What is Theory?

Let’s think about this… I realize that as I get this blog off of the ground I may have missed one of the most important questions of all when it comes to Mass Communication theory. What exactly is it and what is it supposed to accomplish? As a basis for moving forward and creating a common ground from which we must all start, a foundation must be built before we can jump in to talking about the various theories and models Mass Comm scientists use. Let’s begin:

What is the goal of theory? Theory strives to formulate statements or propositions that will have some explanatory. This is our most basic definition and generalized way of looking at theory. Continue reading

Schema Theory – A Quick Background

Axelrod’s schema theory suggests that a message is sent and then received by the audience, the audience evaluates this message based on information currently available to the audience e.g. past experience, redundancy, and relationship to currently understood “truths”. This application of audience knowledge compares what the audience perceives to what the audience knows to be true of the message.

This theory is one of many that explains and helps us interpret messages sent by the media. The theory was originally applied to messages sent by news media but its application has been extended to cover various interpretations of messages which can extend so far as stereotype research as well as agenda setting.

Schemas are not necessarily misinterpretations of information but a tool we use to perceive the world and understand information. Continue reading