Theoretical and Methodological Matters in Health Communication

Navigating Current and Future Directions

Authored by: Nancy Grant Harrington , Diane B. Francis , Aurora Occa

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter we cover theoretical and methodological issues that health communication researchers should understand and take into account as they navigate their research agendas. This chapter is organized into two sections. The first section of the chapter covers theory, metatheory, and paradigmatic perspectives; describes how communicative behavior can be conceptualized across interpersonal, mass communication, and masspersonal domains; and illustrates paradigmatic perspectives through a review of exemplar studies across these domains. The second section covers a series of methodological matters, including the complexities of intercultural health communication research, the need for research participant diversity and representation, and considerations for research design; it also argues for the importance of following research reporting standards. As communication scholars, the readers of this handbook are in the unique position to advance knowledge and understanding of the communicative behavior that shapes and gives substance to our social world. To the extent that readers have a solid understanding of these theoretical and methodological matters, they will be in an excellent position to do thoughtful, well-reasoned, and practical research that not only advances the discipline but also promotes effective practice, improves people’s health and well-being, and saves lives.

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