Core Assessment (Weekly Graded Assignment) - Ethical Dilemma - Glossary (Exam Study Guide) - Handouts & Articles - Learning Activities - Lectures - NIH Human Subject Research Certification with the optional module entitled "Internet Research SBR"  -  Practitioner




Dr. Aitken, Professor, Communication and Leadership 229 Copley, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Park University, Parkville, MO 64152. Office 816-584-6785 (messages here). Office hours by appointment. 


Tentative Schedule

Required Reading

Additional Exploration

Assignments Due

Week 1. Examine the Map!

Intro & Library Research

Read Heffner chapter 10.

Read in detail APA ch. 1, 2, 6. Read and KNOW these ethics sections:

Discussion of ethical behaviors pp. 11-20 and compliance checklist p. 20.

8.04 Complying With Ethical, legal, and Policy Requirements, p. 231-236.

Crediting Sources pp. 169-174.


Read Chandler, S., & Richardson, introduction and chapters 1-25.  Student led discussion.

Explore the course and participate in discussion.


Ker linger & Lee, Appendix A.

Photo credit


Discussion Board.

Week 2. Follow the Path!

Scientific Experiment

ˇ    Read and Discuss Professor's Information in Syllabus and here:

Read Heffner Chapter 1-5.

Read Chandler, S., & Richardson, introduction and chapters 26-50.  Student led discussion about chapters,  study design and IRB application.

Neuendorf ch. 1 (Content Analysis)

Nardi ch 1, 2, 3.

Kerlinger & Lee, chapters 1-6, 22, 25.

Sumser ch 1-3, 5, 7.



Discussion Board.



Week 3. Get Your Feet Wet!


Sampling & Probability.

Writing APA Style

Read APA ch. 1, 2, 6 again, with full comprehension.

n    Read Park University Website:



Heffner Chapter 6, 7, 8.

Student led discussion about study design and IRB application.


Ker linger & Lee, chapters 4, 7, 8, 9, 26.

Nardi ch 5 & 6.



Discussion Board.

Week 4. Watch Your Step!

Review of Literature for the Research Proposal

Read Heffner chapter 9.

Read APA ch 3, 4, 7.

KNOW APA sections (if you didn't learn it week one):

n             Discussion of ethical behaviors pp. 11-20 and compliance checklist p. 20.

n             8.04 Complying With Ethical, legal, and Policy Requirements, p. 231-236.

n             Crediting Sources pp. 169-174.

Student led discussion about study design and IRB.


Sumser, chapter 5.

Ker linger & Lee, chapters 17, 18.

Week 4 Proposal Step--RESEARCH DESIGN DUE


Discussion Board.

 Week 5. Just Hard Work!


Read Park information

Read Heffner chapter 5, click here and If you haven’t read Heffner chapters 6-8, do so now. 

Student led discussion about collecting data.

Sumser, ch 6 & 8.

Nardi ch 4, 7, & 8.

Ker linger & Lee, chapters 11, 12.



Discussion Board.

Week 6. Stretch Yourself!

Research Proposal

Double check APA and ch 5 before submitting your proposal.

In class--complete NIH Certification:


Ker linger & Lee, chapters 19, 20, 21.



Discussion Board.

Week 7. The Summit!

Measurement, Observation, and Data Collection

Read Park IRB webpage with forms:

Student led discussion about completed study.

Nardi ch 9 & 10.

Ker linger & Lee, chapters 29, 30, 31.

Week 7 Proposal Step--Complete Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP) tutorial and submit certification.


Discussion Board.


Week 8. Heading Home


Student led discussion about study results.


Week 8 Proposal Step--ORAL DEFENSE


Discussion Board.


Final exam.




1. To develop a framework for ethical conduct in contemporary organizations.

2. To develop the ability of students to read and interpret experimental research.

3. To apply research skills to resolve organizational issues and improve decision-making.


1. Identify and explain basic principles and terminology used in quantitative research.

2. Analyze and evaluate research quality as a social scientist (e.g., method, design, ethics, statistical tests).

3. Propose a quantitative study, which is in communication studies.

4. Conduct a review of literature in which the student will find, read, and analyze 20 relevant scholarly, peer-reviewed, research articles that use experimental or quantitative research in communication arts or leadership studies.

5. Write a quantitative research proposal grounded in communication theory (e.g., quantitative content analysis of an artifact).

6. Provide multiple drafts of an evolving quantitative research proposal by deadlines, with revisions for high quality.

7. Design a real or hypothetical quantitative research proposal intended to resolve organizational issues or improve decision-making (e.g., test-treatment-retest procedures).

8. Write an answerable research question or testable hypothesis, operational definitions, and independent and dependent variables for a quantitative research study.

9. Follow standard APA style and organizational pattern in preparing a substantive quantitative research proposal.

10. Defend a proposed quantitative study in communication studies, which could be used as thesis or project in an oral presentation.



APA (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Heffner, (2003). Research methods. All Psych Online.



These books have been used in preparing course materials and are approved textbooks, which your professor may use.  Depending on your planned thesis or project, you may want to use them for additional exploration and learning.


Ker linger, F. N., & Lee, H. B. (2000). Foundations of behavioral research. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 

Nardi, P. M. (2003). Doing survey research: A guide to quantitative research. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  You may want to buy this book if you plan to conduct a content analysis.  You may be able to access part of the book through Google Books.

Sumser, J. (2001). A guide to empirical research in communication: Rules for looking. Thousand Oaks: Sage.



McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.

National Communication Association



Heffner, (2003). Research methods. All Psych Online. Most exam questions come from Heffner.



CA 517 Quantitative Methods of Communication Research: A study of the basic principles used to construct quantitative designs, test hypotheses, and apply methods of behavioral science to communication.



See assignment rubrics for expectations. Weekly assignments must be submitted on time.

1. Core Assessment-40%

Week 4--10 points

Week 5--10 points

Week 6--20 points. Core Assessment is a quantitative research proposal (prospectus) appropriate for a Master's Degree thesis or project or reflection in Communication and Leadership.

2. Minor Assignments = 42%

Project Segment Week 2--10 points

Project Segment Week 3--10 points

Week 7—Certification--5 points.

Week 8—Defense--5 points.

Class discussion and learning activities. 2 x 7=14

3. Final Exam = 18%
If you have questions, please ask.


90-100 A.
80-89.99 B.
100 points equals 100%



All assignments are due in eCollege by the beginning of the class meeting.

See additional information here:

Submit each assignment by the deadline in order to receive a grade. In class learning activities cannot be made up. The core assessment is due week 6.


Alternative viewpoints are welcome and encouraged in the framework of respect. No toxins or pollution allowed.



Take a break any time you want. Feel free to bring your dinner and drink with you because it's hard to fit that in before class. We'll work continuously without a break so we don't have to stay quite as long, but that means you need to bring supplies to survive.



We will be using laptop computers each week, so if you want to use your own laptop or bring a flash drive, you're welcome to so do. Because the laptop battery life is limited, if you have a power cord, you may want to bring one.  Laptops will be available until 8 PM.



Cite and reference all sources of information and ideas precisely, according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.


What is ethical student behavior?


Academic integrity is crucial to this course. In the field of communication studies, and thus this course, we abide by the standards of the American Psychological Association (APA) publication manual.



Use your own words in everything you write or present in this course.





Focus on using PRIMARY SOURCES (journal articles from Communication and Mass Media Complete or other scholarly databases approved by your professor) and cite and reference everything you paraphrase.



Avoid direct quotations and instead use your own words.


Use direct quotations very sparingly. There may be a particularly eloquent quotation or a few words you need to quote directly, which must be done by use of quotation marks, a citation with page or paragraph number, and a reference listing.


In the situation where you must quote, use correct APA style to indicate a direct quotation:


According to Pierce, "the method for . . . improves communication" (p. 272).


According to Pierce (2010), "the method for . . . improves communication" (para. 12). [You actually need to count the paragraphs to indicate the correct one. This style is often used for webpages, for example.]


According to Pierce (2010):

the method for . . . continue the block quotation of at least 40 words and not more than 200 words . . . improves communication. (p. 272)



When conducting research and preparing assignments, take precise, correct, and careful notes. Rename journal article files so that you can retrieve them when you download them to your computer. Never copy and paste from any sources. Instead, rewrite using your own words by paraphrasing, but also remember to record a reference listing of the source you used for the idea. Any notes where you copy the words of others need to be indicated by quotation marks during the note-taking process and referenced so you remember the source. If you are unsure, go back and look it up, which fortunately doesn't take long with today's databases.



If the quote that is a whole--something like short like a poem or a measure (e.g., test, chart, learning activity, photography, rubric)--the 200 fair use guideline does not apply. You need to request permission to use it for publication (including a ERIC submission or your graduate thesis).


If the source clearly says it is copyright free or gives permission, you may use it if you cite and reference the work correctly. You will see that these published measures are available copyright free provided they are referenced as indicated.


For visuals, if you look under the picture AND at the bottom of the page, if it says copyright or has the copyright symbol, you can't use it for publication. For Microsoft Word, they do allow use for our purposes, but you still should say that's the source.


Educational fair use means you can use something in the classroom or an in-class assignment, but does NOT apply to publishing for something like your thesis or ERIC.


Anytime I've asked an author for permission, they've given it to me. You can probably find contact information on the Internet.


Big publishing houses usually will not give permission without a fee. Many communication measures charge a couple dollars per measure and do not allow publication.


Once you receive permission, you need a complete reference listing and add something like: "Used with permission from ____________." See your APA manual for what you can and cannot do.


What is unethical student behavior?


Plagiarism in this course is failure to use American Psychological Association (APA) style by crediting the source of ideas or information. You will see basic expectations in your Park University catalog and in your APA manual.


Be aware that the odds against two people accidentally duplicating a normal sentence in the English language are astronomical.


Remember, just one sentence of plagiarism is still plagiarism.



Some examples of plagiarism include the following:
1. Using review of literature information from a journal article without indicating that you are citing the secondary source. You should look it up in the original source--primary source--if you plan to use the information.
2. Failing to use quotation marks when providing a direct quotation. This includes using words from a journal article without using quotation marks. This includes lifting a section from a journal article's review of literature. This includes using an abstract from a publisher or author.

3. Failing to cite and reference the source of paraphrased ideas.
4. Using part of an assignment written by the student, but turned in previously in another course.
5. Using part of an assignment written by another student or someone else.

6. Copying information with citations, but failing to use quotation marks for the real author's words and citing the information as a secondary source.

7. Citing the source of information, but failing to use quotation marks to indicate the words were written by that source.

8. Citing or referencing sources you haven't read.

9. Using incorrect APA citation style so the reader is led to believe a source is paraphrased, when the source is actually quoted word for word.

10. Mixing an actual quotation with paraphrasing, without using quotation marks for the actual quoted material.



Academic dishonesty includes unethical behavior, such as falsification of data. Some examples of unethical research or writing include the following:

1. Quoting more than 200 words from a single source (or a work that is a whole, such as a measure), even when using quotation marks, a citation, and reference listing. You must receive author or publisher permission in this case.

2. Quoting an author's or publisher's abstract, even if cited.

3. Turning in part of an assignment you submitted for another course.

4. Implying you read material you did not read. If you put material in a bibliography, for example, you are saying that you read the works in that bibliography, not stole abstracts about them.  In other words, if you cite or reference a source, you are saying you have read that source.

5. Fabrication or omission of data.  Using opinion without research substantiation.

6. Making up "information" or using information from your personal experience, which cannot be substantiated through scholarly research or practice (and thus cited and referenced).


Why is academic integrity important?


US society values private ownership, including ownership of ideas.


US academia values the use of truth in pursuit of the truth (knowledge, learning).



Universities are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, which requires rigor in order to achieve. We have established precise procedures about how to increase accurate knowledge.


Consider the implications of failure to meet those standards:

·         How would you feel if you found out your surgeon cheated his or her way through medical school?

·         How would you feel if the surgeon had been diligent, but the people who conducted the medical research about the operation had lied about their research findings?

·         How would you feel if the surgeon had been diligent, but the people who wrote the surgeon's college textbooks put the materials together without regard for whether or not the "information" was true?

Imagine that you turned in a paper in class and the professor gave an "A" to another student who turned in nothing, but gave you a "0" (Kline, p. 254). That's what happens when one person takes credit for someone else's work.


Academics take this process of academic integrity very seriously in all aspects of the advancement of knowledge. We have a moral obligation to abide--and ensure that our students also abide--by the rules of scientific inquiry.



Under Park University policy, inappropriate citation or academic dishonesty as described above can result in a failing grade for the assignment or for the entire course.


Previously in some communication courses, students have earned an "F" for an individual assignment that used words written by someone else without using correct APA citation.


Previously, students in some communication courses have earned an "F" in the course when a major course assignment (the core assessment assignment) used some words written by someone else without using correct APA citation.


In other words, you should expect an "F" in the course if there is evidence of any kind of plagiarism or academic dishonesty on the course's final Core Assessment assignment, the graduate comprehensive exams, the senior project, or the graduate reflection, project, or thesis.




Remember, everything needs to be cited, whether paraphrased or direct quotes. You should always use the original (primary) source. If you can't find it and have to cite from a secondary source, you need to say so because the author doing the citing may be wrong and you must not imply that you have read the original source. You would write a secondary cite like this: McCroskey found . . . (cited in Richmond, 2010).


Remember, you cannot lift a section from a review of literature in a journal article and use it as your own because that is plagiarism. You must read the articles you are citing and referencing, then write the information in your own words.



Faculty may use plagiarism detection software to determine whether the content can be found through the Internet, published sources, or in an assignment submitted by another student at another university.




Note, all assignments are completely at the discretion of your professor for this course.  The guidelines here are an example format, which may be different from your professor's requirements.



This assignment is a formal quantitative research proposal for your MA thesis, project, or reflection.  In CA 500 or another course, you've had a chance to think about a communication or leadership topic you can pursue in the capstone experience (thesis, project, or reflection).  Your program will be more efficient and meaningful, if you focus on that goal throughout your course of study.


A thesis is a major research study (5 credit hours), a project is a significant piece of work (5 credit hours), and a reflection is a substantive synthesis (2 credit hours). A substantive proposal for the capstone experience at this stage is typically a minimum of ten pages totally written in your own words, with a minimum of 5 pages reviewing the literature, and at least 20 peer-reviewed, scholarly, quantitative, articles form Ebsco Host's Communication and Mass Media Complete, which are cited and referenced in APA style. 


Thus, the core assessment for this course is an extremely practical one.  You will complete the project in stages, so by the end of the course you have applied the principles you learn in this course to your proposed capstone experience. This process will help you (a.) apply principles of quantitative research, (b.) conduct your review of literature for theory-building, (b) think through the problem you will investigate in your thesis project, or reflection, and (c) practice the proposal preparation process you will use for your capstone experience.


If you are new to the program, you may want to read the thesis and project guidelines in your Park materials.  You can also review the webpages.  Dr. Aitken--the course developer--has prepared program advising materials, which can be accessed here: 



Quantitative research design means you will design a scientific study involving numbers to answer the questions.  Typically, this is a content analysis, experiment, or survey in communication or leadership studies.  In designing your scientific study, you will need a research question that can be analyzed or tested and answered, operational definitions of the independent and dependent variables, and other elements typically contained in a scientific research proposal (e.g., an artifact to study, a control group, randomization of participant subjects, research design, a measure). 


A proposal is a plan or blueprint for study.  The number below are based on the 5th edition of the APA manual.  Remember, think like a social scientist:

1.      Title Page (see 1.06)

2.      Abstract (see 1.07)

3.      Introduction (see 1.08)

4.      Method:  Experiment (see 1.09)

5.      References (see 1.13)

6.      Appendix (see 1.14) (e.g., measure or if you have an unpublished test you need to include its validation).


The quantitative research proposal needs to be reality-based, and in a communication topic where you have a burning question, and an area where you have begun to work with the intention of a thesis, project, or reflection. 


By hypothetical, we mean that the content analysis, survey, or experiment may or may not be the one you actually do for your project, thesis, or reflection. 


By real, we mean that the quantitative research will be close to what you will do for your thesis, project, or reflection.


You will Include an appropriate survey of literature for your proposal emphasizing quantitative research, using peer-reviewed scholarly articles from the field of communication studies (Ebsco Host Communication and Mass Media Complete). 


A survey of literature is theory-building based on communication theories from peer-reviewed journal articles, typically revolving around three to five threads of research findings in the field of study.



Unless you professor suggests otherwise, please prepare this proposal in steps.  Some faculty may use a different approach. As weekly minor assignments or as segments of the core assessment, please submit weekly your progress for the evolving proposal. 


Submit everything together in ONE file per week.  If the professor cannot open your file, you will earn zero points.  Acceptable formats include .doc, .txt, and .rtf.


You will find specific organizational and writing guidelines in your APA Publication Manual Chapter 1 (the required textbook for this course and available at any library).