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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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13 Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models


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Chapter 13

Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models

A simple fact (but complex topic) is that human communication behavior occurs within some social situation or context. Moreover, if we exclude talking to oneself, communication behavior is always directed at one or more other people. Perhaps the exchange of behavior with another is synchronous in time (interpersonal interaction, phone call, work group meeting), or perhaps it is asynchronous (e-mail, voice mail, text message etc.). It matters not. When communication behavior occurs, it is always nested within some larger structure: a dyad, a small group, a family, a classroom, a company, and the list could go on.

Why is this important, and why should we pay attention to it? The importance of this realization lies in the fact the communication behaviors that occur within this larger structure are likely to be different than behaviors that occur in other similar such structures. Different families have different ways of interacting, as do different marital dyads, classrooms, and companies. We intuitively recognize that these differences exist, but we don’t always pay attention to them in the analysis of data.

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