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:::: Paradigms and Communication Theory ::::



Positivist Paradigm

Interpretative Paradigm

Critical Paradigm


Positivist Paradigm

Logical Positivism represents one particular way of knowing. It asserts we gather information through our senses or we can discover it though some type of logical derivation or mathematical modeling. A crucial premise of positivism is that there are certain regularities in nature which can be observed and/or discovered. These regularities are called “laws”. Laws are universal. Another crucial concept is “causality”: people communicate the way they do because some prior condition caused them to respond to a message in certain ways; researchers using this paradigm review the preceding conditions of communication to know cause and effect of human communication. They believe they can explain our environment, predict findings and eventually, control our environment. They also believe that findings could be applied to anyone –generalization-- because laws transcend time and space. (Based on Infante, D., Rancer, A., & Womack, D. (2003). Building Communication Theory. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press)

Scientists using this paradigm believe reality is more structured; they think it has an empirical character which allows them to observe facts; they believe it is objective.

To see a model of the positivist paradigm, click here.



Created by Danna Carballo, Fall 2003

New Media and New Markets @ Suffolk University