Saturday , December 2 2023

Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Foundations of Communication Research (CMS 205)


With the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria, the face of communication education in the country has changed. The programme has transited into a full college/faculty while individual courses have adapted to the change. While several new courses now exist in the seven new departments, some of the courses you used to know before have also taken a new shape. We have done a thorough research on what these courses offer in universities across the world; and we have provided prototype syllabus for students to study ahead. This is also to assist lecturers who might be facing new challenges with several new courses to have an idea of what the syllabus of each course offers.


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.



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.



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


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


1. Introduction

What is research?

Functions of research

Characteristics of social science/behavioural research

Research in communication studies

2. Research Approaches



Pragmatic/Mixed Method

Advocacy/ Participatory




3. Communication Research

Meaning of communication research

Functions of communication research

Stages of communication research

4. Basic Research Methods


Content analysis

Focus group discussion

In-depth/Intensive interview


Experimentation and Quasi-experimentation

Case study

Strengths and weaknesses of different research methods

5. Data Gathering Instruments in Research


Interviewing guide

Focus group discussion guide

In-depth interviewing guide

Screener Questionnaire

6. Methodology


Sample size and sampling techniques

Data gathering and analysis methods


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)


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.



Importance of Communication Research

Importance of Research, Aims and Motives

Four main approaches to research

Communication research methods


READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Intro to Communication I (CMS 101)

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READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: History of Nigerian Media (CMS 103)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Traditional African Communication Systems (CMS 105)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Editing & Graphics of Communication (CMS 203)

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About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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