Approved by Faculty Senate April 14, 2003

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program:              Communication Studies
Course Number:                      480      
Course Title:                           Communication Research Methods
Catalog Description:                     This course surveys the various qualitative and quantitative approaches commonly used in communication research, providing a foundation for application in research project of students’ choosing.                                      .

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2:  Yes
Department Contact Person for this course:  Dr. Ted Reilly -5238
Email: ereilly@winona.edu

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in: Critical Analysis Flag

Course Requirements:  The course aims for the following goals:  
 To learn the history and significance of inquiry in the humanities, social sciences and communication;   to understand theory development, application and testing; to discover the resources available to communication researchers, including databases, journals, indexes, and style sheets; to learn the principles and basic approaches of social scientific inquiry in communication, including sampling, design, and basic analysis; to learn principles and basic approaches to humanistic inquiry, including criticism, ethnography, and interpretation; to conduct preliminary research for the CMST capstone course including research questions and literature reviews.

This course includes requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

a. Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim.  The student is expected to leave this course with strong abilities to evaluate the strengths of evidence and reasoning as they are related to claims.  This includes deductive hypothesis testing, as well as scrutiny of opened ended research questions.  In both cases, the focus of the class is to collect and examine relevant data in regards to their thesis.  The types of evidence examined in the class include, but are not limited to qualitative evidence such as narratives and texts and quantitative evidence such as survey data and  observational/experimental data. 

b. apply critical analytical skills in advancing a theoretical position.

     Throughout the course, students have repeated opportunities to advance and support claims and positions.    They participate in individual and group activities which practice gathering evidence, evaluating evidence and drawing conclusions from evidence which is collected, interpreted or observed.  Further, students will be required to examine and critique various approaches to making research claims, thus improving their abilities to advance theoretical positions.   

c. evaluate alternative arguments within a systematic framework.
Substantial attention is paid in this course to the strength of using varied approaches to the study of human communication.  Through the study of multiple methods and methodologies, students are exposed, and eventually develop a vocabulary for explaining and investigating  communicative phenomena through a variety of theoretical research approaches. 

CMST 480 RESEARCH METHODS IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES

 

Dr. Ted Reilly | Office: 204, PAC | 457-5238 | Hours: MWF: 10-12; 1-2; M 3-4|& by appt.      
ereilly@winona.edu  |  course web site:   course1.winona.edu\ereilly

                     

Texts:

Smith, M., J. (1988). Contemporary communication research methods.  Belmont, CA:   Wadsworth.

 

Rubin, R. B., Rubin, A. M., & Piele, L. J. (1996). Communication

     research:  Strategies and sources.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

 

Description and Goals: This course investigates the principles and practices of research methods in communication.  We will examine varied approaches to the study of human communication.  Specifically, we will aim for the following goals:

 

     1. To learn the history and significance of inquiry in the humanities, social sciences and communication. 

     2. To understanding theory development, application and testing. 

     3. To discover the resources available to communication researchers, including databases, journals, indexes, and style sheets.

     4. To learn the principles and basic approaches social scientific inquiry in communication, including sampling, design, and basic analysis.    

     5. To learn principles and basic approaches to humanistic inquiry, including criticism, ethnography, and interpretation. 

     6.  To conduct preliminary research for the CMST capstone course including research questions and literature reviews.  

 

This is a University Studies Flag course.  It satisfies the requirements for the Critical Analysis flag, which require that students be able to:

a. Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim

b. apply critical analytical skills in advancing a theoretical position

c. evaluate alternative arguments within a systematic framework.

Course Policies

Writing:  All written work should be typed, double-spaced and conform to an accepted style sheet.  Always include bibliography.

Late Policy:  Late projects will be reduced up to 10% for each day late.  Make your 1st priority delivering projects on time. 
Attendance: Three freebies for whatever reason.   15 point deduction from final grade (out of 1000) thereafter.   Come to class.  It is good habit.  I do not distinguish between excused an unexcused.

Grade Calculation:  Standard grade scale (95= middle A 85=B 75=C 65=D).  Plus/minus are assigned to individual projects (plus grades= 68, 78, 88; minus grades= 72, 82, 92) but not to final grade.  Grade is always available to you.  Keep track Below:

Project

Weight

Points

Your Score

Exam #1

20

200

               
Exam #2

20

200

 
Exam #3

20

200

 
Application Paper

15

150

 
Theory Paper

15

150

 
Literature review

10

100

 
Total

100 %

1000

 

** There will be occasional articles on reserve or distributed in class**

 

CMST 480 Research Methods Tentative Schedule for Fall, 2001

 

The following three USP requirements are noted on the schedule:

a. Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim

b. apply critical analytical skills in advancing a theoretical position

c. evaluate alternative arguments within a systematic framework.

Date

Topic and Activities for Day                                           USP Req.

Read

W4

Course Introduction

 

F6

Syllabus policies and procedures

 

Sep M9

The philosophy of research

 

W11

Aristotle to Descartes                                                    

 

F13

Structure of Scientific Revolutions                                 B, C

Res. Rdng.

M16

Theory development: Parameter and Scope    

 

W18

Theory development in communication studies                 B, C

 

M23

Hypothesis testing in communication studies                  A, B, C

 

W25

Validity in research:  Oh, the variables!                           B

 

F27

Reliability in research                                                      B

 

M30

Exam #1

 

Oct W2

Humanistic Approaches to Data                                      A

 

F4

Scientific Approaches to Data                                        A

 

M7

Film

 

W9

Discussion

 

F11

Literature Reviews                                                         A

 

M14

Survey Research     

 

W16

Experimental Research                                                  A, B, C

 

F18

Experimental Research                                                  A, B, C

 

M21

Field Research                                                               A, B, C

 

W23

Field Research                                                              A, B, C

 

F25

Statistical models for description

 

M28

Statistical models or correlation

 

W30

Statistical Models for differences

 

Nov F1

Content Analysis                                                            A, B, C

 

M4

Content analysis

 

W6

Creating an Dissecting the Research Report

 

F8

Exam #2

 

M11

Ethnography                                                                   A, B, C

 

W13

Ethnography, cont’d

 

F15

Conducting the research interview                                 A, B, C

 

M18

Cont’d

 

W20

Rough drafts of Lit Review due

 

F22

Peer Reading and Feedback of Lit Rev.

 

M25

Rhetorical Criticism                                                        A, B, C

 

M2

Rhetorical Criticism

 

W4

Ethics in Research

 

Dec F6

IRBs at research institutions

 

M9

IRBs continued (film)

 

W11

Final Paper due

 

F13

Course and Semester Wrap up