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A Study of New Communication Technologies and Civic Engagement : A Time to Reconceptualize the Research Constructs?
Unformatted Document Text:  13 would be a two-way, discriminate real-time audio medium with 3 kHz of bandwidth. It should be noted that the above dimensions are basic, and that further dimensions can be added to the model (e.g. fidelity, even though this dimension is relatively easily defined in terms of the channel capacity). Each of the above dimensions (interactivity, directionality, mode and capacity) raises a different set of issues for communication researchers and it makes possible comparisons across different media technologies and/or web applications. In addition to the above dimensions that mainly deal with technological aspects of any communication media technology, we also need to look into content and uses of each of the media technologies. Social scientists have developed sound techniques for doing content analysis, but they also need to investigate the interaction between content and some of the above dimensions, especially mode and latency. Furthermore, researchers should not exclusively rely on survey data in their studies, because of frequently unreliable self-reported measures as well as problems in establishing causal relationships. Future studies should try to employ experimental and panel designs and also avoid focusing solely on self-reported measures and attempt record actual behavior on the Web instead. Software applications for this kind of behavioral measurement are readily available, but some issues regarding their intrusiveness and possible biases arising from such procedures would probably remain. Given all that, methods triangulation is a must, and researchers should try incorporating different experimental, survey, and observational techniques to obtain quantitative data and combine that with in-depth interviews that would shed more light on “uses-and-

Authors: Skoric, Marko.
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13
would be a two-way, discriminate real-time audio medium with 3 kHz of bandwidth. It
should be noted that the above dimensions are basic, and that further dimensions can be
added to the model (e.g. fidelity, even though this dimension is relatively easily defined
in terms of the channel capacity). Each of the above dimensions (interactivity,
directionality, mode and capacity) raises a different set of issues for communication
researchers and it makes possible comparisons across different media technologies and/or
web applications.
In addition to the above dimensions that mainly deal with technological aspects of
any communication media technology, we also need to look into content and uses of each
of the media technologies. Social scientists have developed sound techniques for doing
content analysis, but they also need to investigate the interaction between content and
some of the above dimensions, especially mode and latency.
Furthermore, researchers should not exclusively rely on survey data in their
studies, because of frequently unreliable self-reported measures as well as problems in
establishing causal relationships. Future studies should try to employ experimental and
panel designs and also avoid focusing solely on self-reported measures and attempt
record actual behavior on the Web instead. Software applications for this kind of
behavioral measurement are readily available, but some issues regarding their
intrusiveness and possible biases arising from such procedures would probably remain.
Given all that, methods triangulation is a must, and researchers should try incorporating
different experimental, survey, and observational techniques to obtain quantitative data
and combine that with in-depth interviews that would shed more light on “uses-and-


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