Methods of Inquiry, COM501
|DESCRIPTION||COURSE SCHEDULE||BOOK REVIEW||RESEARCH PROPOSAL||EVALUATION|
There are several important assignments in this course that will comprise the grades students receive for the course. Students may use either APA or Chicago style, but must choose one and stick to it. I watch for grammar, spelling, and gender-neutral language. If your writing style impedes my ability to understand your arguments your grade will suffer, so it is a good idea to have at least one other person proofread your writing. A good style guide is William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White, The Elements of Style (New York: Macmillan, 1979). Do not exceed the set page limits.
Participation (5 points). Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions. Completion of the IRB online training program, good faith effort to get your book review published, regular attendance, and contributions to the discussion of assigned readings and each other's work will result in a high grade. Each student will assume responsibility for leading a discussion on a day's reading. This means leading an extended discussion the readings for one meeting, reviewing authors' core conclusions, asking questions of the group, and taking questions from the group. This does not mean preparing a formal position paper, but does mean preparing a few notes to give a 10 minute introduction to the readings of the day.
Book Review (10 points). We will be reading some of the latest books in the discipline of communication, and students will prepare a 1,000 word book review. The first draft of the book review is due on Thursday January 31st. The final draft of the book review is due into the journal editor on February 29th. Since I hope this component of the evaluation will add some lines to the publications on your academic cv, I would be happy to review drafts again before they go into the journal editor.
Research Proposal, Draft 1 (10 points). This is the first draft of a research proposal that at student might plausibly see to completion in a graduate career. First, the proposal should clearly identify a line of inquiry, a particular social problem, or an important cultural artifact for study. The proposal should offer research questions, and explain why the line of inquiry, social problem or cultural artifact is worth studying. Second, the proposal should identify one specific method for answering these questions, and assess the ways in which the method may illuminate or obfuscate some answers. Third, the proposal should highlight some of the known literature on the topic, suggesting ways in which this study will contribute to our knowledge. This first draft is worth 10 points, will be 10-15 pages long, double spaced at 12 point font, and is due February 19th.
Research Proposal, Draft 2 (15 points). This is the second draft of your research proposal, and it will present a second complimentary method for honing in on answers to the research questions, and will explain the synergy behind this strategic choice of methods. We will be discussing many specific methods in class, but the two methods in this research proposal must be from different over-arching types (humanistic, qualitative, comparative, quantitative). This draft may also have some refined hypotheses for testing, or a rough budget. It may more thoroughly review relevant literature, identify the gaps in this literature, and explain how triangulation will help fill knowledge gaps in the line of inquiry, help solve the social problem, or bring about a deeper understanding of the cultural artifact. It may hint at what the research might reveal or anticipate issues that could arise with the Institutional Review Board. This second draft is worth 20 points, will be 25-30 pages long, double spaced at 12 point font, and is due March 13th.