CMM 311: Research Methods in Communication
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 isconducted 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.

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