MCM 436 Mass Communication Research: Tactics and Strategies
Fall 1999, MWF 1:30, Old Main 238
Dr. John Beatty
Old Main 247
Office Hours: MWF 3-4; TR 12-1
Home phone (910) 695-3348
Course description: MCM 436 will familiarize you with the history of mass communication theory, incorporating an understanding of the range of qualitative and quantitative research techniques applied in the development of that theory, and an ability to critically assess mass communication research literature. It will prepare you for professional or management positions in the field, or entrance into graduate school.
To acquaint you with the academic literature of mass communication
To acquaint you with the terminology and concepts of communication studies
To develop your skills as a researcher within the communication literature
Wimmer, R.D. and Dominick, J.R. 1997. Mass media Research. An Introduction (Fifth edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Baran S.J. and Davis, D.K. 2000. Mass Communication Theory. Foundations, Ferment, and Future (Second edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
The following is recommended and is available in the bookstore under several classes (e.g. psychology).
American Psychological Association. 1996. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Fourth edition).
You will have three tests and one final exam covering material in the texts and in lectures.
You will complete a major literature review on a topic of your choice related to mass communication.
You will write and report on two two-page reviews of scholarly articles taken from scholarly journals in mass communication.
I expect you to participate in class. Attendance, alertness, contribution to discussion, and your presentations contribute to the participation grade. Journalism is a public profession and you should get used to interacting in public settings.
Keep backups of computer assignments on floppy disks (3.5" DD or HD).
Article reviews and your literature review must conform to APA style and must be typed or word-processed, double-spaced.
Any course in communication includes elements of professional behavior. Just as if you were "on the job," I expect you to attend class. Roll will be taken at each class meeting. For any absence to be excused you must contact me beforehand and provide documentation of your excuse or have a friend do so if you are unable. Given normal extenuating circumstances, you will be allowed a total of three unexcused class absences. Further unexcused absences, or excessive excused absences will lower your final grade.
Assignments or tests missed due to excused absences can be made up, but those missed due to unexcused absences cannot.
Adjustments to the schedule and requirements listed in this document are to be allowed for, if not expected.
You have the responsibility to know and observe the UNCP Academic Honor Code (see course catalog). This code forbids cheating, plagiarism, fabrication and abuse of academic materials. The normal penalty for a first offense is an F in the course.
Grading: Literature review 35%
Final exam 15%
Two-page papers 10%
Grade assignment: A = 94 and above; A- = 90-93; B+ = 87-89; B = 84-86; B- = 80-83; C+ = 77-79; C = 74-76; C- = 70-73; D+ = 67-69; D = 64-66; D- = 60-63; F = below 60.
In other words: A = All major and minor goals achieved; B = All major goals achieved, some minor ones not; C = All major goals achieved, many minor ones not; D = A few major goals achieved but not prepared for further advanced work; F = None of the major goals achieved.
Aug. 18 Introduction
20 What is research? (WD Chap. 1)
Aug. 23 Research procedures, journals (WD 2)
25 WordPerfect, Windows (Computer lab; Science 142)
27 Library Research
Aug. 30 What is theory (BD Chap. 1)
Sept. 1 Theory, cont. (BD 2)
3 Propaganda and magic bullets (BD 4)
Sept. 6 LABOR DAY
10 Limited effects (BD 6)
Sept. 13 Limited effects
15 Limited mid-range effects (BD 7)
17 Social-psychological effects theory (BD 8)
Sept. 20 Social-psych
Sept. 27 Test review
29 Test No. 1
Oct. 1 Critical, cultural theories (BD 9)
Oct. 4 Critical, cultural
6 Qualitative research (WD 5)
8 Qualitative research
Oct. 11 Constructs, measurement (WD 3)
Oct. 18 Measurement
20 Sampling (WD 4)
Oct. 25 Audiences (BD 10)
29 Test No. 2
Nov. 1 Media and society (BD 11)
3 Media and society, cultivation (WD 16; part)
5 Media and society, agenda-setting (WD 16)
Nov. 8 Content analysis (WD 6)
12 Survey research (WD 7)
Nov. 15 Surveys
17 Stats (WD 10)
19 Stats, hypotheses (WD11)
Nov. 22 Stat procedures
24 Test No. 3
Nov. 29 Writing research (WD 18)
Dec. 1 Reviews/reports
Dec. 6 Writing, reporting research; Exam review
FINAL EXAM Wednesday, Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m.