SemesterSpring Semester, 2020
DepartmentInternational Master's Program in International Communication Studies, First Year
Course NameResearch Methods
InstructorHAN YI-HSING
Course TypeRequired
Course Objective
Course Description
Course Schedule

The following schedule is an approximate one for readings, assignments and tests. Because we will take time to discuss writing samples in class, the schedule may vary. You are responsible for keeping up with announced changes to this schedule and for meeting assigned deadlines.




Reading Assignment


Feb. 19

Course introduction/discussion of possible research topics/groups/


Feb. 26

Ch. 1 An Introduction to Inquiry


Mar. 4

Asking research questions about communication (writing research questions and hypotheses)


Mar. 11

Finding, reading, and using research

Ch. 2 Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research


Mar. 18

Designing valid communication research

Ch. 4 “Research Design.” text


Mar. 25

Observing and measuring communication variables

Ch. 5 Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement

Homework: operational definitions


April 1

Conducting a search of the literature.

Homework: writing a problem statement/introduction


April 8

Indexes, Scales, and Typologies

Ch. 6 Indexes, Scales, and Typologies.


April 15

Mid-term and research project progress report

Ch. 3 Th Ethics and Politics of Social Research


April 22

Experimental research

Ch. 8 Experiments


April 29

Survey research

Ch. 9 Survey Research


May 6

Qualitative Research

Ch. 10 Qualitative Field Research


May 13

Describing quantitative data and inferring from data

JASP demo

Ch. 14 Quantitative Data Analysis

Ch. 16 Statistical Analyses


May 20

Project development day (work with your group on your project)


May 27

Project development day (work with your group on your project)


June 3

Project development day  (work with your group on your project)


June 10

Research presentations


June 17

Research presentations (Final papers due by 4:00 p.m.)


Teaching Methods
Teaching Assistant

Assignments and evaluation

A student’s mastery of the course material will be assessed through a combination of requirements:

  • Class participation (25%): Attendance in class is mandatory.  Missing more than one class meeting will result in a deduction of class participation points.  Also, I will conduct weekly meetings in a traditional seminar fashion (i.e., heavy student discussion).  In general, you should consider yourself in competition with one another to be the most prepared for class.  Unless you are prepared enough to explain the concepts and theories in the readings to someone who knows nothing about the subject, then you are not prepared for class.  To facilitate discussion each week, you are encouraged to bring to class questions drawn from your reading of the assigned material.  Appropriate questions will stimulate a discussion linking the readings to other readings in this class, other classes, or topics of general concern.  While you will not be required to submit these questions to me, your overall class participation will be evaluated based on the quality of the questions and answers you bring to our weekly sessions.  Students should note: Failure to participate in class discussions will negatively affect your participation grade. 

Also, a few days prior to some class sessions I will e-mail the class list a question, a statement, or short assignment dealing with the assigned readings.  You must provide a thoughtful, complete, but concise response to the question/statement/assignment; absolutely no more than two double-spaced pages will be accepted.  Although the responses may contain some interpretation on your part, your arguments must be based on evidence contained in the readings (as well as previous and additional readings).  The responses will be due at the beginning of class and may be used during our weekly meetings.  For that reason, no late work will be accepted.  Your response papers will not be graded per se, but rather noted in my records.  Failure to submit a paper will result in a 2% deduction from your 10% participation score.  Submitting a poorly written or irrelevant response can result in a 1% deduction from your participation score.    

  • Class presentation (10%):  We will discuss specific concepts or methods in each class.  Each student (usually with at least one partner) will lead a 40-minute discussion on a set of predetermined topics.  Topic sign-up will begin in Week 2.  In addition to the in-class presentation, students will be required to distribute a 1-2 page summary of the material to the class and submit three multiple-choice test items and one essay question (with answers) to me.  The presentations and class handouts will be evaluated for informativeness, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and how well the material matches the topic assigned.  Prior to the presentation, an outline and reference list should be submitted for my approval.  Presenters are exempt from that week’s response paper.  Finally, any student absent on the day of his/her scheduled presentation will receive no credit for the assignment.

  • Mid-term exams (15%)

  • Final project (50%):  Each student will be responsible for completing a final project for the class.  Research project proposal.  You will be responsible for completing an original media-effects research project proposal during the semester.  The proposal must employ either quantitative or qualitative methodology.  The project proposals can be either individually or group developed. You will need to submit the evaluation for your partner(s). I will consider these evaluations when I assign each person’s group project grade. You are encouraged to keep a diary or log of everyone’s contributions to the project as they unfold. Projects must include (1) a thorough review of the relevant literature that provides a solid rationale for the project, (2) a clear description of the research questions/hypotheses to be examined, (3) a detailed description of the method to be employed, and (4) a discussion of any potential limitations of the study.  Students are encouraged to complete the project proposal with every intention of actually completing the study.  The research paper proposal must comply with APA style.



            Participation                                                                25%

            Class presentation                                                       10%

            Midterm exam                                                            15%

            Final project                                                                50%


Textbook & Reference


  • Babbie, E. R. (2016). The practice of social research (14/e). Cengage Learning.

  • Frey, L., Botan, C. H., & Kreps, G. (2000). Investigating communication. NY: Allyn & Bacon.

  • Rubin, R. B., Rubin, A. M., & Haridakis, P. M. (2009). Communication research: Strategies and sources. Cengage Learning.

  • American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

  • Additional readings and primary research articles distributed in class.


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