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Evelyn Angry-Smith
Contact:
MCC Library
Great Path PO Box 1046
MS #15
Manchester CT 06045
860.512.2874
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Subjects:English

Communication: An Overview

 

 

Communication Department

According to the National Communication Association, “The discipline of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The discipline promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.”

In studying communication, students learn about the way humans talk, cooperate and resolve conflict. Whether verbal or nonverbal, the way we create, send and receive messages is essential to how people are distinct among animals. Our use of media, from pencils to cell phones, drums to drones, is based in our meaningful (and occasional seeming meaningless) message making, sending and receiving.

COM* 100: Introduction to Communication

Communication is fundamental to human social life. In this introductory course to the discipline, students will learn about a broad range of theories and processes of communication, examining communication as a cultural practice that shapes meaning of peoples’ beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices across situations.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

Assignment

COM 100

Final Paper (25% of final grade)

7-10 pages, double spaced, 12pt times new roman

 

This paper is a written report of original research you will conduct on a research question(s) of your own choosing.  The function of the research report is to share the findings of your investigation with others, in this case me, your professor. Since I was not with you doing your research, the report will be written so as to inform me, the audience, about what you did, why you did it, what you discovered, and why anyone should care.

Objectives

  • Demonstrate understanding of two or more theories/research topics from the course.
  • Demonstrate ability to design a research project.
  • Demonstrate ability to collect and analyze data relevant to that project.
  • Demonstrate ability to write a report on the findings of this project.

 

Sections of the paper

  • Introduction: that describes the research question and your interest in investigating that topic.  Think about the question, “why is this interesting?” “why is this something people might want to better understand?”  Essentially what is the reason for doing this research? (< 1 page, 3 pts)
  • Literature review: that discusses any literature we reviewed in the class that is relevant to your research question. You should try to include a review of at least 2 readings from the course that your research will respond to, or is based on. You may include a review of other relevant studies that we did not cover in the course as well. In either case you should summarize the major ideas/findings of the literature and how that informs your research. (1 - 2 pages, 7 pts)
  • Methodology: that details the steps you took to execute your research. This should be an in-depth report about what you did, and why you chose to do it that way, rather than some other alternative. Describe in detail if you did observations somewhere, where you went, who you observed, what time of day it was, how long you were there, etc.  If you did interviews, what questions did you ask, how many people, for how long, of what genders and ages, etc. (2 pages, 3 pts)
  • Analysis: where you analyze the data you collected. This is where you tell me what people said in those interviews, what you saw when you did your observations and what you think that means given the research question you are investigating. Answer the question “how does what you found help you answer the research question you posed?”  Do NOT simply report your conclusion, rather, walk me through the steps you took to get to your conclusion. Since I was not there doing the analysis with you, you need to clearly show your thinking process that leads to your conclusion. (2 – 3 pages, 7 pts)
  • Discussion: where you tell me what use the research was. Does the research you did tell us something that is relevant to the other literature in the field. This is where you look back at your literature review and tell me whether your findings support, reject, or modify the conclusions of other research or theory.  Are their practical implications for your research? Should we be making changes in the way we talk/behave as a result of your research?  Answer the question “of what relevance was your research, either to existing research/theory, or in the practical/real world?” (1 – 2 pages, 3 pts)
  • References: where you reference, in APA style (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/06/) the literature that you reviewed for the project. (< 1 page, 2 pts)

 

COM 100

Research Questions Due 11/26

 

For this assignment you will develop a primary research question that you plan to investigate and answer in your final paper.  Be sure to post your research questions to the Discussion Board titled "Research Questions" by 11/26. How to develop research questions is covered in Packet 20, but generally, they should make us of the following format:

 

“(How or what) is the _________ (“story for”; “meaning of”; “theory that explains the process of”; “culture-sharing pattern”; “issue” in the “case”) of_________ (central phenomenon) for _________ (participants) at _________ (research site).”

 

So for example: "What are the" ___"meanings of"____ "messages about femininity"___ in ____"female college students"____ on ___"Facebook profile photos".

 

You should post no more than one research question, though your question may include up to three sub-questions like:

"Do these images tell a common story about what it means to be a female college student?

"Do men and women interpret these images in the same way?"

 

If you are having trouble coming up with research questions start by thinking about a topical area of the course you found interesting. Let's say the Culture section of the course were the most stimulating for you. Were there particular readings you liked? A particular theory you liked or disliked? An article you thought was a little dated?  Perhaps you believe that the rise of social media may have changed some of the researchers results? If so, you could ask that question, "Has the rise of social media changed the way people become acculturated before moving to a new culture?"  Here you would be researching whether Kim's ideas about Cross-cultural Adaptation are still accurate reflections of reality, or if social media has changed things?  In any case your question should either:

 

  • Attempt in some small measure to (re)investigate the conclusions of one of our course readings if you think they were wrong.
  • Attempt to answer a question one of our course readings failed to satisfactorily answer.
  • Attempt to update the conclusions of one of our course readings if you believe society has since changed somehow.
  • Attempt to propose a new question that blends the concerns of two or more readings to investigate something new.

 

COM 100

Presentation technology proposal Due 11/26

 

For this assignment you should consider a variety of methods that you might employ to record and present your research to the rest of the class. Consider whether you will use PowerPoint and record a voice over, whether you will record yourself sitting behind a desk news-anchor style, record yourself standing in front of a whiteboard you can draw on, record your screen as you present your data and voice over that? Will you use a phone or a hand camera?

Then consider these questions:

 

  1. How will you get access to the hardware/software you plan to use? Do you own it already, is it freely available online, will you borrow it from a friend or the college, will you download a trial of the software?
  2. Why have you chose to do it this way? What advantages do you think your plan has for presenting your work to the class? What disadvantages? If you choose to use a PowerPoint why are you using it? Because that's what people do, or do you have a real reason you believe this will assist your speech?
  3. What alternatives did you consider? Why did you decide not to do the alternative? Why is your current plan better than the alternative?

 

Essentially, you need to demonstrate that you have carefully consider the available technology, and made a reasoned determination on what you will use and have a plan in place to accomplish this.