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Communication Begins with Children

A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook


Edited By Thomas J. Socha and Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

Communication Begins with Children: A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook seeks to transform the field of communication, arguing that the field must stop neglecting and segregating children and instead adopt an age-inclusive lifespan approach that fully includes and fully considers children in all communication theorizing, research, and education from infancy and throughout the human lifespan. One-size-fits-all, adult-centric communication theorizing, researching, and educating is inadequate and harms the communication field’s potential as a social force for positive change for all communicators. The volume contains four sections (Foundations, Relational Communication Development, Digital Communication Development, and Navigating Developmental Communication Challenges) that showcase state-of-the-art chapters about the history of children’s relational and digital communication studies, methods used to study children’s communication, media literacy development, communication and children’s health, and much more. A must read for all communication researchers, educators, and students and an important addition to advanced and graduate level human and digital communication courses.

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3. Studying Communication during the Early Lifespan: Rationale, Approaches, and Methods: THOMAS J. SOCHA


Rationale, Approaches, and Methods


Old Dominion University

Undergraduate and graduate courses in research methods are commonplace in today’s communication curricula. For undergraduates majoring in communication it is often a single course (sometimes two) that provides students with foundational instruction in quantitative and qualitative social scientific methods as well as critical-rhetorical methods. For those students pursuing MA and Ph.D. degrees in communication, the research methods bar is naturally set higher and includes multiple quantitative, qualitative, and critical-rhetorical methods courses offered at advanced levels. Graduate courses in quantitative communication methods are often accompanied by a series of courses in advanced statistics. However, unfortunately, as discussed previously in Chapters 1 and 2, like all undergraduate and graduate courses in communication, courses in communication research methods are also adult-centric. That is, undergraduate and graduate courses in communication research methods as well as accompanying textbooks focus exclusively on how to study 18- to 26-year-old+ communicators. Undergraduates and graduates taking these courses receive little to no instruction in how to study communicators under age 18 especially those in early and middle childhood, or for that matter adult communicators in later life (see Harwood, 2007). Although a few scholars in the field of communication have recognized and acted on the need that methods courses become lifespan-inclusive (e.g., see Pitts & Hummert, 2014), most continue to focus on adults and exclude children. And, as discussed previously, this situation stands in stark contrast to fields like psychology and...

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