Shannon and Weaver Model and Its Application

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The Shannon-Weaver Model
The Shannon-Weaver model is typical of what are often referred to as transmission models of communication .if you have looked through the examples of typical everyday forms of communication, you will have noticed that some of the examples refer to less immediate methods of communication than face-to-face interaction, e.g. using the radio, newspapers or the telephone. In these cases, technology is introduced. When, for instance, the telephone is used, you speak, the phone turns the sound waves into electrical impulses and those electrical impulses are turned back into sound waves by the phone at the other end of the line. Shannon and Weaver's mathematical model of communication is widely accepted as one of the main seeds out of which communication studies have grown. The Shannon-Weaver Model (1947) proposes that all communication must include six elements:

• a source
• an encoder
• a message
• a channel
• a decoder
• a receiver

These six elements are shown graphically in the model
The emphasis here is very much on the transmission and reception of information. 'Information' is understood rather differently from the way you and I would normally use the term, as well. This model is often referred to as an 'information model' of communication. Apart from its obvious technological bias, a drawback from our point of view is the model's obvious linearity. It looks at communication as a one-way process. That is remedied by the addition of the feedback loop, which you can see in the developed version of the model: Shannon-Weaver: The Source All human communication has some source (information source in Shannon's terminology), some person or group of persons with a given purpose, a reason for engaging in communication. You'll also find the terms transmitter and communicator used. We have discussed sender in detail in our previous lessons. Shannon-Weaver: The Encoder When you communicate, you have a particular purpose in mind: • You want to show that you're a friendly person

• You want to give them some information
• You want to get them to do something
• You want to persuade them of your point of view
and so on. You, as the source, have to express your purpose in the form of a message. That message has to be formulated in some kind of code. How do the source's purposes get translated into a code? This requires an encoder. The communication encoder is responsible for taking the ideas of the source and putting them in code, expressing the source's purpose in the form of a message. It's fairly easy to think in terms of source and encoder when you are talking on the phone (transmitter in Shannon's terminology). You are the source of the message and the 'phone is the encoder which does the job of turning your sounds into electrical impulses. The distinction is not quite so obvious when you think of yourself communicating face-to-face. In person-to-person communication, the encoding process is performed by the motor skills of the source - vocal mechanisms (lip and tongue movements, the vocal cords, the lungs, face muscles etc.), muscles in the hand and so on. Some people's encoding systems are not as efficient as others'. So, for example, a disabled person might not be able to control movement of their limbs and so find it difficult to encode the intended non-verbal messages or they may communicate unintended messages. A person who has suffered throat cancer may have had their vocal cords removed. They can encode their messages verbally using an artificial aid, but much of the non-verbal messages most of us send via pitch, intonation, volume and so on cannot be encoded. Shannon was not particularly concerned with the communication of meanings. The inclusion of the encoding and decoding processes is very helpful to us since it draws our attention to the possibility of a mismatch between the operation of the encoding and decoding devices, which can cause semantic noise to be set up....
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