CA382 Communication Research Methods

for S1J 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


CA 382 Communication Research Methods


S1J 2012 PV


Vasquez, Ashley


Adjunct Instructor of Communication Arts


Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication - Park University
Masters of Arts Degree in Communication and Leadership - Park University

Office Location

By Appointment

Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

January 16 - March 5

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours



Introducing Communication Research: Paths of Inquiry by Donald F. Treadwell
ISBN: 978-1-4129-4457-1

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

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.
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Course Description:
CA382 Communication Research Methods - This course focuses on the most frequently used communicationresearch methods in the areas of journalism, communication studies, and public relations. Students will be introduced to the qualitative and quantitative communication ressearch methods including content analysis, participant observation, interviewing, textual analysis and experimental research.It will emphasize understanding communication research reports and developing research and writing skills appropriate for both communication professionals and students seeking advanced degrees. The coursemay utilize service learning. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
My educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, examinations, writing assignments and more. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the ethical issues involved in a research proposal.
  2. Compare and contrast qualitative and quantitative research questions, methods, and reports.
  3. Develop a research proposal appropriate to their major.
  4. Collect, analyze, and interpret data using multiple methods.
  5. Write effective research questions/hypotheses.
  6. Select the method best suited to research methods/goals.
  7. Write an effective research report in formats appropriate to their major.
  8. Evaluate communication research in terms of validity and reliability.
  9. Apply appropriate statistical tests to specific communication research questions.
  10. Evaluate how service learning has affected their understanding of communication, communication research, and their community.
  11. Effectively uses APA style.
  12. Demonstrates library research ability.
Class Assessment:
Class assessment will be based upon participation, exams, papers and a final project.


900 - 1000 - A
800 - 899 - B
700 - 799 - C
600 - 699 - D
0 - 599 - F
Exams - 25 percent of total grade
Mid-Term Exam - a mid-term exam will be administered night 4 of class that will cover all material from the course to date. Total points: 100, 10 percent of total grade
Final Exam - a final exam will be administered night 8 of class that will cover all material from the course. Total points: 150, 15 percent of total grade.
Core Assessment Project - 30 percent of total grade
Senior Project Prospectus Paper - a typed, double-spaced paper no less than 15 pages in length will be due at the end of the semester. The paper will include a literature review of applicable theories, a study proposal, method and data description section, method and data analysis section, and a timeline for project completion. Total points: 300
Participation - 25 percent of total grade
Weekly in class participation - points will be awarded each week for being on time, participating actively in class activities and lecture. Total points: 150, 15 percent of total grade
Class project participation - points will be awarded for completing assigned portion of class project including cooresponding with classmates and instructor. This project will include surveys, interview and a focus group organized by the class that involves the Park University community at the Independence campus center. Total points: 100, 10 percent of total grade
Written work - 20 percent of total grade
Journal article summaries - A total of five summaries, typed and double-spaced and at least two pages in length, will be due during this course that have one of the following research methods (each summaries must have a different method):  1) survey research, 2) content analysis 3) experimental research, 4) focus groups, 5) interviews, 6) participant observation, 7) rhetorical criticism and 8) either critical studies or conversation and discourse analysis

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late Work
All course work is expected to be completed on time. If you know you will not be able to complete an assignment before the assignment due date during particular class period, talk to me or email me with at least 24 hours notice and you will be allowed to turn the assignment in late. The instructor must receive all authorized late assignments before the beginning of the next class period to avoid a 10% grade deduction.

The 24-hour Rule
As mentioned above, anytime you need to schedule an alternative day to turn in an assignment, you must contact me 24 hours prior to the assignment deadline you are trying to avoid. Additionally, if you are dissatisfied with a grade on an assignment, you must wait 24 hours to talk to me about it. There are no exceptions. In case of sudden illness on a day a major assignment is due, you must contact me, or at least leave a message, before the class meets, not the next class period.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Group Work
Often during the semester we will be working in groups. Get your group members’ phone numbers and call them when you are absent to get notes, assignments, etc. When an activity or assignment is designated as a group activity, collaboration is expected. When an activity is not specifically designated as a group activity you are to be the only individual to work on that assignment. If you collaborate on an activity not designated as a group activity and there is enough evidence of that collaboration to catch my attention you and your collaborators will receive a 0 for that assignment. I will neither ask for, nor accept, any explanations.

Locating Materials
All classroom materials including assignments and lectures notes will be provided at Students are encouraged to use these resources as well as keep track of their grades.
Word Processing
All assignments in this course should be typed and double-spaced. Assignments should also be provided to the instructor on hard copy format.

Communication Devices
All communication devices must be turned off, or set on silent, during the class session. No phone calls or text messages are to be sent or received without the instructor’s permission. If you are expecting an important message, notify the instructor in advance. You must have permission from the instructor to answer messages during class.

Class Cancellations
If class is canceled for any reason, the class period following the canceled class will cover the material that should have been covered on the canceled day. Be sure to check your Park University email for any canceled class information and what to expect when you return after a canceled class.

Instructor Availability
Please feel free to discuss papers, presentations, and any problems you are having. I am available by email at least once per day and often more. Also, I will provide students with a cell phone number to reach me in case of emergencies since I do not have a permanent office. However, abuse of this privilege – forcing me to change my number – will result in limited email contact only in the future.
Extra Credit
At various times during the semester, extra credit opportunities will be given. You must have at least a C grade at the time the extra credit is recorded to be able to attempt the extra credit assignment. No extra credit will be allowed during the last two weeks of class.

Student/Teacher Responsibilities
• As a college student you must accept responsibility for your own actions. Reading for class, preparing for tests, completing assignments on time, and contributing to class discussions are the major responsibilities I expect from you as your part of the learning process.  
• My responsibility is to give you my best teaching effort, to create a positive learning climate, and to challenge you.  It takes work from both of us to make this a worthwhile experience. I vow to do my very best for you and if you have any suggestions for improvement, those are welcome in a private setting.
• Additionally, at times we will discuss controversial topics and have people who disagree with each other. You and I both must remember that while each of us has a right to our own opinion, we must respect the right of others to have differing opinions. Calling someone or some idea “stupid” creates a defensive communication climate and hampers the ability of all of us to learn. Think before you criticize.  
• Finally, come talk to me when you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the class. It is less frustrating for both of us if you ask questions before the assignment is due, rather than after it has affected your performance. Additionally, if someone in the class or I make a comment you are uncomfortable with, please contact me immediately and first. Apologies and policy changes are best handled as soon as possible.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Tentative Schedule - Subject to Change

Week Topic Reading Assignment Due

Week 1


 Getting Started, Ethics

Chapters 1-3



Week 2

 Reading Research, Measurements and Statistics

Chapters 4-6

- Journal Summary 1


Week 3

Sampling, Surveys and Experiments

Chapters 7-9

- Journal Summary 2
- Research Plan Form

Week 4

Observation, Mid-Term Exam Chapter 10
- Literature Review due
- Mid-Term Exam in class

Week 5 

Content Analysis, Start class project

Chapter 11

 - Methods sections
- Journal Summary 3

Week 6

Writing Research, continue class project

Chapter 12

- Journal Summary 4 and 5
Week 7
Class project completion None
- Community Project Analysis Completed

Week 8

Final Exam Final Exam
- Prospectus Final Draft Due
- Final Exam in-class

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
If you have a question about whether you may or may not be plagiarizing, just ask! There are some significant gray areas in plagiarism and there are no “stupid” questions. It is always safe to side with caution

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 "F".
  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.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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:11/21/2011 8:18:55 AM