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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Communications (COMM)

COMM 304 Mass Communication Research (3) Introduction to research methods in mass communications.

COMM 304 Mass Communication Research (3)

This course provides an introduction to the logic and methods of social science research as it is employed to study topics in media. Students will be introduced to key principles of social scientific reasoning, including aspects of concept explication and effective measurement, evaluation and demonstration of causality, and reliance on empirical data. Core standards of evidence are presented for both quantitative and qualitative data, but a focus is placed on statistical evidence and reasoning. Topics include effective question wording, ethical treatment of research participants, experimental research designs, sampling and survey research, content analysis, and sound interviewing techniques. In addition, students address key ideas in statistical analysis, including principles of inference, common descriptive statistics, and widely used tests of both bivariate and multivariate relationships. Presentation of this material includes training in effective use of appropriate statistical software. Based on this training, students should be able to contribute to sound research on media-related topics in both the academic and professional environments.

In addition, significant attention is paid to evaluating research done by others. Students read and assess original research and consider the merits of such research as well as its applicability to novel studies. Based on this training, students should be prepared to better understand the results presented in social scientific research, particularly within the field of media studies, and apply this knowledge to future coursework. Beyond this, students learn how to critically evaluate quantitative research when presented in media content, such as public opinion polling, and when making professional judgments about sound organizational strategies as a response to research conducted by others. At the end of this course, students should be better prepared to engage with the increasingly complex array of statistical information available to modern companies and citizens.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2013
Prerequisite: 3 credits fromSTAT 200, SCM 200 orPSYCH 200 ; and 3 credits fromCOMM 100, COMM 110, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 260W, COMM 320 orCOMM 370

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.