Course Description and Objectives Catalog description:

 “Research methods and ethics, from design to data analysis and report writing.” Social science research allow scholars to make sense of the social world, to discover why people think and act like they do and how important institutions act. The main purpose of this class is to provide you with a broad introduction to the methodological foundations and tools to study mass communications. But a secondary purpose is to convince you that the process of scientific discovery can be fun. Most of the semester will focus on the fundamentals of quantitative social science and applied research, although we will also explore qualitative research. You will learn how to identify problems to study, develop hypotheses and research questions, specify independent and dependent variables, check for the validity and reliability of studies and design research projects. You will be exposed to the broad range of designs used in communication research from laboratory and field experiments, surveys, content analysis, focus groups and in-depth interviewing. Specifically, at the end of this course, you should be able to:

 1. Define research; explain and apply research terms; describe the research process and the principle activities, skills and ethics associated with the research process.

2. Explain the relationship between theory and research.

3. Describe and compare the major quantitative and qualitative research methods in mass communication research.

4. Propose a research study and justify the theory as well as the methodological decisions, including sampling and measurement.

5. Understand the importance of research ethics and integrate research ethics into the research process. 6. Be able to assess and critique a published journal article that uses one of the primary research methods in the field.

 7. Be able to construct an effective questionnaire that employs several types of survey questions.

 8. Construct an effective research proposal that will serve as the launching point for the study you conduct next semester.