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The Concepts and Basics of Intercultural Communication

This time Falhatla Riservisi will discuss the general description of Intercultural Communication, starting from understanding the concept and basis of intercultural communication. Through this article, we hope to be able to understand and explain again about Communication and Culture.

Topics for thesis writing are strongly influenced by student interests. Interest is of course related to the work background and educational background being pursued. In this Public Relations research, students must see that the context of the topic should not be separated from the framework of communication science and Broadcasting specialization.

To make it easier to choose a topic, students are asked to look back at the communication components that have been studied in the basic courses first, where the communication components include:
  1. communicator level, source analysis.
  2. message level/message content, including the content of messages conveyed by communicators (media messages) both quantitatively (content analysis), and qualitatively (framing analysis, discourse analysis, gender analysis, etc.).
  3. media level, including editorial/program/production strategy, media management.
  4. communicant level, including audience analysis which includes responses, opinions, perceptions, etc.
  5. level of impact, including the effect or impact of the content of media messages or news/impressions/program strategies in the form of levels of understanding, perception or behavior change, acceptance, and the emergence of positive opinions on the content of messages and/or media.
In essence, in the first process of writing this research, it is necessary to pay attention to several things which include:
  1. That the research topic must be important (significance of the topic)
  2. That the research topic must attract the attention of the researcher (interesting topic)
  3. That the research topic must be supported by data or in other words for the topic available data (obtainable data)
  4. That the research topic must be able to be carried out in the sense that it is limited to research capabilities (manageable topic)
In addition, before conducting the research process, it is necessary to first know the elements that will be reflected in the research formulation, namely:
  1. Research problems for which answers will be sought
  2. The population or research subject where the intended data can be obtained
  3. The research area where the research subject is located
  4. Time of research conducted
The Concepts and Basics of Intercultural Communication
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Determining Relevant Topics

Once the basic research idea has been selected or defined, the next step is to ensure that the topic is worthy of research. This stage can be completed by answering eight basic questions.

Question 1: Is the Topic Too Broad?

Most research concentrates on one narrow area of ​​study; not much research has been done to analyze all fields of study/study. There is one tendency, why a researcher should conduct extensive research – for example, “the effect of television on children,” or “the effect of information from the mass media on voters in elections.”

To avoid this problem, researchers usually describe the problems to be studied to sort and select topics into narrow questions.

Question 2: Is The Problem Investigable?

There is still something to do with the breadth of the topic, a topic may not be investigated simply because the questions asked do not have answers, or cannot be answered using the facilities and information available. For example, a researcher who wants to know how people who do not own a television react to everyday interpersonal communication situations should consider the problem of finding subjects who do not have a television set in their home.

Question 3: Is the Data Vulnerable?/ Easy to Analyze?

A topic cannot give itself what it wants if the data obtained cannot be measured by the level of reliability (reliability) and validity (validity). In other words, a researcher who is going to measure the effect of not watching television must consider whether the information about the subject's behavior will be adequate and reliable, whether the subject will answer truthfully.

Question 4: Is the Problem Significant/Useful?

Before the research is carried out, the researcher must determine whether the topic is feasible, meaning whether the research results have value both practically and theoretically.

Question 5: Can the research results be generalized?

To ensure that the research conducted has practical value – significant to the analysis that has been carried out – it must have external validity; that is, it must be generalizable from one situation to another. For example, research on the effects of public relations campaigns in one small town may be appropriate if applied to other small towns; or even though the study conducted is not intended to be generalized, at least the research has external validity.

Question 6: How Much Cost and Time Required?

These two things largely determine whether research is possible. Even though the research idea or idea is very bright, if the costs and time required are not possible, then the research is also not possible.

Question 7: Is the Planned Approach By The Research To Be Conducted?

Even though the research idea is brilliant, poor method planning can become a hindrance. For example, a researcher would measure the change in current moviegoers influenced by television viewing in a city by distributing a questionnaire to a large number of people using a questionnaire sent by mail. Of course, the cost of printing the questionnaire and sending it will be huge, not to mention if we have to follow up on the results of the questionnaire.

Question 8: Is there a potential for harm to research subjects?

Researchers must carefully analyze whether the research conducted can "threat" the subject both physically and psychologically. For example, will the respondent feel scared after answering the question? Do they have to answer questions that would embarrass them? Is there a follow-up effect from the results of the research conducted? Make sure these things are anticipated and considered before deciding on a research topic.

Scientific research process

The essential difference in the position of theory in quantitative or qualitative research is that in qualitative research, theories or concepts are used to understand the phenomena being studied - understand the background of the research - understand the research setting, and so on. Whereas in quantitative research, after is clear the object is studied, the research questions and research objectives, and the researcher's line of thinking (ideas), the first stage; find a suitable theoretical basis, which can be used to approach the problem under study (conceptualization). While the theory used departs from the general theory (grand theory), Middle range theory to operational theory. Without the clarity of the theory used and understanding of the content of the theory described by Prof. Sugiyono is like a blind man telling a story about an elephant, holding it flat when he thinks it is a wall or quoting a picture of Prof. Yosy Adiwisastra, like a snake charmer telling a story about an elephant, holds him long and thinks he's a snake, even though it's an elephant's tail.

In quantitative research the research questions-what are being researched or what is being researched instead of asking what the variables in the study are. While the variables are based on the research hypothesis. The results of the theoretical deduction process for the symptoms studied are research hypotheses, in which the hypothesis provides information and a description of what the research variables are and how the relationships between variables are, as a representation of the symptoms and the relationship between the phenomena studied.

While the variable is a construct that has a variety of values, a construct whose properties have been assigned a value, a construct is a concept that has limited understanding (its elements, characteristics, properties) so that it can be observed and measured. Concepts are abstractions formed by generalizing specific things (Kerlinger, 1971:28). A concept is an abstraction of a phenomenon that is formulated based on a generalization of several characteristics of certain events, circumstances, groups, or individuals (Effendi, 1989:34). A proposition is a logical relationship between two or more concepts. While the theory is a series of assumptions, concepts, constructs, definitions, and propositions to explain a social phenomenon systematically by formulating the relationship between concepts (Kerlinger, 1973: 3).

Thus, in essence, variables can be derived from a theory that consists of several concepts, in which the concepts are still abstract, so it is necessary to limit their understanding according to the object under study so that they become constructs. The process of interpreting and using abstract concepts into constructs in approaching research problems is called concept operationalization. So that it can be used to examine the operationalization of the concept, it is followed by measurement so that it becomes a variable, while the operationalization of the variable can be translated as a description of the relationship between variables, which will later be used as the basis for testing hypotheses. Thus, through theoretical deduction (theoretical logical deduction) which is still abstract, it is formulated into a research hypothesis by the problems and research objectives, thus entering the second stage of the research process.

Beer, Jennifer, Intercultural Communication at Work, Washington, 1997.
Mulyana, Deddy and Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Intercultural Communication, Rosdakarya Youth, Bandung, 2003.
Rumondor, Alex, et al, Intercultural Communication, Open University, Jakarta, 1996.
Mulyana, Deddy, Effective Communication; A Cross-cultural Approach, Youth Rosdakarya, Bandung, 2004.