CA516 Qual Meth of Comm Research

for S2P 2008

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CA 516 Qual Meth of Comm Research


S2P 2008 DL


Dufresne, Jean M.W.


Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


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Course Description:
A study of the processes used by social researchers to describe human communication. The class will emphasize ethnography, field research and interviewing for data gathering and analysis. 3:0:3

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. 1. Examine the philosophical assumptions that inform the naturalistic/qualitative research methods used in the communication field.
  2. 2. Identify the rationales for selecting naturalistic/qualitative research methods to study communication.
  3. involved in the planning and designing of naturalistic/qualitative communication research
  4. 4. Identify different ways to determine categories for content analysis.
  5. 5.Explain key concerns for those doing participant observation
  6. 6.Develop questions for interviews and focus groups.
  7. 7. Explain various methodological strategies for recording, managing, analyzing, and interpreting qualitative data.
  8. 8.Design a study using naturalistic/qualitative methods.
  9. 9. Assess the important of the ethical considerations in naturalistic/qualitative research.
  10. 10.Evaluate naturalistic/qualitative research studies.
Class Assessment:

Papers/presentation – 360 points                                           

Study Topic --                 20 points
Research Evaluations --   40 points
Ethics paper--                20 points
Method presentation --   80 points
Article reviews--            40 points
Study Design--              20 points
Practice – Interviews--   20 points
Methods Write--            20 points
Prospectus--               100 points

Participation Homework – 120 points

Final Exam – 120 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late Work:

All work is due by 5:00 pm central standard time on the due date. Any work turned in after that time will be docked 10%. I will NOT accept any work later than 24 hours after the due date. SO, plan ahead, do not wait until the last minute to do assignments, and do not ask for special consideration from me because you can not find resources at the last minute.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Student/Teacher Responsibilities: As a graduate student you must accept responsibility for your own actions. Readings, preparing for the test, completing assignments on time, and contributing to discussion are responsibilities that I expect you to fulfill for this course. My responsibility is to given you my best teaching effort, create a positive learning climate, and to challenge you. 

As we work through the course we will discuss topics that many of you may disagree on. Everyone’s responsibility here is to be respectful of the opinions and ideas of others. You do not have to agree with anyone but you do have to express your disagreement in a useful, respectful way. I want everyone to honest about their viewpoints, but be respectful of others’ views as well.

Please Note: Graduate school is more demanding and rigorous than undergraduate work and the expectations for your work are higher. At this level, turning work in late and excuse making does not work. Get the work done to best of your ability. I am happy to help anyone needing it BUT I will not listen to complaining or whining.   

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Schedule





Intro to course/qualitative methods

Evaluating research

Picking a method to present

Lindloff, chs. 1&2

Warren ch. 1

-Research article evaluation#1 due


Setting up your study

Lindloff, Chs. 3&5

Wolcott 1,2

-Ethics paper due


Setting up you study cont.

Methods of research

Lindloff, Chs. 4&6

Warren Ch. 3

-Study design Due

-Interview and Focus group articles reviews #2,#3 due


Methods of research

-Student presentations- Method Report


Handling data

Lindloff pp. 209-232

Warren Ch. 5

-Your methods paper due

-Participant observation article review #4 due


Interpreting data

Lindloff, 233 -246

Warren Ch. 9

-Evaluating research II due

-Practice (interview methods) due

-methods write due



Lindloff, Ch. 9

Wolcott, Chs. 3-6

-Prospectus due


Wrapping up the semester

-Final Exam



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 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 24-26


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 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 24-26

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 in excess of four (4) class periods, in a 16-week semester (or 2, in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Dean, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified by mail that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 28

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:3/29/2008 12:09:14 PM