Presentation on theme: "1 COMM 301: Empirical Research in Communication Kwan M Lee Lect1_1."— Presentation transcript:
1 COMM 301: Empirical Research in Communication Kwan M Lee Lect1_1
2 Course Goal Ultimate –Become a better problem solver in life! Practical –Know how to conduct empirical research in theory and in practice –Become a better consumer of research findings –Say intelligent things about stats
3 Requirement Examination 125% Examination 224% Examination 328% Assignment and Research Project17% Attendance and Participation 04% Instructors’ Judgment 02% Extra Credits for Re. Participation: extra 2% Focus is on making all students successful
4 Key Dates Check Syllabus –Exams –Final project due –Lab assignment dues Course Web: –http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~kwanminl/courses/comm301/http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~kwanminl/courses/comm301/ Fill out Student Info Survey and hand in the next class –Lect1-3.doc
6 Project Guideline Check “Project Guideline (lect2_2.doc)”lect2_2.doc Also check “Typical phases in the research process” section in the “Project Guideline”
7 Generating research questions Refer to the exercise guide, “Coming up with research topics and questions (lect1_2.doc),” and the discussion which follows.lect1_2.doc
8 Research Question Research question –Strict definition: a statement exploring the relationship between two or more (communication related) concepts. –Loose Definition: a question calling for empirical investigation –RQs are not necessarily based on previous literature/theories. –Types Open-ended: Will A affect B?; Will there be a relationship? Close-ended: Will A increase B? Will A be positively related to B
9 Hypothesis – a statement declaring a predicted relationship between two or more (communication related) concepts. –Hs are based on theory/previous literature/logic. –Types One-tailed Two-tailed
10 RQ & H Forms RQ and H are statements about relationships between/among concepts/variables Relationships suggest causes and effects Hence, research questions and hypotheses take a certain form: e.g. Does information oriented Internet use increase political efficacy of users? e.g. Information oriented Internet use increase the political efficacy of users.
11 Elements of RQ and H “Does political information oriented Internet use increase political efficacy of users?” What are the parts of the above question? –Constructs: terms representing concepts/things in which the researcher has an interest –Relationships By breaking research questions into parts, we are starting to define them.
12 Defining research questions Conceptual Definition –Defining constructs by relating them to other constructs and terms –specifying aspects and dimensions –aim is to reduce abstraction and ambiguity, so others can agree on the meaning of the terms –First part of Explication process! (e.g., Lee’s explication paper (lect1_5.pdf)
13 Defining research questions Example constructs: –Political information oriented Internet use –Political self efficacy How can you define these conceptually? Internet use activity focused on retrieving political information “the feeling that individual political action does and can have impact upon the political process, i.e., that it is worthwhile to perform one’s own civic duties” (Campbell, Gurin, & Miller, 1954, p. 187).
14 Defining research questions Operational Definition –describing what the constructs’ observable indicators are, and how the indicators can be observed –key aspect of learning about research methods –defining by action, specifically measurement (e.g., p&p questions; physiological data; behavioral data), rather than by words
15 Defining research questions Example constructs: –Political information oriented Internet use –Political self efficacy –How can you define these operationally? If you used the Internet or any online service providers during the last seven days, how many hours were devoted to visiting news sites such as CNN, New York Times, MSNBC, etc.? 1) I consider myself well-qualified to participate in politics. 2) I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of the important political issues facing our country. 3) I feel that I could do as good a job in public office as most other people. 4) I often don’t feel sure of myself when talking with other people about politics and government. (Reverse scoring)
16 More on CD (conceptual D) and OD (operational D) Check lect1-4.doc
17 Variables At the level of operational definition, constructs become variables. Variables are constructs capable of taking 2 or more values Must vary Continuous or Dichotomous –Continuous “On a scale of 1-10” “How many times did they smile?” “How much did they bid?” “What was the score of the game?” –Dichotomous “Vote for one of A or B” “Did you win or lose?” Yes/No questions
18 Defining research questions Remember: relationships suggest causes and effects This parallels the 2 key classes of variables: –Independent variable representing the generative forces, expected to influence another variable –Dependent variable representing the effects, expected to be influenced by the independent variables
19 Defining research questions Apply to the example research question (and H) above Does information oriented Internet use increase political efficacy of users? Information oriented Internet use increase the political efficacy of users. –Which is the independent variable and which is the dependent variable?
20 After defining research questions Next step: search for prior research done on these topics. Refer to the exercise guide: “Searching for prior research” (lect1_2.doc) – page 2.