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Dissertation Information for Leah Lievrouw

- Leah Lievrouw

- Ph.D.

- Communication

- University of Southern California (USA) (1986)

- None

- None

MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected


Abstract: A group of biomedical scientists specializing in lipid metabolism research was the subject of this case study of scientific communication. The theoretical concepts of the communication network (Rogers and Kincaid, 1981) and of communication as a constructive activity, or "sense-making" (Dervin, 1983; Delia et al., 1982), were used to generate a model of scientific communication networks as "interpretive environments," where scientists engage in different types of communication activities.

Several different research methods were used in a strategy of triangulation, to study the scientists' communication activities. The scientists were either surveyed by mail or personally interviewed to gather data about the frequency and channels of contact among the scientists, and qualitative data about their work activities and experiences. Their publications and curriculae vitae were also analyzed qualitatively.

The results show that the scientists in the study share many demographic and professional characteristics. They are somewhat geographically organized around institutions in San Francisco and Dallas (centers of the two theoretical approaches that currently dominate the literature). Network analysis of the sociometric data also reveals two subgroups of scientists within the group; however, subgroup members interact so frequently that they apparently share a single communication structure.

Two themes about the scientists' communication behavior emerged from qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts and survey responses. One theme is issue negotiation whereby scientists select, negotiate, and legitimize scientific problems and their solutions. The second theme is contingence: scientists anticipate, recognize, and take advantage of different resources or situations in order to advance their ideas.

The study has implications for communication research, especially for the emerging body of literature on the "information society" (Schement and Lievrouw, in press). The study also distinguishes between network analysis techniques and the network perspective of communication phenomena, which employs network analysis and other techniques. In addition, the study suggests that science policy makers should reconsider the relative roles of scientists' communication channels, especially the telephone and face-to-face contact at selected meetings.

MPACT Scores for Leah Lievrouw

A = 3
C = 10
A+C = 13
T = 4
G = 2
W = 3
TD = 3.5
TA = 1
calculated 2012-07-28 14:27:19

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Students under Leah Lievrouw

- Gerald Benoit - University of California, Los Angeles (1998)
- Janet Obedi Kaaya - University of California, Los Angeles (2006)
- Sharon E. Farb - University of California, Los Angeles (2006)

- Dong-Youl Jeong - Rutgers University (1990)
- Cassandra Burden - Rutgers University (1991)
- Diane H. Sonnenwald - Rutgers University (1993)
- Edward Pai - University of California, Los Angeles (1998)
- Nadia Caidi - University of California, Los Angeles (2001)
- Sam Trosow - University of California, Los Angeles (2002)
- Rich Gazan - University of California, Los Angeles (2004)
- Charlotte Lee - University of California, Los Angeles (2004)
- Jennifer Kate Hartel - University of California, Los Angeles (2007)
- Alberto Pepe - University of California, Los Angeles (2010)