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CMST 2TM6 Fndns in Comm. Theory& Method

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Christine Quail

Email: quailc@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 326

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24072

Website:

Office Hours: Tuesday 12;30-2:30



Course Objectives:

Course Description (from Undergraduate Calendar): A comprehensive introduction to communication research in an integrated format, where students learn about the research process, theoretical frameworks, epistemological questions, research questions, ethics, links between theory and method, and a survey of quantitative and qualitative methods and modes of analysis. Lecures and tutorial (six hours); one term. Note: Remember that this is a foundational introduction that will cover a lot of ground. It is a foundation for the Communication Studies program. Be prepared to work hard—it will pay off!

 

Goals: After taking this course, students should be able to

• Be familiar with research as a process

• Consider epistemological frameworks and how they relate to research

• Understand the importance of research ethics, and how to make ethical choices in research

• Understand what a “theory” is and how they are used in research

• Analyze the assumptions, tenets, and implications of specific communication theories

• Differentiate between communication theories

• Understand how methodological choices and questions frame problems and solutions

• Be familiar with some of the major methods used in communication research

• Begin to apply theories and methods to phenomenon to gain insights into the world

• Engage critically about social and political implications of particular theories and methods

• Discuss underlying tensions and debates in the field

• Extrapolate theory and methods from research and arguments in academic and popular press

• Consider how communication theory and methods can be part of a toolkit for doing research

• Be prepared to further your study of research in CMST 2RA3, and Level 3 & 4 courses

 


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Course Materials:

• Merrigan, Gerianne, Carole L. Huston, and Russell Johnston. (2012). Communication Research Methods: Canadian Edition. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

• Laughey, Dan. (2007). Key Themes in Media Theory. New York: Open University Press.

• Additional readings will be posted on Avenue or distributed in lecture or tutorial.

• Guest lectures by academics, activists, professionals doing work in media/communication.

• Avenue To Learn will be used. Be sure that you have reliable access. You are responsible for all materials, notices, news, and content.


Method of Assessment:

Course Assignments: The following assignments will be evaluated for students’ final grades.

 

ASSIGNMENT

WEIGHT

DATE (& LOCATION)

Midterm Test

20%

October 23 (lecture)

Tutorial Activities

10%

Weekly (tutorial)

Assignment 1

10%

September 25 (tutorial)

Assignment 2

10%

October 16 (tutorial)

Assignment 3

15%

November 6 (tutorial)

Assignment 4

15%

November 27 (tutorial)

Final Exam

20%

TBA by Registrar

 

Grading System: See Undergraduate Calendar-- http://academiccalendars.romcmaster.ca/content.php?catoid=24&navoid=4565#Grading_System

 

Attendance and Participation:

  • Please come to class with the readings completed, and ready to discuss readings and engage in class activities, in lecture as well as tutorial.
  • Please be punctual, and stay for the entire session, as you are responsible for any announcements made at the beginning and/or end of class.
  • If you miss class, it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate, and to be prepared for the next class meeting, with all assignments/readings ready. Lecture notes will not be posted online or emailed.
  • Please also be present—existentially speaking—in class. If you are on your devices, social media, etc., you are not present and you are also disturbing the people around you.

 

Tutorials: The first Tutorial Day will be Monday, September 18th. Each student must register for and attend weekly tutorials. Tutorials have three purposes:

1. to deliver skills-building activities relevant to your research toolkit;

2. to help you work through course material and apply the concepts to new situations;

3. to workshop some of your assignment components

 

Tutorial is mandatory; attendance will be taken. Participation is required, with the same guidelines outlined above. TAs will assign additional assignments and activities, which will be coordinated with the professor. Evaluation will consist of participation and completion of assignments, including mini presentations. Please remember that your TAs are part of the teaching team—they are to be treated professionally.

 

Midterm Test: The midterm test will be a mixed-format (e.g., multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer, essay), and will test knowledge from lecture, tutorial, readings, discussions. Midterm will take place during lecture, in our regular lecture hall. Please schedule SAS exams early.

 

Final Exam: Scheduled by the University. The final exam will be cumulative; it will cover all material from the course—readings, lecture, discussion, in-class activities, and debates. The format will be mixed—e.g., multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer, and essay.

 

Assignments 1-4: These are assignments that ask you to try applying research strategies learned in class, and to improve on your skills based on self-evaluation and reflection, and teaching team feedback. More information on each will be provided. Note: We will cover other methods and do exercises around them in tutorial. The assignments are highlighting particular methods, and allow you a deeper exploration of this group, but you will engage with a broader toolkit.

Assignment 1: Secondary Literature

Assignment 2: Applied theory

Assignment 3: Content Analysis & Discourse Analysis

Assignment 4: Ethnographic Interview & Survey

All assignments are submitted online, as well as in-person during TUTORIAL.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments/Missed Test: Assignments are due at the beginning of tutorial on the day due; midterm starts at the beginning of class. Papers are late evn if they are submitted the same day after class starts, but after they have been collected. Late assignments must be submitted to A2L, in order to document completion date; the professor must be sent an email alerting that the paper is on Avenue. The teaching team will not accept papers via email.  All late assignments incur a late penalty of 10% per day late (starting immediately upon collection of papers in class); weekend days are treated separately, due to the fact that you can submit on A2L. Assignments more than ten days late will not be accepted. If you know you will not be in class on an assignment due date, it is your responsibility to submit work early.

Make-up tests/exams: will be allowed in case of emergency only, with proper documentation, and following the proper university protocol; make-ups will be different than the original and will be scheduled by the Professor, at her discretion. 

 


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.


Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule

(Remember, this is a 6-unit course, which is twice the amount of work as two 3-unit courses. Each week is like 2 weeks of your other courses).

CRM = Communication Research Methods

KT = Key Themes in Media Theory

 

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

WEEK 1

 

Wed 9/6

 

Intro to the course

 

Get started on reading for next week.

 

WEEK 2

 

M 9/11

 

 

W 9/13

 

-Introduction to Research

-Secondary Literature

 

-Ethics and Research

CRM: Preface, Ch 1

KT: Ch 1, 2

A2L: Posted article

 

 

CRM: Ch 2

 

(No tutorials!)

WEEK 3

M 9/18

 

W 9/20

 

 

Epistemology &

Core Paradigms

 

Structuralism

 

 

CRM: 3, 4

 

 

KT: 4

 

Tutorials Start

WEEK 4

 

M 9/25

 

 

W 9/27

 

 

Making Knowledge Claims; Asking Questions; Identifying Data

 

Interactionism; Feminist Research

 

CRM: 5, 6

 

 

 

 

KT: 5, 6

Assignment 1

WEEK 5

 

M 10/2

 

W 10/4

 

[FALL BREAK WEEK OF 10/9, 10/11]

 

 

 

Survey, Polls

 

 

 

 

CRM: 7

 

A2L: Additional articles posted

 

 

 

 

WEEK 6

 

M 10/16

 

W 10/185

 

 

 

 

Content Analysis, Data Mining & Theorizing Postmodern, Technology

 

 

CRM: 8

KT: 8

 

 

A2L : Additional articles posted

 

Assignment 2

WEEK 7

 

M 10/23

 

W 10/25

 

 

 

 

 

Discourse Analysis

Critical Studies

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRM: 10, 12

 

 

 

Midterm Test - Monday

WEEK 8

 

M 10/30

 

W 11/1

 

 

 

 

Ethnographic Methods

 

Consumerism & Everyday Life

 

 

CRM: 11

 

KT: 9

 

WEEK 9

 

M 11/6

 

W 11/8

 

 

 

Historical, Policy Studies & Political Economy

 

 

 

CRM: 9

KT: 7

Assignment 3

WEEK 10

 

M 11/13

 

W 11/15

 

 

 

Focus Group

 

Modernity & Toronto School redux; Some Frankfurt School

 

 

 

Reading TBA

 

KT: 3

 

WEEK 11

 

M 11/20

 

W 11/22

 

 

 

 

Statistical Analyses

 

 

CRM: 13, 14

 

Additional TBA

 

WEEK 12

 

M 11/27

 

W 11/29

 

 

 

 

Debates in Theory and Methods

 

 

 

KT: 10

Additional TBA

 

Assignment 4

WEEK 13

 

M 12/4

 

W 12/6

 

Wrapping Up, Looking forward

Readings TBA Based on Student interest

 

 

FINAL EXAM PERIOD (TBA Scheduled by Registrar)

 

 

 

 

FINAL EXAM (cumulative, mixed format)


Other Course Information:

Class Environment: This course will foster inclusivity. Each person should feel empowered, valued, and respected. As such, we will operate as a respectful, collaborative, and diverse space. This course will involve a high level of interaction, especially in tutorial, and some disagreement about issues is expected, and encouraged; remembering the values of an inclusive space will be important. Any online interaction must also follow these guidelines. If you have any concerns about lecture or tutorial, please bring them to my attention. Please refer to McMaster’s statement, “Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose” (https://pacbic.mcmaster.ca/documents/inclusive-community-with-a-shared-purpose.pdf)

Professionalism: This is your first core, required course in your program. Embrace your studies in the program, and comport yourself with ethical standards, respect for others, and build skills for success in school and in your life beyond university. This course is called “foundations”, so think of this as literally, a foundation for your program, your interactions with your cohort, your professors, and the university. Get your work done; follow standards and guidelines, and contribute positively. We will discuss more about “professionalism” in class.

Announcements: The instructor reserves the right to make adjustments in the schedule. Regardless of attendance, students are responsible for all announcements made in class, including adjustments to readings and assignments. Students are responsible for regularly checking A2L for any information that may be distributed online.

Avenue To Learn: In this class, we will be using A2L. Students should be aware that when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster email accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure, please discuss this with the instructor.

Assignment Submission: All papers/assignments must be typed, dated and titled in 12-point font, stapled (or environmentally fastened), and include page numbers. Heading must include TA’s name and tutorial section. Please use APA citation style for in-text citation and bibliography. Double-sided printing is fine. Please be prepared to turn in papers using the Turn It In system. All assignments are due AT THE BEGINNING OF TUTORIAL.

Turn It In: Students will be asked to submit their work electronically to Turnitin.com and in hard copy so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty. Students who do not wish to submit their work to Turnitin.com must still submit a copy to the TA. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity.

Late Assignments/Missed Test: Assignments are due at the beginning of tutorial on the day due; midterm starts at the beginning of class. Papers are late if they are submitted the same day after class starts. Late assignments must be submitted to A2L, in order to document completion date; the professor must be sent an email alerting that the paper is on Avenue. The teaching team will not accept papers via email. Do not submit late papers to TAs. All late assignments incur a late penalty of 10% per day late (starting immediately upon collection of papers in class); weekend days are treated separately, due to the fact that you can submit on A2L. Assignments more than ten days late will not be accepted. If you know you will not be in class on an assignment due date, it is your responsibility to submit work early.

Make-up tests/exams: will be allowed in case of emergency only, with proper documentation, and following the proper university protocol; make-ups will be different than the original and will be scheduled by the Professor, at her discretion.