Identifying Normativity in Communication Research: A Typology and a Framework for Assessing Scientific and Extrascientific Norms

Liane Rothenberger, Claudia Auer, Cornelius B. Pratt


Normativity in communication research is indicated in identifying a problem, a theory, or a methodology; in interpreting empirical data; and in acknowledging a scholar’s association or affiliation with a particular school of thought. However, scholars are often not aware of—or do not acknowledge—their normative assumptions, resulting in the exclusion of audiences from their arguments. This article, therefore, in arguing for an explication of norms in communication research, distinguishes among three levels of normativity, discusses the legitimacy of norms at those levels, and introduces a framework that enables scholars to reflect on their norms, an action that will help them to further compare, bridge, and synthesize different perspectives, theories, and methodologies in communication scholarship.


meta-analysis, normativity, norms, value-freedom, Werturteilsstreit

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