RECENT BOOKS IN THE FIELD OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH.
Cook argues in his book that the American news media are not only part of American politics but that they are a part of government. He first examines the historical development of the American news media and the political context of the media's evolution. He then develops a model of the news media as institutional and the news media as political. He addresses the bargaining process that takes place between journalists and government officials and how media strategies influence governing strategy. In the conclusion of the book, the author addresses two problems of the rise of the news media as political institution: political capacity and accountability. He offers suggestions on how to deal with the media as a political institution without undermining the First Amendment.
Harris Cooper, Synthesizing Research: A Guide for Literature Reviews, 3rd edn, Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1998. 201 pp. ISBN 0-7619-1348-3.
Cooper's book is part of the Applied Social Research Methods Series and is a helpful guide to individuals engaged in scientific studies. The book addresses the foundation of any research endeavor which begins with a synthesis of previous work. The author applies the stages of primary research to the synthesis of secondary research. These stages include problem formulation, data collection, data evaluation, analysis and interpretation and the presentation of results. The book also includes useful exercises to help individuals understand each of the stages. The author has updated this text with the latest information on the use of electronic technology and the Internet.
Robert E. Denton, Jr., (ed.) The 1996 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, Westport, Connecticut, Praeger Publishers, 1998. 299 pp. ISBN 0-275-96152-4.
This book reviews the 1996 presidential campaign in the United States from a communication perspective. Each contributing author addresses a particular aspect of political campaign communication. The first chapter outlines a communication model of campaigns and applies it to the different phases of a campaign. Other chapters examine the early campaign period, the nominating conventions, the debates and the voting process. Clinton's rhetorical transformation of political coalitions and his campaign discourse are also critiqued. The effects of political advertising, the number and type of editorial cartoons, the impact of the Internet as well as the role of running mates are also addressed.
David M. Fetterman, Ethnography: Step by Step, 2nd edn, Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1998. 165 pp. ISBN 0-7619-1385-8.
Fetterman's updated second edition, also part of the Applied Social Research Methods Series, guides the reader through the process of conducting ethnographic research. This text provides information on how to use the Internet for searches, collecting data, video-conferencing, downloading, and sharing information online. The author compares ethnographic research to a wilderness adventure. The style of the book is user friendly and helps equip the reader with the tools necessary to make it out of the wilderness successfully.
Arlene Fink, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From Paper to the Internet, Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1998. 265 pp. ISBN 0-7619-0904-4.
Fink provides a thorough guide to conducting literature reviews. She starts the book by addressing the purposes and components of reviewing literature while providing useful tips on how to access electronic databases. The rest of the volume focuses on how to assess the retrieved literature in terms of research design, sampling, data collection and analysis. The author concludes by addressing the issues involved in summarizing the results both descriptively and statistically.
Karen S. Johnson-Cartee and Gary A. Copeland, Inside Political Campaigns: Theory and Practice, Westport, Connecticut, Praeger Publishers, 1997. 266 pp. ISBN 0-275-95587-5.
By drawing on research in political science and communication as well as the tools of advertising and public relations, this book offers the reader a synthesis of the various theories and concepts underlying political campaigns. The authors first take a historical perspective to explain the evolution of political campaign management by addressing the changes in the American political process, including political parties, media and campaign finances. They then break political campaigns into types, functions, goals, and plans. The important role and effectiveness of political advertising are also addressed as well as an explanation of the public opinion process and the influence of the mass media on that process. The influence of the candidates' political and stylistic roles in influencing the public are also examined. The chapter devoted to political communication effects is heavily grounded in communication theory. A brief but thorough history of communication is traced from Klapper's limited effects view to current theories in the field. Another chapter addresses research conducted in the area of political communication
both by academicians and by campaign consultants. The final chapter in the book deals with the legal and ethical issues that arise in political campaigns.
Karen S. Johnson-Cartee and Gary A. Copeland, Manipulation of the American Voter: Political Campaign Commercials, Westport, Connecticut, Praeger Publishers, 1997. 202 pp. ISBN 0-275-95588-5.
This book uncovers the motives behind advertising strategies and thus provides the reader with the means to analyze political advertising and to see through the inherent manipulative elements. In the beginning of the book, the authors examine the goals and modes of positive political advertising. They move on to operationalize negative political advertising and address the three modes of these types of advertisements. They also address proactive and reactive strategies used by candidates to combat negative advertising. The book also offers an analysis of the various narrative symbolic appeals, the stylistic devices and the auditory and visual manipulations used in `polispots.'
Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E. Harkavy, Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East, Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace with Brookings Institution Press, 1997. 491 pp. ISBN 0-87003-23-X.
The Middle East region has always been a crossroads in international affairs. The authors of this book trace the changing role of the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They address the importance of the `new' Middle East against the backdrop of changing power relationships in the region. The various regional alignments with the United States are also examined. Using maps, charts, and graphs throughout the book, the authors begin with a description of the geography and history of the region and then move on to address the political and economic sources of conflict. A chapter is also devoted to regional energy resources. In terms of military operations and planning, the book examines recent Middle East wars including the Gulf War and the ability of external powers to maintain a military presence. The book also outlines the vulnerability of the area including possible renewed conflict as well as the different pressures on regional leaders.
Lawrence F. Locke, Stephen J. Silverman, and Waneen Wyrick Spirduso, Reading and Understanding Research, Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1998. 240 pp. ISBN 0-7619-0307-0.
The purpose of this book is to help people from different backgrounds read and understand research reports by explaining how traditional scholarship works. The book addresses why many people avoid reading research and points to the valuable information that can be retrieved from reading reports. The rest of the volume discusses topics such as the credibility of a report, how to select and study a report, as well as the different types of research and how to examine reports with a critical eye.
Michael Salvador and Patricia M. Sias (eds.), The Public Voice in a Democracy at Risk, Westport, Connecticut, Praeger Publishers, 1998. 208 pp. ISBN 0-275-96013-7.
The book addresses the importance of the process of communication for an effective participatory democracy and how the media impact the public voice. The book also explores the role of campaign communication as well as cultural, social, political, and economic factors that affect the public voice. The book starts off by discussing the current state of public deliberation and the obstacles and challenges to effective public debate. Education and the need for critical thinking, media literacy and applied civics are also addressed. Possible collaboration among citizens, politicians and the news media are discussed including a discussion on civic journalism. The book concludes with three critical articles exploring communication, culture, and conflict.
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|Author:||Ghanem, Salma I.|
|Publication:||International Journal of Public Opinion Research|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Dec 22, 1998|
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