CA517 Exper Methods of Comm Research

for U1P 2008

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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


U1P 2008 DL


Dr. Aitken, Joan Evelyn


Professor, Communication Arts

Office Hours

By appointment


Web Page

Class Days


Class Time


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.


To begin, login a eCollege using your Park ID and password here

Once you login, select the appropriate term and course.  NOTICE THE ARROW with the + and - that must be activated to indicate whether the semester is open.

Go to the Q/A Start Here Link on the lower left of the eCollege page.  For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email eCollegeHelpDesk@parkonline.orgor call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). 

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
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
A study of the basic principles used to construct experimental designs, test hypotheses, and apply methods of behavioral science to communication.3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
This course is designed to help prepare you for advanced research.  Theoretical and pragmatic approaches are combined.  Assignments are designed to provide a challenge and engagement in the learning process.

I believe in mastery learning, so I expect students to revise their work to meet high standards.

Class Assessment:

EXAMPLE ASSIGNMENT WEIGHT  (See online gradebook for exact values.)

1. Core Assessment is a real or hypothetical experimental or quantitative research proposal (prospectus) appropriate for a Master's Degree thesis or project in Communication and Leadership. = 40% (e.g., 40 points).   This assignment is the top priority of the course and segments need to be submitted each week.

2. Minor Assignments = 42%

Journal Review:  12 points (2 points each weeks 1-6)

Learning Activities Discussion Board 30


3. Final Exam = 18%

In an online section, see the grey box in the exam for instructions, number of times you can access, and time limit BEFORE YOU OPEN THE EXAM.

Alternatives Welcome! If you have an alternative assignment you'd like to do in this course, just make arrangements with your professor by week two.

Are you a holistic thinker? Excellent, then approach the assignments from your perspective and feel free to be creative. Because your professor uses mastery learning, if there's a problem with an assignment, you'll simply need to revise the assignment to meet learning objectives.

Are you a linear thinker? Excellent, there are step-by-step guidelines you can follow for each assignment. Let your professor know if you have questions.


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

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Be on time.  Please read the information at this link:

Submit each assignment somewhere--preferably in eCollege--by the deadline in order to receive a grade.  There are multiple places where you might submit an assignment.  Just make sure you help your professor find the assignment or resubmit in the preferred location within a couple days.  Unless otherwise specified, submit assignments during the due week, with everything submitted before midnight Sunday.  Week 8 assignments need to be submitted by Friday to provide time for grading.

The core assessment is due week 6.

Acceptable Formats

Acceptable formats include Microsoft Word (file extension .doc), rich text format (extension .rft), text format (.txt), or PDF (.pdf). You can probably use Word's print function to create a pdf file, which has the advantage of being unable to transmit a virus. I cannot open other formats.

Naming Files

Name electronic files beginning with your last name, then an assignment description, then version:


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

See expectations here:

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. Read Q/A Start in lower left (online students).

  2. Begin assignments due week two.

  3. Participate in learning activities online (e.g., discussion board, chat).

  4. Decide on a research topic for a hypothetical experimental research proposal. 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.

DUE in eCOLLEGE DROPBOX FOR ONLINE COURSE: For Core Project (Research Proposal): Hypothetical experimental research question or hypothesis and operational definitions and reference list of 20 quantitative, peer-reviewed research articles in communication and leadership. Use Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCO), click here.

Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat).

Week 3. Get Your Feet Wet!

Analysis, Interpretation, & Measurement


Read APA ch 1

DUE in eCOLLEGE DROPBOX FOR ONLINE COURSE: Proposed hypothetical experiment outline of content.

Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat).

Week 4. Watch Your Step!

Writing An Experimental Research Proposal.

Read APA ch 2-5

Review Sumser, chapter 5.

DUE in  eCOLLEGE DROPBOX FOR ONLINE COURSE: Evolving rough draft of hypothetical experimental research proposal.

Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat).


Week 5. Just Hard Work!

Hypothesis Testing

Sumser, ch 6 & 8.


Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat).

Week 6. Stretch Yourself!

Research Design

Review APA 5


Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat).

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

Week 7. The Summit!


Measurement, Observation, And Data Collection


Complete the final exam this week.

Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat), as appropriate.

Week 8. Heading Home

Proposal Defense



  2. DUE IN CLASS OR DROPBOX: Revision due in class or Friday (online) (proposal will be accepted if previously submitted by the week six due date).

  3. PROPOSAL DEFENSE: PRESENT your proposal to the rest of the class. Presentation due in class or Wednesday online. The entire class meeting will focus on the presentations. Feel free to invite guests to attend our onground class meeting. Give a formal 15 minute presentation explaining and defending your experimental research proposal. Online students can use PowerPoint to create slides and record sound and upload the PowerPoint in the discussion section. Let your professor know if you have difficulty with eCollege.

  4. Participate in learning activities, whether onground or online (e.g., discussion board, chat), as appropriate.

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

  6. If you missed a minor assignment earlier, complete additional work this week.

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
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 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
You will need to be active in the course each week.

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:5/12/2008 3:01:42 PM