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The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities

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Edited By Yong-Chan Kim, Matthew D. Matsaganis, Holley A. Wilkin and Joo-Young Jung

The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities addresses the questions of whether it (still) matters what neighborhood individuals live in and if it is still necessary and possible for city dwellers to build and maintain place-based communities.

The book’s contributors address how urban communities are formed, reformed, and transformed from a communication infrastructure theory perspective. Through the lens of this theory, communication is defined as a fundamental social process by which cities are sustained and changed over time. The chapters in this book elaborate the theoretical and methodological frameworks of the communication infrastructure theory approach; articulate theory-driven and multi-method frameworks for the study of the city; and speak to pressing, contemporary, research- and policy-related challenges (or questions).

The broad array of issues addressed within this volume is expected to draw the interest not only of communication researchers and professionals, but also of students, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from a variety of backgrounds and with an interest in different aspects of life in the city, including: public health, technology, civic engagement, and urban planning and design.

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Chapter Four: Designing Research to Diagnose and Transform Urban Community Communication Infrastructures (Matthew D. Matsaganis / Holley A. Wilkin)

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CHAPTER FOUR

Designing Research to Diagnose and Transform Urban Community Communication Infrastructures

MATTHEW D. MATSAGANIS

Associate Professor, Rutgers University

HOLLEY A. WILKIN

Associate Professor, Georgia State University



Cities are inherently complex ecosystems and everyday life in the city is marked by phenomena and is shaped by processes that unfold at multiple levels of analysis. To study such complex phenomena and processes, and to develop and test theories that account for them, it is most helpful, if not necessary, to rely on multi- and mixed-methods research designs (Benoit & Holbert, 2008; Creswell, Klassen, Plano Clark, & Smith, 2011; Matsaganis, 2016). Simply defined, multi-method studies employ more than one quantitative or qualitative method, whereas mixed-methods research relies on both quantitative and qualitative methods (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). Both robust multi- and mixed-methods research designs facilitate the analyses of data that lead to an understanding of how micro-level urban community actors (i.e., residents), meso-level (e.g., local organizational actors and institutions), and macro-level agents (e.g., mass media, state and federal level policymaking bodies) interact with each other to shape everyday life in the city, but also how the community context (e.g., features of the physical and built environment, socio-economic conditions in the community) influences and is influenced by the actions of community actors. These are all considerations ← 67 | 68 → that informed the research design used by the Metamorphosis Project research team in its original pursuit to...

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