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Observing «and» Analyzing Communication Behavior

John A. Courtright

This is a book about communication behavior: how we conceptualize it, observe it, measure it, and analyze it.
The 1970s and 1980s were times when communication behavior was a primary interest of many communication scholars. The aim of this book is to reignite some interest in and passion about how human communication behavior should be studied. It presents the best advice, techniques, cautions, and controversies from the 1970s and 1980s and then updates them. Several chapters also introduce statistical methods and procedures to allow readers to analyze behavioral data.
This book is a useful resource for communication scholars and graduate students to guide their study of communication behavior.
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6 Reliability of Unitizing and Categorizing


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Chapter 6

Reliability of Unitizing and Categorizing

The last several chapters have presented numerous practical and conceptual suggestions for implementing “best practices” in obtaining data from the observation of communication behavior. This chapter (and the next) will present various alternative methods for evaluating the quality of observational data obtained using the unitizing and categorizing approach, i.e., their reliability. To declare that the literature on the topic of reliability is voluminous is close to understatement.

The literature for every scientific or social scientific discipline contains multiple articles on virtually every facet of reliability As a result, the current chapters will of necessity engage in a good deal of synthesis from numerous sources. References, however, will be frequent, and works that are particularly respected will be pointed out so that interested readers can interact with the original sources.

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