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Comunicar Journal 41: Black holes of Communication (Vol. 21 - 2013)

Methodological approaches to study interactivity in communication journals


The aim of this paper is to map out the research around the concept of interactivity, as well as to point out the dominant streams and underresearched areas. It is based upon the content analysis of methods employed in articles published in five topranking communication journals over five year period (200610). The review of methods applied in research of interactivity is based upon distinction between social interactivity, textual interactivity and technical interactivity. This classification is further developed by adding the category of levels of interactivity (low, medium and high) which allows further classification of different mediated practices. This leads to specification of nine theoretical subsets of interactivity as the main categories of the analysis of research articles. Within this matrix we have situated diverse methods that respond to conceptually different types and levels of audience/users interactivity. The analysis shows that scholarly focus lies within the low textual and the high social interactive practices, whereas the high technical and high textual interactivity are underresearched areas. Investigations into the audience/users relations with texts are mainly orientated towards content analyses and surveys. High social interaction research is reviving the application of ethnographic methods, while the possibilities of technical interactivity are embraced not as an object but as a tool for research.