ERIC Number: ED202058
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Prospects for Significant Theoretical Advances in Communication: The Role of the Interesting Question.
Gouran, Dennis S.
This paper discusses ways in which the field of speech communication can be advanced. The first half of the paper characterizes the objectivist and subjectivist views of how knowledge is acquired and the forms of inquiry to which these views have led. The remainder of the paper demonstrates the role that the "interesting question" (one for which the answer promises to have significant impact on understanding how particular sets of phenomena are related) has played in contributing to advances in knowledge. Some cases are examined in which the role of the interesting question has led to important and useful discoveries. The cases examined include (1) John Snow's solution to the cholera problem in nineteenth century England, (2) the discovery of penicillin, (3) the development of the thoery of atomic structure in chemistry, (4) Claude Bernard's discovery that the body produces its own sugar, and (5) Charles Darwin's work on evolution. Based on these observations, the conclusion is drawn that speech communication scholars should continue to direct their energies toward discovery rather than justification. (RL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Chicago, IL, April 9-11, 1981).