An Introduction to Communication Science

Little Box of Nuance (LBON): An Introduction to Communication Science

The Little Box of Nuance is made by dr. Rutger de Graaf and previous students in this MOOC for those of you who would like to read more on certain topics discussed in this course. The readings are not required for the course, but we recommend having a look at it. A three minute video only gives a limited time to go in depth into a subject, so if you want to know more about something discussed by the lecturer, have a look at the suggested readings.

These readings are not required to pass the course and are listed here in case you are interested in additional resources and want to learn more.

Further Readings


Description: Linguist Roman Jakobson adds important elements from semiotics to the linear communication model, thereby contributing to the understanding of the communication process. He focuses on the meaning of a message and the main function of the message.

Description: Lasswell proposed communication as a linear process. His verbal model is one of the first models ever used by communication scientists and describes the act of communication by answering he following question: Who, says What, in which Channel, to Whom, and with what Effect?

  • Newcomb, T.M. (1953) An approach to the study of communicative acts. Psychological Review, 60, 393-404.

Description: Newcomb offers an alternative to the linear effect oriented approach. Much attention is given to the social context in which communication takes place or the so called social environment in which X can take many forms. Communicative acts may be viewed as outcomes of changes in the relationship between an organism and its environment.

Description: Shannon approaches communication from a mathematical perspective. He identifies new factors which can disrupt the flow of communication, in particular ‘noise’. He made a distinction between information and meaning construction but later users of their model often did not made this distinction anymore. Therefore Shannon is closely related to the linear effect oriented approach.


Fiske, J. (1990) Introduction to communication studies ( link) (2nd ed.). London, England: Routledge.

  • Chapter 2: Different Models.
  • Chapter 3: Communication, meaning and signs.

Littlejohn, S.W. & Foss, K.A. (2009) Encyclopedia of communication theory. ( link) London, England: Sage. pp. 203-204: Newcomb’s model

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to the Book.
  • Chapter 14: Media Genres and Texts.
  • Chapter 17: Processes and Models of Media Effects.

Weaver, W., & Shannon, C. E. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication. ( link) Urbana: University of Illinois.



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