Communication Scholars conduct research in order to give us insights about behavior and mental processes. To ensure as much objectivity as possible, they follow the scientific method. Your task is to plan a social research study according to the scientific method and to communicate how the study relates to the topics studied in the course so far. This research project should be related to your division.
The steps you must take are listed below:
- Select a researchable problem. What intrigues you about the scientific study of behavior and mental processes? Consider the topics you’ve learned about so far: Culture, Intercultural Relationships, Intercultural Conflict, Popular Culture, Barriers to Intercultural Communication, Postcolonialism, etc.
Example: Are there cross-cultural differences in memory?
Product: You must write 1 paragraph explaining the topic you’d like to research.
- Review the literature. It’s important to read peer reviewed scholarly journals to find out what researchers already know about your topic. Familiarizing yourself with the literature will help you avoid duplicating research that’s already been done, and it will also give you ideas for creating your hypothesis.
Procedure: The SJCC College Library provides access to over 3,400 periodical titles through its database. (Read your course syllabus or contact the library for more information.)
Product: You must write a 1-page summary of the article you read. Your summary must tell what the article is about, convey its findings, and explain how the information relates to your topic.
- Formulate a hypothesis or research question. Your hypothesis should be a statement about your topic. It should be informed by the journal articles you read, and it should communicate a belief about how the variables in your topic affect one another. It should be something you can test.
Procedure: Discuss what you learned in the journal articles you read. Consider all the variables and how they relate to each other. Then, write your hypothesis or research question.
Product: You must write a 1-sentence hypothesis or a research question.
- Provide operational definitions. Take any abstract concepts from your hypothesis/research question and explain exactly how you would measure them.
Example: How would a researcher measure religiosity, sexual attitudes, and sexual behavior? Religiosity would be measured by asking respondents about how important religion is to them and how frequently they go to a place of worship, pray, and participate in youth groups. Sexual attitudes would be measured through a series of questions about the cost and benefits of sex.
Procedure: Identify the concepts in your hypothesis that need to be defined in a concrete way. Define each one. Make sure your definitions turn abstract concepts into measurable ones.
Product: You must submit up to a ½ page of operational definitions.
- Choose a research design. Once you have a hypothesis/research question and operational definitions, you are ready to create a way to test your hypothesis/research question. Will you design an experiment? A survey? Will you do observations? Research? Will you use multiple methods? Consider the best way(s) to collect the data you’d need in order to put your hypothesis/research question to the test.
Example: The best way to collect data about sexual behavior and attitudes would be to use surveys.
Product: You must write 1 page about your research design:
· Tell which research method you would use.
· Explain why you would use it. (Point out the benefits of this method and the drawbacks of other methods.)
· Give a detailed explanation of how your research would work. For example, if you were going to design an experiment, you would explain how the experiment would work, identify the control group and experimental group, and point out any difficulties you might encounter. If you were going to design a survey, you would tell what the survey would ask and who would receive it.
- Connect to concepts from class. You will not carry out your research study. However, you will have to think about how your topic and study relate to topics you’ve studied so far.
Procedure: Review the course materials. Identify 2 or 3 concepts to which your topic and research study relate. One of them MUST be the concept of research ethics; the others are up to you.
Product: You must write ½ to 1 page explaining how your topic and research study relate to the concepts you’ve studied in the course. Tell how each concept informs your understanding of the topic you are investigating and/or how the topic you are investigating informs your understanding of concepts covered in the course so far.
SUMMARY: Midterm Project Requirements
- 1 paragraph about your topic
- 1-page summary of the journal article
- 1-sentence hypothesis or research question
- ½ page of operational definitions
- 1 page about your research design
- ½ to 1 page about how your topic relates to concepts in the book (one concept MUST be research ethics)
- APA format (including bibliography)
The Midterm Project will be graded using the Midterm Project Scoring Rubric located in Files – Canvas.