The Research Interests of DavisFoulger:
A note for those who are unfamiliar with Wiki Collaborative Composition: this is an active page which changes regularly as my specific research agenda changes. It uses the conventions of wiki collaborative composition, where two words that are run together represent a referencable and editable (via a web browesr) web page, and is frequently very summary in its presentation (e.g. there are many places, especially toward the bottom of the document, where this is nothing but a list of pages I and others are making use of in the course of our research). A more cleanly packaged statement of my research program can be viewed at http://evolutionarymedia.com/davis/vita/ResearchProgram.htm
My research program seeks to uncover and explicate, through a combination of media theory, research on computer media, and examination of ecologies of media, AricherNotionOfMedia in which:
- there are hundreds of distinct media (TheVarietyOfMedia) which can be described in differentiated using a wide variety of MediaCharacteristics. I am currently writing a book tentatively entitled Characteristics of Media: the message beneath which explores over 150 media using over 200 characteristics of media. The outline, principle analysis, and several chapters of this book are complete. Scarecrow Press has accepted it for publication, but we have not agreed on contractual terms.
- people invent and evolve (MediaInventionAndEvolution) media (including both proximate and mass media) in five SpheresOfInvention. An early version of this concept was presented in the early chapters of, my Ph.D. dissertation (http://evolutionarymedia.com/mediumAsProcess/). A more fully developed description of this perspective, The Invention and Evolution of Media, was presented at NCA in 2002. It can be found at http://evolutionarymedia.com/papers/HammerAsMedium.htm. A more detailed exploration of this subject matter is planned as a book (already in outline with some chapters completed). These five spheres of invention organize into a CycleOfMedia and a CycleOfGenre (see my MEA best paper Media as an Ecology of Genre: http://evolutionarymedia.com/papers/mediumAsEcologyOfGenre.htm), and include:
- Mediators: SystemsTheory, ?InformationTheory, ModelsOfTheCommunicationProcess, OnLinearityInMedia, TheDrakeEquation
- Characteristics: CharacteristicsOfMedia, RolesInMedia, TimeAndMedia, and InterchangabilityOfMedia.
- Uses: GenreTheory, ProductionOrientedTheory, FunctionsOfCommunication, UsesAndGratifications, ?TheoriesOfMessageProduction, ?TheoriesOfMessageReception, ?RelationshipFormationAndMaintenence, ?ManagementOfFaceAndBoundaries, ?ConflictManagement
- Effects: GenreTheory, ?MediumTheory, ?AttributionTheory, ?CriticalTheories, IdeologicalTheory, ?AudienceOrientedTheory
- Practices: GenreTheory, SemioticTheory, NarrativeTheory, ?CulturalTheories, ?MessageProductionPractice, ?InterpretivePractice, ?BestPractices, ?NegotiationOfRules, RulesAndEnforcement, BoundariesInEnforcement, ?ForcedChoiceDecisions, the relationship of LawsRulesPrecedentsAndEthics
- A CycleOfMedia in which all five spheres participate as media are invented and structurated.
- A CycleOfGenre in which Uses, Effects, and Practices participate
- this process of media invention and evolution can be readily observed among newly-evolving computer-mediated human communication systems (ComputerMedia NonVerbalComputerMedia), which occupy a middle ground on several of the dimensions that differentiate proximate media from mass media. This is an area of exploration right now. Only one paper to date, Roles in Media at this years NCA Summer Conference, has referenced the theme, and it focused on how aggregated media support community formation and maintenance. More papers on this topic are planned.
- media are used, in combination, to create, support, and maintain various social structures and institutions, including relationships (InterpersonalMediaEcologies), organizations (OrganizationalMediaEcologies), and communities (CommunityMediaEcologies; CommunicationAndCommunity). Organizations which, twenty years ago, were based entirely on face to face interaction, group meetings, hard copy memos, proposals, reports, the telephone, and propinquitous work teams have in some cases shifted entirely to using e-mail, computer conferences, teleconferences, overnight delivery, and distributed work teams. Relational media use is changing as well, and the culture of face-to-face interaction, the telephone, and serial interactions appears to be shifting to a more complex world of instant messenger, telephones, e-mail, face-to-face interaction, and relational multitasking via parallel media use. I recently submitted the first of several papers in this area, Relationship Equals Sum Media Use: Exploring relationships as media ecologies to Eastern Communication Association http://davis.foulger.info/papers/RelationshipEqualsSumMedia.htm). XequalsSumMedia provides an entry point for exploring these and related subject matters.
- unequal access to media (e.g. The DigitalDivide (TheDigitalDivide as both CliffAndContinuum)), while historically inevitable (TheHistoryOfMedia) is not inevitable.
My ResearchInterests have historically been more varied than this. They have included genre, persuasion and attitude change, social movements, audience analysis, pop culture, CommunicationNetworkAnalysis (of organizations, user interface design, communicating autonomous agents, and computer language design.
- The ways in which people negotiate the rules of media. I discovered fractally complex (apparently infinitely regressive and self-similar) boundaries in the way rules and enforcement were enacted during the development of IBM?s computer conferencing infrastructure, with rule and enforcement complexity emerging in self-similar ways over time. Enactments of self-similar complexity can be observed in the evolution of other computer media, including Netnews and e-mail etiquette. Indeed, this notion appears to apply more generally to ethical decision-making, and I have recently written papers on the subject.
While my current work has a decidedly theoretical orientation, it is strongly grounded in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I am a strong believer in having a diverse methodological toolbox and doing "what works" (following Feyeraband) methodologically. Characteristics of Media is heavily oriented around the methods of numerical taxonomy, and makes use of factor analysis, cluster analysis, and related statistical methods. One of my digital divide papers tests a path model using multiple regression against archival data gathered from multiple sources. My recent Time in Interpersonal Media presentation used conversation analysis to look at Instant Messenger and Internet collaborative composition. My Ph.D. dissertation and other papers have made heavy use of participant observation, ContentAnalysis, surveys, archival data, experiment and a range of other methods. I am certainly well equipped to teach courses in quantitative and qualitative methodology, as well as communication theory, should the need arise.
Other more randomly selected research directions
and more, including a variety of InterestingOddities.
StatisticalMethods and DataMining
A ReferenceList of stuff read.
Essays: CommunicationsMeritBadge BoyScountsAnOathBetrayed, BoyScoutsAnOathBetrayed, BoyScoutsAndTheRightOfExclusion, BoyScoutsAndConflictingPrinciples
Note from MattTaylor
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