Research network and comparative communication studies: Practice and reflections

Joseph M. Chan
School of Journalism and Communication,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


There has been a growing trend towards comparative communication research since the turn of the century. The first question that I would like to address is: How to account for the rise of comparative studies? It is my contention that the growth of comparative communication research hinges on the formation of what can be called a comparative research network, which is linked to globalization, the proliferation of digital communication, the organizational inducement for collaborative studies and the convergence of research cultures. The second question that I would like to pursue is how scholars can methodologically benefit from the comparative research network. Contextualization, as a key to comparative methodology, is linked to the problems of equivalence and explanation in comparative studies. I will reflect on how the comparative research network functions as a methodological aid in solving the equivalence problem in regard to conceptualization and data gathering. I will also examine how such a network serves to render contextualization a useful aid in explaining differences across media systems.