are rarely ever realized with exactitude.   Theory is step behind reality.
        4) Economy: A good theory explains many cases with a few statements and with few     exceptions, if any.
        5) Explanatory power: ability of a theory to be used to explain a puzzling phenomenon
        6) Internal Consistency: There should be no contradiction in the process.
        7) Heuristic Potential: Should help to see a new thing; or should be useful for solving problems.
        8) Practical Utility
  B) Aesthetic/Humanistic Criteria
1) Fresh (New) understanding of the human condition.
        2) Societal value- capacity to stimulate or generate change/clarification of values.
        3) Aesthetic appeal- capacity to capture our interest/imagination or pique our curiosity.
        4) Community agreement- acceptance and support by a “community” of (like-minded) scholars.
        5) Capacity for social reforms.

Why Studying Theories?

          Theories help to manage realities. Kurt Lewin...

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