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Required Texts: Boyle, M.P. & Schmierbach, M. (2015). Applied communication research methods: Getting started as a researcher. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-7656-4233-2 (paperback) 978-1-315-71864-4 (ebook)

Strongly Recommended Text: APA Manual, Sixth Edition

You will need email and internet access for this course.

Objectives (in no particular order):

Class requirements:






Research papers: Each student will be required to orally present the results of four research pilots and write three research papers. All four will be on the same/similar topic of human communication/organizational behavior and will utilize the same essential literature review (15 credible sources). However, they will use different methods of gathering and analyzing data. The first research oral presentation will use a qualitative approach; the second research papers will let you practice observational methods (content analysis) with statistical analysis; the third paper will use survey/scale methods with statistical analysis; and the final with be a paper using pseudo-experimental research methods with statistical analysis. Class members can be used as participants (if appropriate for the population of interest) and can help recruit other participants. Papers must be in APA style, 15-20 pp. (25 pp. max) with cover page, abstract and no identifying self references within the text of the paper.

Research Paper Guidelines

Research Paper Rubric

Also check out the services available from Helmke Library

If you intend or want to be able to submit your paper for a conference or publication, you MUST complete and receive human subjects permission. You can find information on human subjects as well as the forms to complete under human subjects on the Purdue Human Subjects website.

Sharing results: Each student is also required to share the findings of the lit review and each pilot in class on the day it is due. Limited use of ppt or other visual aid is allowed for tables, images, etc.

Class participation (homework and in-class exercises): Unless you are already very conversant with research methods and statistical procedures, your attendance and completion of homework assignments is essential to your learning as they offer you the chance to practice the skills you will need in your research papers both in this class and out. Please let me know when you have questions. There are many useful websites on statistics (some are listed under spcecific topics in the agenda below). Here is a general stats site:

Perpetual Handbook: Each group will be assigned one of the three quantitative methods to write a "notes for next class" handbook. This handbook should include information, tips, and resources that you feel were/could be useful in completing that particular methods' data gathering, analysis, and write-up. It should not duplicate information provided by your textbook or me but can draw attention to any of those that are particularly useful or that you feel confused the issue

General Class Structure:


Tentative Agenda

Date Topics



Homework Due by Monday following class



Research: What is it and what's the point?

Read the parts of Chapters 1, 2 and Chapter 3 you need to understand concepts and answers questions here:

Understanding the research process



Theories, Literature Review and H/RQ

Writing the argument for the H/RQ: theories and literature?


5-7 sources for your topic including one empirical research study  

Qualitative Methods and Ethics

Chapter 12 Qualitative Research Method

Discussion of Paper 1

Chapter 4 Ethics of Research

Potential outline for lit review with at least five references, leading to H/RQ



Qualitative Analysis

Chapter 13 Qualitative Data Analysis





Content Analysis Method

Chapter 11 Content Analysis - method and intercoder reliability

Scott’s pi - (bring a calculator)

Discussion of Paper 2

Perpetual Handbook Content Analysis

Research Team: Literature Review and Method One Oral presentation Due Intercoder reliability homework

Content Analysis Analysis

Chapter 15 Content Analysis - data analysis - read to page 376.

One-Sample Chi-Square and Chi-square independent

To check your work with chi-square

Set up statistics for Paper Two

Research paper editing marks and comments

Girl Power: Literature Review and Method One Oral presentation Due


Chi-Square homework







Survey/Scale Method and alternative coding

Alternative method for coding data: Christa Jennings - bring your data!!

Chapter 8: Sampling

Confidence Interval

Chapter 6: Reliability and Validity

Article on scale creation: Measuring Student Engagement in the Online Course

Perpetual Handbook Survey

Red Pencil Collection: Literature Review and Method One Oral presentation Due



Survey/scale methods

Chapter 8: Sampling

Confidence Interval

Chapter 6: Reliability and Validity

Discussion of Paper Three

Research Team: Content Analysis Paper Due

Extra credit homework - Confidence Interval Exercise




Spring Break - no class    






Survey/scale methods (cont).

Article on scale creation: Measuring Student Engagement in the Online Course

Scale Design

Cronbach Alpha

Survey/scale Analysis

Descriptive Statistics: Chapter 14: pp. 332-341

website for descriptive stats


Girl Power: Content Analysis Paper Due

Cronbach alpha homework

Central tendency homework











Survey/scale Analysis

Survey/scale analysis

Chapter 15 pp. 381-385- Correlation questions you should be able to answer

More indepth information on correlations

Chapter 15 Data Analysis 376-378: t-tests

t-test formulas

website for t-test

another helpful website for t-test

Set up statistics for Paper Three


Red Pencil Collection: Content Analysis Paper Due


Correlation homework

Website to find p values for correlation homework

ttest homework

ttest extra credit



Experimental Methods

Experimental Methods: Chapter 9 pp. 211-227- general overview

Read handout pp. 396-406 - which experimental design will you use? Be prepared to discuss this.

Discussion of Paper Four

Perpetual Handbook Experimental

Research Team:: Survey Paper Due

Red Pencil: Perpetual Handbook due for Content Analysis








Experimental Analysis

Experimental data analysis: Chapter 15 pp. 378-381: ANOVA


ANOVA online calculator :)

Another ANOVA calculator

F-Table for critical values

Using SPSS for ANOVAs (not required :)

Set up statistics for Paper Four


Girl Power: Survey Paper Due



ANOVA homework



Red Pencil Collection: Survey Paper Due  



Research Team: Experimental Paper Method Due

Girl Power: Perpetual Handbook Due for Survey Method




Girl Power: Experimental Paper Due




6:15 - 8:15 pm (probably)

Which method worked best for your topic?

Red Pencil Collection: Experimental Paper Due

Research Team: Perpetual Handbook Due for Experimental Method


COM 582 Descriptive and Experimental Research in Communication


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Questions? Email Dr. Dixson