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CA 517 Experimental Methods of Communication Research
Aitken, Joan Evelyn


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.

Course

CA 517 Experimental Methods of Communication Research

Semester

U1P 2006 DL

Faculty

Aitken, Joan Evelyn

Title

Professor, Communication Arts

Degrees/Certificates

Ed.D. Higher Education/Communication
M.A. General Speech
B.A. Communication Theory

Office Location

Copley 229 and virtual office hours by phone.

Daytime Phone

Phone listed in eCollege.

E-Mail

joan.aitken@park.edu

Web Page

http://captain.park.edu/aitken/517

Semester Dates

Summer, 2006

Class Days

Online 24/7 or Onground Tues 5:30 - 9:50 PM

Class Time

Online 24/7 or Onground Tues 5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:
COURSE TEXTBOOK:  Most graduate courses rely on reading scientific research articles, which is what we will do in this course.  In addition, here are your textbook options.
1. Sumser, J.  (2001).  A guide to empirical research in communication:  Rules for looking. ¬†Thousand Oaks:  Sage.  Sumser is an understandable guide to observational research from a communication studies perspective.  
AND

2.  Heffner, (2003).  Research methods.  All Psych Online.  Contents
http://allpsych.com/researchmethods/researchcontents.html There are few areas in education that are covered on the Internet as well as research.  If you like reading online, you may want to try an online textbook.  
OR

1.  Kerlinger, F. N., & Lee, H. B.  (2000).  Foundations of behavioral research.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ¬†Kerlinger and Lee is an excellent textbook on behavioral research which has evolved as the foremost guidebook for nearly fifty years:  Foundations of Behavioral Research  by Fred N. Kerlinger and Howard B. Lee.  If you invest in this textbook, you will have a source that can guide you through a doctoral program and into life as a scholar.  

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
See eCollege or course webpage.

http://parkonline.org/
http://captain.park.edu/aitken/517

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

Educational Philosophy:
Our course goal is for you to read and analyze experimental and other forms of quantitative research so that you can conduct a comprehensive survey of literature for your Master's thesis or project.

We do not expect all our students to start from the same place.  We'll take a somewhat unique approach because students come from various backgrounds and a wide array of preparation--or lack of preparation--for this course.  We will focus on mastery of content as applied to reading experimental research articles and meeting the individual student's objectives for the Master's thesis or project.  

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate potential topics and select a topic appropriate for a thesis or research project.
  2. Synthesize program learning to create a thesis or research proposal.
  3. Follow organizational pattern for a thesis proposal.
  4. Identify the role of experimental and related research in communication studies, with emphasis on the nature of scientific inquire and research design.
Class Assessment:
1.  Core Assessment (final prospectus for Master's Degree thesis or project) = 35% (e.g., 35 points).
2.  Weekly Assignments = 35% (e.g., 35 points).   Practitioner's work:  scenario and number crunching, journal analysis, in class or online discussion, answer to weekly question or minor assignments according to professor's expectations.  For example, your professor may assign 10 points for 5 journal analyses, 10 points for practitioner's work, and an additional 15 points for general discussion and answers to weekly questions.  If your posting is inadequate for full credit, revise and repost in the "Revision" category by final deadlines.    
3.   Objective style exam  (e.g., 30 points).   See study guide.

CORE ASSESSMAENT:  Write a Master's thesis or project prospectus.  Write the survey of literature for your prospectus, obtain an advisor, and present your idea in a professional manner (e.g., formal PowerPoint presentation about 15 minutes in length).  The written prospectus should be 10-40 pages depending on the nature of your prospectus and the depth of your survey of literature.
You will find specific organizational and writing guidelines in your APA Publication Manual in Kerlinger & Lee Appendix A, in Heffner Chapter 2, and Sumser Chapter 5.  

Grading:
A typical grading scale is as follows:
90-100% = A or 3 (Exceeds expectations)
80-89.99% = B or 2  (Meets expectations or required mastery level)  
70-79.99% = C or 1 (Below expectations or below mastery)
Below 70% = F or 0 (No credit or no effort)

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Assignments are due each week.  Follow your professor's requirements, which may exclude receiving any credit for late work.  In using mastery learning, for example, professors typically do not allow revisions unless the student meets the original due date.  Professors typically give no credit for an assignment submitted after the final revision date.
In fairness to all students, faculty avoid individual deals with students or extra credit or special consideration that only apply to one student.  If a student needs accommodations, the student should make the request for adaptation and receive professor approval during the first week of the course.
ABSOLUTE FINAL DEADLINES:  Week 4 for weeks 1-4 and Friday week 8 for weeks 5-8.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Participate actively using appropriate Netiquette online or in-class discussion.  Challenging on an idea level--not personal--is encouraged.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
See course webpage for most up to date information:  http://captain.park.edu/aitken/517

----------------Week or Unit 1.  Examine the Map

UNIT LEARNING OUTCOME:
IDENTIFY THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY AND RESEARCH DESIGN.
Read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 1 & 22.

If you use Sumser, read chapter 1
Practice  Quiz 1 - Quiz 2 -
Quiz 3 Introduce yourself.
AFTER reading about this week's topic, post the answer to a weekly question:

Post analysis and discuss articles. Read assignment and rubric for grading.
Enroll in Smarthinking.

Submit your proposal from 501 if you plan to continue with that thesis or project idea.

----------------Week or Unit 2.  Follow the Path

UNIT LEARNING OUTCOME:
IDENTIFY THE BASICS OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH.
Read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 22, 25, Appendix A, Chapter 2, 3, 5, 6.

If you use Sumser, read chapter 3.
Practice Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Quiz 3 Unit 2 question Post analysis and discuss articles. Formulate a research question and prepare a review of literature.

----------------Week or Unit 3. Get your feet wet.

UNIT OUTCOME:
IDENTIFY THE PRINCIPLES OF ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION,  AND MEASUREMENT.


Read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 7, 8, 9, 26, 4.

If you use Sumser, read chapter
Practice Quiz 1 - Quiz 2 Unit 3 question Post analysis and discuss articles. Complete the review of literature.

----------------Week or Unit 4.  Watch your step

MODES OF OBSERVATION

MIDTERM


UNIT OUTCOME:
APPLY APA STYLE AND SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES IN WRITING A BASIC PROJECT OR THESIS PROPOSAL.
Read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 17, 18.

----------------If you use Sumser, read chapter 5.
Practice Quiz 1 - Quiz 2
Hourly exam may be available soon.
Unit 4 question Post analysis and discuss articles.  
Submit draft proposal to Smarthinking for tutoring feedback.

----------------Week or Unit 5.  Just Hard Work

UNIT OUTCOME:  ANALYZE HYPOTHESIS TESTING IN THE PROCESS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 11, 12.

If you use Sumser, read chapters 6, 7, 8.
Practice Quiz 1 -
Quiz 2
 Unit 5 question Post analysis and discuss articles. Revise and finalize proposal.
Week or Unit 6.  Stretch Yourself

UNIT OUTCOME:


IDENTIFY APPROPRIATE RESEARCH DESIGN AND NOTICE DESIGN DETAILS.

USE CRITICAL THINKING--ANALYSIS, EVALUATION--TO ANALYZE RESEARCH LITERATURE.

If you missed an earlier week, read & analyze one quantitative research article you can use in your thesis or project.  
If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 19, 20, 21,
Your're at the point when you may want to work through a variety of self-check items to prepare for your exam.   Unit 6 question   Submit final proposal to course professor.

----------------Week or Unit 7.  The Summit

UNIT OUTCOME:

IDENTIFY USE OF MEASUREMENT, OBSERVATION, AND DATA COLLECTION IN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH.

If you use Kerlinger & Lee, read chapters 29, 30, 31.
Practice Quiz 1 -Quiz 2 Unit 7 question   Discuss proposal with possible faculty advisor.  Make revisions to proposal.

----------------Week or Unit 8.  Heading Home

EVALUATION AND CLOSURE

UNIT OUTCOME:
PRESENT A PROFESSIONAL-STYLE THESIS OR PROJECT PROPOSAL TO A GROUP.  Feel free to invite guests to attend.

FINAL SUBMISSION DATE FOR ALL WORK DUE IN THE COURSE
  See exam study guide.  
No question
  Present proposal idea to other students (e.g., PowerPoint).

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Page 20-22
Please follow APA guidelines.

Toward A Code of Ethics for Organizational Communication Professionals:  http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol5/iss1/special/montgomery.htm
National School Public Relations Association:  http://www.nspra.org/main_ethics.htm  

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Page 20-22
Online students are expected to log in to eCollege and actively engage multiple days/times each week.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24

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: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:

STUDENT RESOURCES

Academic Support:  You are automatically enrolled in support courses.  In your list of special courses in eCollege, you will see a course designed to provide student services, research, writing, and technology tutorials and links.  For undergraduates, go to CDL 200 or CDL 300.  For graduates, go to CDL 500.

Advising:  Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Your Campus Center Administrator can provide advising to you, please contact them for assistance.  If you need contact information for your Campus Center, click here.

ADAPark 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 American 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 the criteria for special assistance and Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability.

Bookstore:  See the list of required and optional instructional materials for each course. 

Career CounselingThe 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.

Graduate School:  http://www.park.edu/grad/

McAfee Memorial Library - Use online databases containing scholarly research articles.  Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.

Netiquette: Communicate with respect toward others. http://captain.park.edu/OnlineAssessmentDraft/StudentCommunication.htm#EffectiveOnlineCommunication

Online Classroom Technical Support:  For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email eCollegeHelpDesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275).  To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website:  click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.

Park Helpdesk:  If you have forgotten your User ID or Password, or if you need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024.

Resources for current students: http://www.park.edu/current/

Tutoring:  Use smarthinking.com or the OWL for help early in the course.  Park University has arranged for Online Learning students to receive five hours of free access to Online tutoring and academic support through http://smarthinking.com/ .  You also can receive tutoring from Park University's Academic Support Center by going to your eCollege special course, CDL 200.

Weblinks:  Find and read content about Experimental Research on the Internet.  Each day, there are more and more resources available on the Internet.  You may want to find reliable Internet sources to provide the following:  alternative ways of describing course concepts, definitions to new terms, learning activities, or additional information.  External links constantly change and are beyond our control.  Therefore, we provide multiple links as prompts--when working--that may help you learn course content.

CORE ASSESSMENT ASSIGNMENT

Write a Master's thesis or project prospectus.  Write the survey of literature for your prospectus, obtain an advisor, and present your idea in a professional manner (e.g., formal PowerPoint presentation about 15 minutes in length).  The written prospectus should be 10-40 pages depending on the nature of your prospectus and the depth of your survey of literature.

You will find specific organizational and writing guidelines in your APA Publication Manual. 

Consider these  University of Michigan guidelines http://www.research.umich.edu/proposals/pwg/pwgcontents.html

Here is a general organization you may want to follow:  http://www.sce.carleton.ca/faculty/chinneck/thesis.html

Based on this Michigan State University guideline, you probably thought of an idea in a previous course and now enter the preparing the proposal stage:   http://www.learnerassociates.net/dissthes/  Your proposal will probably contain the following elements:  Elements of the Research Proposal http://www.ucalgary.ca/md/CAH/research/res_prop.htm

You may also want to review Common Pitfalls

If you learn well by example, here are some Professional Writing proposals from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth:  http://www.umassd.edu/cas/english/professional_writing/current_students/sampleproposals.cfm

If you are considering action research, this site may be helpful:  http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/phd.html

LATE ASSIGNMENTS AND EXTRA CREDIT

Follow your professor's requirements, which may exclude receiving any credit for late work.  In using mastery learning, for example, professors typically do not allow revisions unless the student meets the original due date.  Professors typically give no credit for an assignment submitted after the final revision date.

In fairness to all students, faculty avoid individual deals with students or extra credit or special consideration that only apply to one student.  If a student needs accommodations, the student should make the request for adaptation and receive professor approval during the first week of the course.

MASTERY LEARNING

Your professor may use mastery learning in this course.  In mastery learning, students are graded on achievement rather than effort. Mastery learning provides opportunities to revise, rework, or retake in order to achieve a high competency level.  Your professor still may limit the number of opportunities for revision or set time deadlines in mastery learning.  If you want to learn more about mastery learning, you can find websites that explain the concept, such as:   http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/instruct/mastery.html Search the Internet or scholarly database with keywords:  mastery learning.

JOURNAL ANALYSES, FACE-TO-FACE DISCUSSION, ONLINE STUDENT DISCUSSION BOARD, POSTINGS, AND MINOR ASSIGNMENTS (5 points per week for 7 weeks)

If your professor uses mastery learning, you will need to revise any minor assignments that receive less than full credit.  Put these revised minor assignments in the "Post/Discuss" category, under  "Revision," or according to your professor's requirements.  If eCollege is not available, simply type up and provide the information in hardcopy or electronic form to your professor.

WEEKLY STUDY GUIDE DISCUSSION AND ANSWER TO ASSIGNED QUESTIONS
Each student is assigned a number to use throughout the course.  The student will answer the corresponding question by posting the answer in the online discussion board.  The answer needs to be factual with the source cited according to APA citation style and reference listing.  If there are 10 questions and you are number 15, just count through the list twice and answer question 5.

DISCUSSION BOARD POSTING:  ANALYSIS OF JOURNAL ARTICLE (post for class to read and discuss). 
Here is the format for analysis required for the entrance exam for a doctoral program
http://www.albany.edu/etap/graduate_programs/doctoral/doctoral_handbook/Research_Tool_Exam.htm .  In other words, you should be able to analyze all these parts by the end of the course.  You might follow a different section for each unit.

OBJECTIVE STYLE EXAM

Objective style, true-false and multiple choice exam.  A pool of more than 100 questions is provided to your professor, which includes questions from practice tests (self-check quizzes). 

MASTERY LEARNING  Your professor may use mastery learning on the test.  Mastery learning on tests is a learning tool.  In this case, look up the answers to the questions and do the research you need to learn the information from your course materials or the Internet.  You must complete your own test, but feel free to discuss the questions and your research with peers.  If your professor requires mastery learning on the exam, you will be able to take the test over--each version will be different.  If your professor requires competency mastery, you will need a grade of 80% or higher correct by Friday of Unit/Week 8 to pass the course.  See exam study guide in Unit 8. 

Copyright:

This material is protected by copyright and cannot be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:5/12/2006 12:29:39 PM