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CMST 2TM6 Fndns in Comm. Theory& Methods (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Christine Quail

Email: quailc@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 326

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24072

Office Hours: Tuesday 10:00-11:00 (TWH 726) + Wednesday 1:30-2:30 (TSH 326) + By appointment



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. Lectures and tutorial (six hours); one term. Note: Remember that this is a foundational introduction that will cover a lot of ground—it is 6 units, which is 2 courses. 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

• Become 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

• 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:

• Required Readings: There is no textbook to purchase. All required readings will be located in “Required Weekly Readings” folders in the Content area on Avenue to Learn. Some will be nuts and bolts “how to” readings; others will be previews of theories or academic articles; some will be news articles. You are responsible for all “required” readings. A full list of readings by week will be provided in class. 

• Optional/Exemplar Readings: There will be a number of additional readings posted in “Example Folders”, also by week, in the Content area on Avenue. These serve as further examples of the theories, methods, or issues being learned that week. These folders will clearly be marked “examples” and are not required, whereas all materials in the “required” folders are required.

• Additional readings may 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 in Avenue.


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 (Starts September 9—see Mosaic for rooms)

Assignment 1

10%

September 25 (lecture)

Assignment 2

10%

October 09 (lecture)

Assignment 3

15%

November 15 (lecture)

Assignment 4

15%

November 27 (lecture)

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 – Lecture and Tutorial:

  • 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.
  • Please see policy below on “Course Environment”

Tutorial Activities:The first Tutorial Day will be Monday, September 9th. Each student must register for and attend weekly tutorials; please refer to your individual schedule for your tutorial section. Tutorials have three purposes:

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

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

3. workshop some of your assignment components

Tutorial is mandatory; attendance will be taken. Participation is required, with the same guidelines outlined above and under “course environment”. TAs will assign additional in-class 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.

Professionalism:This is your first core, required course in your program, CMST. Embrace your studies in the program, comport yourself with ethical standards and respect for others, and work to 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.

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. Detailed information on and rubrics for each will be provided.

Assignment 1: Literature Review

Assignment 2: Theory Assignment

Assignment 3: Quantitative Content & Qualitative Textual Analysis Assignment

Assignment 4: Ethnographic Assignment

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 class 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 and TA 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. 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 (unless you are missing class under the RISO policy). Students who miss the midterm using proper MSAF or Dean’s Letter policy will, in consultation with the instructor, either take a make-up test, or having the final exam reweighed.

 


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

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. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

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. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at https://secretariat.mcmaster.ca/university-policies-procedures-guidelines/

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to Turnitin.com or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by Turnitin.com) so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or Turnitin.com must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity.

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail 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 a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or sas@mcmaster.ca e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

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.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
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".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.


Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule

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

UNIT 1 – INTRODUCING RESEARCH

 

• How do we know things about media & communication?

• What is research, and why do we do it?

• How do I ask good questions that I can answer with research?

• What is a literature review, how do I write one, and why would I ever want to do that?

• How can I more efficiently locate, read, and understand academic articles?

• What is theory?

• What are methods?

• What does it mean to conduct research ethically?

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

TUTORIAL

WEEK 1

 

W 9/4

 

 

 

 

 

F 9/6

 

 

 

Intro to the Course; Epistemology and Ways of Knowing

 

Research Process & Secondary Literature

 

*All readings for the course will be posted on Avenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No tutorials this week

WEEK 2

 

W 9/11

 

 

Asking Questions +

Ethics Through the Research Process

 

 

 

 

Tutorials Start – Please check your timetable – some tutorials are Monday, some Friday

 

 

Library Workshop:

Information Literacy

 

 

 

 

UNIT 2 – UNDERSTANDING AND USING THEORY

 

• Why do we need theories?

• What are the central ways that scholars have theorized relationships between media/communication and society?

• What are the core debates about power that theories grapple with?

• Why are there so many disagreements between theorists on how to make sense of media/communication and society?

• How are theories and methods tied to particular epistemologies? What about particular historical contexts?

• How can I use theory to make sense of media/communication and society?

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

TUTORIAL

Week 2, cont.

 

F 9/13

 

 

 

Behaviourism & Direct and Indirect Media Effects

 

 

Tutorials Start – Please check your timetable – some tutorials are Monday, some Friday

 

Library Workshop:

Information Literacy

 

WEEK 3

 

W 9/18

 

F 9/20

 

 

 

Frankfurt School, Marx + Beyond

 

Political Economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critical Academic Reading Skills +

Literature Review Workshop

 

WEEK 4

 

W 9/25

 

 

F 9/27

 

 

 

 

Interactionism

 

 

Structuralism & Poststructuralism

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment 1 Due Wednesday 9/25

 

 

Theory Exercises 1 & APA Workshop

 

 

 

WEEK 5

 

W 10/2

 

 

 

 

F 10/4

 

 

 

 

Intersectionality 1 – Gender & Feminist Theories, Queer Theory

 

Intersectionality 2 - Critical Race, Indigenous, Postcolonial Theories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theory Exercises 2

 

 

 

WEEK 6

 

W 10/9

 

 

F 10/11

 

 

Consumerism + Postmodern Theories

 

 

Toronto School, & Medium Theories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment 2 Due Wednesday 10/9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theory Exercises 3 &

Midterm Preparation

[WEEK 7: FALL BREAK - WEEK OF 14 OCT]

No class

No Readings

Nothing Due

No Tutorials

WEEK 8

 

W 10/23

 

 

Midterm Test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midterm Test

 

 

 

Film Screening

 

 

 

UNIT 3 – KEY FOUNDATIONS IN METHODS

 

• What are some of the key ways methods are connected to epistemology, and theory?

• What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?

• How do I know what method to use in my research?

• When in the research process to I choose a method?

• Before I gather data, what do I need to consider? Where do I start?

• How can I make sure my research is valid?

• What are the ethical considerations at this step of the research process?

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

TUTORIAL

 

WEEK 8, cont.

 

F 10/25

 

 

 

Qualitative, Quantitative / Epistemology Redux

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Screening

WEEK 9

 

W 10/3

 

 

Claim/Data/Warrant

/Evaluation + Sampling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coding Workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIT 4 – UNDERSTANDING AND USING METHODS

 

• What are the different strategies I can use to gather data?

• What are the different ways I can analyze data?

• Does it really matter what methods I use?

• How do I gather data?

• How do I make sense of data?

• Why is writing important?

• When do I bring in theory again?

• What are the ethical considerations for each method?

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

TUTORIAL

WEEK 9, cont.

 

F 11/1

 

 

 

 

Quantitative Content Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coding Workshop

WEEK 10

 

W 11/6

 

 

 

 

 

F 11/8

 

 

Qualitative Textual Analysis, Discourse Analysis +

Writing as Method

 

 

Ethnographic Methods 1: Basics foundations + Participant Observation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discourse Analysis Workshop

WEEK 11

 

W 11/13

 

 

 

 

F 11/15

 

 

 

Ethnographic Methods 2: Interviews, Focus Groups + Writing Ethnography

 

 

Surveys, Polls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment 3 Due Friday 11/15

 

 

Focus Group Workshop

WEEK 12

 

W 11/20

 

 

 

F 11/22

 

 

 

 

Historical Analysis, Policy Studies, Political Economic Research

 

Making Sense: Critical Analysis; Statistical Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survey + Interview Workshop

WEEK 13

 

11/27

 

 

Guest Speaker

 

 

 

TBA per Guest Speaker

 

 

Assignment 4 Due- Wednesday 11/27

 

Last Tutorials – Final Exam Prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIT 5 -- CONNECTIONS

 

• Where will I encounter research?

• How else besides academic articles and books is research disseminated?

• Am I equipped to critique research that I encounter?

• Why did I just learn all this?

• What else is there to know about research that we didn’t cover?

• How is this class going to be useful to me in future classes? What about at work? In general?

• What’s on the final?

 

 

DATE

TOPIC

READING

DUE

TUTORIAL

WEEK 13, cont.

 

F 11/29

 

 

Research Dissemination, Presentation, Infographics, Knowledge Mobilization

 

 

 

Short news articles TBA

(Assignment 4 was Due- Wednesday 11/27)

 

 

 

 

Last Tutorials – Final Exam Prep

WEEK 14

W 12/4

 

 

 

Reflecting on the Research Process, Theory, and Methods + Looking Towards Next Term and Beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

None

 

FINAL EXAM PERIOD (TBA Scheduled by Registrar)

 

Course material

 

 

Final Exam (2.5 hours. Cumulative, mixed format.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Other Course Information:

 

 

 

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

In this course we will be using a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. Students will be expected to submit their work electronically via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by Turnitin.com) so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or Turnitin.com must still submit an electronic and hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity.

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. Cover page must include TA’s name and tutorial section. Please use APA citation style for in-text citation and bibliography. Double-sided printing is fine. Papers are to be submitted in person/on paper, as well as in the A2L Dropbox. All assignments are due at the beginning of class.

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)

Announcements: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.

Extreme Circumstances: The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.