Computer Mediated Communication Essay

10664 Words Apr 1st, 2013 43 Pages
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Units of Analysis for Internet Communication

John December
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Table of Contents

Introduction Defining Internet-based, Computer-mediated Communication Approaches to Defining Communication Figure 1. Basic operation of the Internet's TCP/ IP switching protocols Figure 2. The client-server data communications model Integration Examples of Internet Communication Units of Analysis for Internet-based Communication The Server-Client-Content Triad Contextualizing Media Units of Analysis Figure 3. Symbols for graphic representation of media classes and objects
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Shank (1993) examined electronic mailing lists involving a large number of people, many of whom are unknown to each other, on the Internet or other networks. Shank argued that communication in these on-line discussion lists is neither oral nor written, but semiotic. Can the Murray and Shank results be compared? Each researcher looked at different uses of computer-mediated communication, and thus used different units of analysis for the communication. Without careful attention to the definition of the units of analysis researchers used, it is difficult to integrate the results of these studies.

Over the decades, research in computer-mediated communication has also explored myriad on-line experiences, focusing on human and social characteristics, media, and language and rhetorical content. However, the research has not led to much successful theoretical integration or cross-study comparisons. Indeed, some research has directly contradicted previous work (Lea, 1992). Researchers have articulated the units of analysis in studies on a case-by case basis. This diversity in terminology has been necessary because of the variety of network settings and communication

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