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Communication Research

UGC , Bengaluru Central University and CEC via Swayam


Communication research is of theoretical and application value. Media effects research in particular has played a stellar role in the formulation and revision of communication theories. Some such theories include the ‘magic bullet theory, the selective exposure theory, the agenda setting theory, the uses and gratification theory, the theory of spiral of silence, and cultivation theory. Besides adding to theories, communication research provides functional inputs to communication and media industry. Such functional inputs are of immense value in assessing the reach and effectiveness of mass media, modifying the media content, and launching new media products to meet the changing needs of the audience. That being the importance of communication research, students pursuing post graduate programmes in communication and journalism must have a thorough understanding of research methods so as to function as academic and media industry researchers. With that objective, the 20 module of the communication research course is designed to help students learn all aspects of communication research. The 20-module syllabus covers all essential areas of research such as characteristics of research, types of research, review of literature, formulation of research questions and hypotheses, data collection methods, sampling procedures, data collection tools, collection and analysis of data, and presentation of findings. The course will also expose students to the most essential statistical procedures. Here, the focus will be on data measurement levels, measures of central tendencies; Measures of variability, Inferential statistics, parametric and non-parametric tests such as Chi-square test, Student’s t-Test, Analysis of Variance, Pearson and Spear-man Correlation coefficient tests, and use of statistical software for analysis. The 20 module will be covered in 15 weeks. Each week will cover one or modules with four quadrants consisting of E-content, self-instruction materials, interaction, assignments and assessments.




Methods of knowing: tenacity, authority, priori, science; Research definitions and characteristics; Communication and other branches of social sciences; Major landmarks of communication research; Communication research in India.


Nature and scope of communication research; Research universals: data, concepts, constructs, variables; Types of variables: independent variables, dependent variables, extraneous variables, discrete variables and continuous variables; Levels of measurement- nominal, ordinal interval and ratio.


Research areas: source, message, channel, receivers and effects; Content analysis; Types of research: Qualitative and Quantitative research; Pure research and Applied research; Descriptive research, Exploratory research, Correlation research, Explanatory research; Historical research, Ex-post facto research, Experimental research


Steps in research process; Step 1: Arriving at a research problem; an idea/topic; concretizingthe idea and finalizing research problem; Considerations in problem selection: Interest, relevance, significance, and cost and time factors. Research process Step 2: Review of literature; Step 3: Formulating study objectives, research questions, hypothesis – research hypothesis and null hypothesis/alternative hypothesis; Research proposal


Research process- Step 4.1: Selecting a research design; Types of research designs; one -shot design, before-and-after design, longitudinal design; retrospective design, prospective design, retrospective-prospective design


Research process- Step 4.2: Experimental designs; Experimental design essentials: random assignment, manipulation of independent variables; Control group and experimental group; Types of experiments – Field experiments, Lab experiments; Types of experimental designs: Single group design, two group design, Solomon four-group design


Research process- Step 5.1: Population and samples; Sampling methods: Probability and probability sampling procedures – Simple random sampling, Stratified random sampling, Cluster sampling, Systematic sampling Research process- Step 5.2: Non-probability sampling methods: Convenience/accidental sample, Quota sampling, Snowball sampling, Mixed sampling methods; Characteristics of samples; Sample size adequacy; sampling error.


Research process- Step 6.1: Data collection methods for qualitative studies: In-depth analysis of documents; Observation of events, groups/communities; in-depth interviews; textual analysis/ qualitative content analysis, Research process- Step 6.2: Data collection methods for quantitative studies: Observations, Interviews and surveys; Quantitative data collection tools: Observation schedules, Interview schedules, Questionnaires; Types of questions; Consideration in framing questions.


Research process- Step 6.3: Scales: Thurstone scales, Guttman scale; Likert scale; Semantic Differential scale; Reliability and validity of measures, Research process- Step 6.4: Quantitative content analysis; Sample for content analysis; categorising the content; coding of content, Inter coder reliability/consistency.


Research process- Steps 7.1: Quantitative statistical analysis: Descriptive statistics- frequencies, percentages; simple and grouped frequency distribution; Graphic presentations – pie chart, bar graph, frequency polygons; Symmetrical and skewed distribution.


Research process- Steps 7.1: Measures of central tendencies: Mode, Median, Mean; Measures of variability: Range, Mean, Standard deviation.Research process- Steps 7.2: Normal curve and its properties; Sampling error, levels of significance, P value.


Research process- Steps 7.3: Inferential statistics – Parametric and non-Parametric statistics; Chi-square test; Student’s t-Test; Analysis of Variance; Basics of Factor Analysis.


Research process - Steps 7.4: Inferential statistics – Pearson and Spearman Correlation coefficient tests; Regression.


Research process - Steps 7.5: Statistical software usage procedure; data entry and data editing, analysis of data and interpretation of results output.


Research process- Steps 8: Reporting the findings; Thesis, Chapterization of thesis; Research reports; Research papers for publications; Footnotes, end notes; Reference styles –, APA, MLA Chicago; Harvard. Ethics in media research.

Taught by

Prof. Narasimhamurthy

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