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How do communication and technology researchers study the Internet?


As a partial review of the field of communication and technology, this essay revisits Newhagen and Rafaeliā€™s (1996) Journal of Communication article that asked why communication researchers should study the Internet. Research directions, findings, and theories are discussed under the organization of the 5 important qualities of the Internet that Newhagen and Rafaeli identified: multimedia, hypertextuality, packet switching, synchronicity, and interactivity. The article concludes with an assessment of theory development in communication and technology research, issues facing theoretical growth, and an answer to the question of what this research might teach us.

J.B. Walther
G. Gay
J.T. Hancock
Journal of Communication, 55, 632-657
Publication Date
September 1, 2005