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Communication studies or communication science is an academic discipline that deals with processes of human communication and behavior, patterns of communication in interpersonal relationships, social interactions and communication in different cultures. Communication is commonly defined as giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages through appropriate media, enabling individuals or groups to persuade, to seek information, to give information or to express emotions effectively. Communication studies is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge that encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation at a level of individual agency and interaction to social and cultural communication systems at a macro level.
Scholarly communication theorists focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of communication, examining statistics in order to help substantiate claims. The range of social scientific methods to study communication has been expanding. Communication researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-20th century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of communication. Conversely, the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically, and computationally focused techniques.[failed verification]
As a field of study, communication is applied to journalism, business, mass media, public relations, marketing, news and television broadcasting, interpersonal and intercultural communication, education, public administration—and beyond. As all spheres of human activity and conveyance are affected by the interplay between social communication structure and individual agency, communication studies has gradually expanded its focus to other domains, such as health, medicine, economy, military and penal institutions, the Internet, social capital, and the role of communicative activity in the development of scientific knowledge.