Re: Shannon-Weaver Model

Subject: Re: Shannon-Weaver Model
From: Jefrson -at- OSUUNX -dot- UCC -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 1994 08:29:04 CST


I have been a supporter of the Shannon and Weaver model
since beginning grad school a few years ago. The S & W
model, with a few modifications is a good way to look at
the communication process as a whole. It provides a
good framework to show how a communication situation
moves from entropy toward an understanding by the receiver.

However, dozens of other theories exist that can be
combined with information theory (the theory that the S & W
model supports) to describe technical communication. I would
first add Cybernetics, which allows for feedback in the
system so that the when the receiver acts on his/her
interpretation of the message, the sender can evaluate
how well the message kept its integrety through the system.

Sencondly, I would add some theory to explain how the
message is encoded and decoded. I like information integration
theory, which says that people understand new information by
how it relates to things they already know. However, a person
could choose almost any human communication theory to combine
with the S & W model (information theory) and have a very solid,
wholistic view of the technical communication process (and the
human communication process, in general, I think).

I may catch a lot of flak for supporting this model. People
don't like it much because it attempts to explain a human
process with mechanical terms. However, I still believe that
if we combine some theories with S & W that explain how we
encode and decode messages, we will be working toward a good
theory for technical communication.

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