Foundations of Communication Research Syllabus

COURSE COMPACT

Faculty: Communication and Media Studies                                            Department: Journalism & Media Studies

Course Code: CMS 205                                         Unit(s): 2                      Semester: First

Course Title: Foundations of Communication Research

Lecturer:                                                       Programme: B.Sc.

 

 (A). BRIEF OVERVIEW OF COURSE

This is designed to introduce students to the basic methods of research in communication. It also exposes students to the principles of research design, instrumentation, data collection and analysis techniques, including how to apply them in real life research study. Students will learn the basic skills in gathering, organizing, interpreting and presenting research information using relevant methods. The course will also introduce students to the rudiments of writing project works and research papers, including various modes of analysis of research findings as well as the application of statistical packages such as the SPSS to data analysis.

 

(B). COURSE OBJECTIVES/GOALS

By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  1. Meaning of basic communication research concepts
  2. Major research methods (experimental, survey, content analysis/textual analysis, etc.)
  3. Skills necessary for conducting communication research
  4. The ability to clearly communicate, both orally and in writing, the findings of original communication research to a lay audience
  5. The structure and contents of project research work, including other research papers
  6. The basic differences between formal and informal research; and primary and secondary data, quantitative and qualitative research approaches; among others
  7. Basic data-gathering techniques; difference between data gathering techniques and research methods
  8. Importance/Functions of communication research
  9. The strengths and weaknesses of different research methods
  10. How to formulate research questions, objectives and hypotheses, develop research instruments, and collect data using these methods
  11. How to analyze and synthesize data obtained by these research methods
  12. How to apply research findings to address real-world issues and research problems
  13. How to examine research problems through primary and secondary research

 (C). METHOD OF LECTURE DELIVERY

  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions

(D). COURSE OUTLINE

1. Introduction

What is research?

Functions of research

Characteristics of social science/behavioural research

Research in communication studies

2. Research Approaches

Qualitative

Quantitative

Pragmatic/Mixed Method

Advocacy/ Participatory

Explanatory

Descriptive

Exploratory

3. Communication Research

Meaning of communication research

Functions of communication research

Stages of communication research

4. Basic Research Methods

Survey

Content analysis

Focus group discussion

In-depth/Intensive interview

Observation

Experimentation and Quasi-experimentation

Case study

Strengths and weaknesses of different research methods

5. Data Gathering Instruments in Research

Questionnaire

Interviewing guide

Focus group discussion guide

In-depth interviewing guide

Screener Questionnaire

6. Methodology

Population

Sample size and sampling techniques

Data gathering and analysis methods

Validity/Reliability

7. Basic Steps In Research Writing

Topic selection

Delimiting the topic

Determining the feasibility of the study

Analyzing the situation and defining the problem

Establishing research objectives

Writing a research proposal

Conducting formal research

8. Writing a Project Research Work

Chapter 1- Introduction: Statement of the problem, purpose of study, significance of the study, research questions and/or hypotheses and/or null hypotheses

Chapter 11- Literature review and theoretical framework

Chapter 111- Methodology: Population and sampling, instrumentation, procedure and time frame, analysis plan, reliability and validity, scope and limitations, assumptions

Chapter 1V- Results: Description of the sample, analyses

Chapter V- Conclusion and recommendations: Discussion and recommendations

9. References

Different styles of referencing

Close look at APA Style of citing references

10. Class activities and Assignments

Practical classroom exercises (Research activities/Application of research findings to address real-world issues and research problems)

(E). RECOMMENDED TEXTS

Wimmer, R.D & Dominick J.R (2003). Mass Media Research: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Rubin, R. B., Rubin, A. M., Haridakis, P. M. & Piele, L. J. (2010). Communication research: Strategies and sources.(7th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

 

(F). IMPORTANT LINKS

Importance of Communication Research

Importance of Research, Aims and Motives

Four main approaches to research

Communication research methods

 

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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