Fall 1999

Dr. Lynne Kelly                                                                                             Harry Gray Center E216
Office Hours: T 10:00-11:30, R 1:30-3  & by appt.                                        768-4647 or 4633
Email: kelly@mail.hartford.edu

     How often do you pick up the newspaper or turn on the TV and learn about some new study that links eating a high-fiber diet to reduced risk of cancer, or having a drink of alcohol each day to lower cholesterol?  How many times have you seen a survey in a popular magazine about dating habits or sexual practices or friendships?  As a student or as an employee of a company, have you ever been asked to complete a questionnaire or participate in an experiment?  Every day of the year, people are conducting research, some of which you hear about in the popular media.  Some of this research affects your life in direct ways, such as when the FDA allows a pharmaceutical company to release a new drug or pulls frozen spinach off the supermarket shelves because samples contained maggots (I didn't make this up!).  Sometimes you make life choices--to use condoms, to stop smoking, to take vitamin C, to use some sure-fire "pick up" line--because you were influenced by some new study you heard about.
 Do you know what's behind the findings that appear in the news?  How carefully were these studies designed and conducted?  Were the samples large enough to have confidence in the conclusions?  In CMM 311 you'll learn enough about the research process to be able to ask critical questions about studies and to be able to conduct your own research.  Specifically, this course is designed to familiarize you with various research methods useful for the study of human communication and with the process of designing and conducting research.  Also we will examine issues and problems that confront the communication researcher.
     The course will be conducted through lecture, discussion, and participation in research activities.  Your participation in class is expected.  In order for you to participate effectively in class, it is important that you do the readings. You also need to bring your workbook to class every day.  I will distribute these in a few days. You will be assigned to a "learning group" which will meet regularly to assist you in learning course material.

OBJECTIVES:
1. To familiarize you with various research methodologies and the assumptions, advantages, and limitations of each.
2. To familiarize you with the steps in conducting research.
3. To stimulate your thinking about philosophical and ethical issues and problems that confront communication researchers.
4. To teach you the process of research report writing.
5. To help you become a more critical reader of research.
6. To familiarize you with the major communication journals and how to use them.
 
TEXT:
Babbie, E. (1998).  The practice of social research (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Rubin, R.B., Rubin, A.M., & Piele, L.J. (1996).  Communication research: Strategies
     and sources (4th ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

REQUIREMENTS:
1. Quizzes.  There will be regular quizzes on the reading and lecture material.  Dates are indicated on the attached schedule of classes.
2. Exams.  There will be two exams on the dates indicated on the attached schedule of classes.
3.  Learning Group and Journal.  You will be assigned to a group for the semester.  The primary purpose of the group is to help each member learn and understand course material.  Consider it a study group of sorts except you will meet every week, not just to prepare for exams.  Each week that your group meets, you need to select a person to take notes on what happens in the group.  I'll collect the notes on Fridays and return them on Mondays.  Details will be presented in class.
4. Short Papers.  You will write 3 short papers, ranging from 3 to 6 typed pages.  These papers are designed to develop your understanding of course concepts.  Details of these assignments will be presented in class.
5. Final Paper.  You will prepare a final paper of about 5-7 typed pages.    Details of this assignment will be presented in class.
6. Other Work.  You will be given some short assignments from your workbook.  The purpose of these assignments is to help you better understand course material.

COURSE POLICIES:
1. There are no make-up quizzes.  I will drop your lowest quiz grade so if you miss a quiz, that will be the one grade I drop.
2. Due dates:  Papers must be handed in on time.  For each day that a paper is late, your grade will be lowered 1 letter grade.
3. There will be no make-up times for the exams except in the rare case of serious illness or accident.  Exams must be taken at the scheduled time.
4. Please proofread your papers.  When I correct errors in one paper, I expect that your next paper will not have the same errors.  There is a writing lab available in Auerbach if you need help with your writing.
5. All assignments must be completed to receive a passing grade in the course.
6. Instructions for assignments must be followed.  Failure to do so will result in an "F" on that assignment.
 

GRADING:
Quizzes . . . . . . . . . .  .15%
Short papers. . . . . . . . 30%
Final Paper . . . . . . . .  20%
Exams . . . . . . . . . . . . 25%
Learning Journal . . . . .10%
Other work. . . . . . . . .  5%

TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE:

W 9/1      Introduction to the course; what is research?
                Assignment:  Read B Ch. 1; find a newspaper or magazine article that
                 describes a study, read it, and bring it to class on Friday.

F 9/3        The nature of social scientific inquiry; relationship of theory and research;
                  formation of learning groups.
                 Assignment:  Read article distributed in class and write answers to the
                  questions; read B Ch. 2, RR&P Ch. 1.
                  DUE:  Bring in article from newpaper or magazine.

W 9/8         Discuss answers to questions about the article; continue the relationship of
                  theory and research; the nature of communication research.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 3 and pp. 74-75 in workbook
                  DUE: Written answers to questions about article

F 9/10        Discuss "In Defense of Reason"; the nature of causation.
                  Assignment: ; do assignment on p. 1 of workbook.
                  DUE: Learning Journal #1

M 9/13       Quiz #1; the nature of causation continued.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 4

W 9/15     The research process; assign paper #1.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch. 2 & 3.

F 9/17     The research process continued; the literature search.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch. 4
                  Due: Workbook p.1; Learning Journal #2.

M 9/20     Electronic data bases and the Internet.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 5 & workbook pp. 70-71
 
W 9/22      Conceptualization; workbook activity.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch. 5 & 6
                  Due: Paper #1.

F 9/24      Class meets in Hillyer 251
                  DUE: Learning Journal #3.

M 9/27     Reliability and validity; workbook activity.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 6; do workbook assignment on p. 3.

W 9/29     Quiz #2; Operationalization; go over workbook assignment.
                Assignment: Read B. Ch 7 & RR&P Ch. 7
                  DUE: Workbook p. 3 assignment.

F 10/1     Operationalization continued; types of scales
                  DUE: Learning Journal #4.

M 10/4     Meet with learning groups.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 8 (pp. 191-219)

W 10/6     Sampling; workbook activity on p. 5.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch. 8 & p. 73 in workbook
 
F 10/8     Fall Break: No Class

M 10/11     Quiz #3; sampling continued.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch 9.

W 10/13     Modes of observation: experimental research.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch. 9

F 10/15     Finish experiments; assign paper #2.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch.10 & RR&P Ch. 10
                  DUE: Learning Journal #5.
 
M 10/18     Modes of observation: survey research.
                  Assignment: Read workbook pp. 22-27.

W 10/20     Finish survey research; topics as needed.

F 10/22     Midterm
                  Assignment: Read B. Ch. 11 & RR&P Ch. 11
 
M 10/25     Modes of observation: field research.
                  Assignment: Read RR&P Ch 12
 
W 10/27     Field research continued.
                  DUE: Paper #2
 
F 10/29     Topics as needed; meet with learning groups.
                  Assignment: Read B. Ch. 12
                  DUE: Learning Journal #6.

M 11/1     Modes of observation: Unobtrusive research.
                  Assignment: Read workbook pp. 17-21.

W 11/3     Quiz #4; unobtrusive research continued; assign paper #3.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 13

F 11/5     No Class--NCA convention

M 11/8     Modes of observation: Evaluation research.
 
W 11/10     Evaluation research continued.
 
F 11/12     Topics as needed.
                  Assignment: Read B. Ch. 14
                  DUE: Learning Journal #7.
 
M 11/15     Introduction to data analysis.
                  DUE: Paper #3

W 11/17     Statistics; assign final paper.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 15
 
F 11/19      Statistics continued.
                  Assignment: Read workbook p. 69; do statistics homework problem.
                  DUE: Learning Journal #8.

M 11/22     Quiz #5; statistics continued.
                  No learning journal due this week.

Thanksgiving Break!!
 
M 11/29     Statistics continued.
                  Assignment: Read B Ch. 17.

W 12/1     Applying what you've learned: reading research articles.

F 12/3     Applying what you've learned: reading research articles; review for exam.
                  DUE: Learning Journal #9.

M 12/6     Exam #2.

W 12/8     Work on final paper.

F 12/10     Work on final paper.

M 12/13      Discussion of final paper; summary and course evaluation.
                  DUE: Final paper.