CA517 Exper Methods of Comm Research

for F1P 2008

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


CA 517 Exper Methods of Comm Research


F1P 2008 MC


Dr. Joan Aitken


Professor, Communication Arts


Ed.D. Education and Communication
M.A. Curriculum & Leadership
M.A. General Speech

Office Location

229 Copley

Office Hours

By appointemnt

Daytime Phone

816-584-6785 (office and message)


Web Page

Semester Dates

F1P 2008

Class Days


Credit Hours



Sumser, J. (2001). A guide to empirical research in communication: Rules for looking. Thousand Oaks: Sage.


APA (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Other Professors may require other books, such as Ker linger, F. N., & Lee, H. B. (2000). Foundations of behavioral research. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. You don't need to buy Strunk and White because it is available totally online. These book will provide needed information about writing the proposal and using correct formatting and style. You may have already read both Please read or reread these two books during week/unit one.


Heffner, (2003). Research methods. All Psych Online. Click here.

There are few areas in education that are covered on the Internet as well as research, so you may find this choice most helpful. Many of the final exam test questions come from Heffner, which is totally available online.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
CA 517 Experimental Methods of Communication Research: A study of the basic principles used to construct experimental designs, test hypotheses, and apply methods of behavioral science to communication.

Educational Philosophy:
This course is designed to help prepare you for advanced research.  Theoretical and pragmatic approaches are combined.  The emphasis is on preparing an MA thesis or project proposal of a scientific experiment in communication.  Assignments are designed to provide a challenge and engagement in the learning process.  A major assignment is due each week to ensure progress on the core assessment (MA thesis or project proposal).  Learning activities are designed to help students learn course information in a way that engages students.

Class Assessment:


See course handout(s) for details and updates.

WEEKLY PRIORITY:  1. Core Assessment is a research experiment proposal (prospectus) appropriate for a Master's Degree thesis or project in Communication and Leadership. = 40% (e.g., 40 points).  Weekly progress must be submitted on time.

2. Minor Assignments = 42%

Class discussion and learning activities. 

3. Final Exam = 18%

Make sure you are clear about your individual professor's expectations.  If you have questions, please ask.  

Example Scale: 
90-100 A.  80-89.99 B.
100 points equals 100%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Submit each assignment by the deadline in order to receive a grade.  In class learning activities cannot be made up.

The core assessment is due week 6.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Alternative viewpoints are welcome and encouraged in the framework of respect.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:



Reading Due

Assignments Due--Major Assignments Highlighted in Yellow

Week 1. Examine the Map!

Intro & Library Research

Skim Sumser & APA

  1. Participate in learning activities.

  2. Decide on a research topic for a proposal for a scientific experiment you can use for your thesis or project topic. Find 20 quantitative, communication, peer- reviewed articles related to the topic, which you may want to analyze for the course. Use Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCO), here.

Week 2. Follow the Path!

Experiments & Surveys

Sumser ch 1-3, 5, 7.

Core Project (Research Proposal): Research question or  hypothesis  for an experiment, operational definitions of variables, and reference list of 20 quantitative, peer-reviewed research articles in communication studies. Submit with proposal outline during week 2. Use Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCO), click here.

Participate in learning activities.


Week 3. Get Your Feet Wet!

Analysis, Interpretation, & Measurement

Read APA ch 1

Core Project (Research Proposal): Proposed hypothetical, scientific, communication experiment outline of content with 20 references from Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCO) Participate in learning activities (e.g., discussion board, chat).


Week 4. Watch Your Step!

Writing An Experimental Research Proposal.

Read APA ch 2-5

Review Sumser, chapter 5.

Core Project (Research Proposal): Evolving rough draft of hypothetical communication research experiment proposal.

Participate in learning activities.

 Week 5. Just Hard Work!

Hypothesis Testing

Sumser, ch 6 & 8.

Core Assessment (Research Proposal): Experiment design section and measure.

Participate in learning activities.

Week 6. Stretch Yourself!

Research Design

Review APA 5


Participate in learning activities.

You may want to work through a variety of self-check items to prepare for your final exam. Note the study guide and glossary.

Week 7. The Summit!

Measurement, Observation, And Data Collection

Complete Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP) tutorial and submit certification in the dropbox.

Complete the final exam this week or next.

Learning activities.

Week 8. Heading Home


Proposal Oral Defense


  2. PROPOSAL ORAL DEFENSE: PRESENT your proposal to the rest of the class. Presentation due in class or Wednesday online.

  3. Review course materials and complete final exam, if you haven't done so.

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25
Please follow the APA citation and reference style.


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 29

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:7/5/2008 7:43:32 AM