Syllabus

The course is organized as a primarily flipped classroom. What this means is that there will be very little in-class lecturing; we’ll take advantage of our scheduled time together to focus on discussion, analysis, and hands-on exercises. Thus, along with the materials listed below, most weeks there will be at least one video posted with a lecture and slides. Some weeks you will also be required to watch and/or work along with screencasts, audio or video clips, handouts, articles, or other materials. Most of these will be posted to Blackboard; any publicly available materials are hyperlinked in the syllabus below.

You are expected to complete all of the assigned readings/viewings before the first class session of the week (usually Tuesday). Weekly quizzes, exams, and other assignments can and will cover content from all assigned materials.

The outline below gives a general idea of the topics to be addressed, as well as key deadlines. However, it is subject to change over the course of the semester based on progress made and other considerations. Any changes will be announced in class and the syllabus below will be edited accordingly, although it may take up to 24 hours from the announcement.

This is yet another reason why it is essential to attend class and keep up with the material. You are responsible for keeping track of what goes on in class as well as all readings and deadlines. Please do not ask me to email you about content you may have missed. I’m happy to meet with you during office hours (no appointment necessary) or by appointment to go over any of the material or assignments, but your classmates should be your first-order resources for notes.

Selected material will be available via the various online resources used in this course, as indicated below and in the policies.

Unless otherwise specified, assignments are due by the end of class on Thursday of the week indicated.

Provisional calendar

Week 1 (Thursday, August 23)

COURSE OVERVIEW & INTRODUCTIONS

Week 2 (august 28/30)

INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH
Preparation: Institute for Public Relations Research Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles; Lindenmann (2006), “Public Relations Research for Planning and Evaluation”; English (2005), “Public Relations Research in the Real World of Business” pp. 1-10 (to “Types of Public Relations Research”); Wrench et al., pp. 92-93; Problem statements and research questions (handout)
Be ready to discuss: General definitions of research, the purpose of PR Research, types of research, formulating problem statements and research questions
Assignments due: In-class

Week 3 (September 4/6)

STAKEHOLDERS AND RELATIONSHIPS

Preparation: Rawlins (2006) “Prioritizing Stakeholders for Public Relations”; Hon & Grunig (1999) “Guidelines for Measuring Relationships in Public Relations” Part 1, pp. 1-25 (up to “Measuring Outcomes of Relationships”)
Be ready to discuss: How to define “relationships” in a public relations context, how to identify and segment stakeholders
Assignments due: In-class

Week 4 (SEPTEMBER 11/13)

SECONDARY RESEARCH, SEO, & RESEARCH ETHICS
Preparation: Radiolab episode “Oops” (Note: this is an hour-long podcast, and you are expected to listen to it in its entirety); “Why are Americans so…?“; Social Media Research (video); Wrench et al Chapter 4, pp. 62-73 (starting with “Step Four”)
Be ready to discuss: The purpose of secondary research and literature reviews in public relations research, search engine trend reporting tools, social media measurement
Assignments due: In-class (research ethics certification course)

Week 5 (SEPTEMBER 18/20)

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH I
Preparation: Janesick, Chapter 1, pp 1-12. “Qualitative Research and Habits of Mind”; Turner (2010), “Qualitative Interview Design: A practical guide for novice investigators”
Be ready to discuss: The nature and challenges of qualitative research, core concepts of research interviews
Assignments due: Social media & SEO analysis

Week 6 (SEPTEMBER 25/27)

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH II
Preparation: David Dickson, “Focus Group Approach”; “Finding NPR Detractors in the Most Unusual Place“;
Be ready to discuss: Issues relating to selecting and conducting focus group research
Assignments due: In-class

Week 7 (OCTOBER 2/4)

CONTENT ANALYSIS I
Preparation: Bernard Berelson, “Content Analysis in Communication Research,” in Media Studies, A Reader (2nd ed) (edited by Paul Marris & Sue Thornham. New York: NYU Press. pp. 200-209; “Coding for Content Analysis“; sample content analysis report (skim)
Be ready to discuss: Definitions and  concepts of content analysis, when it should be used, why it is important for public relations research
Assignments due: In-class

Week 8 (OCTOBER 9/11)

CONTENT ANALYSIS II
MIDTERM EXAM
Preparation: All assigned materials to date
Be ready to discuss: content analysis, questions about the midterm
Assignments due: Problem statement, research questions, and description of sample for content analysis (due Thursday by 5 pm)
The midterm will be available on Blackboard from before class on Tuesday, October 9, to noon on Friday, October 12. I will be in the lab during the usual times on Thursday for questions about the exam, or if you want to come in and work on your content analysis project

WEEK 9 (OCTOBER 18)

NO CLASS ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16 (FALL BREAK)

QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH I
Preparation: Stacks Chapter 3; Wrench et al Chapter 6;
Be ready to discuss: Nature and purpose of quantitative research, examples of quantitative research methods
Assignments due: None

Week 10 (OCTOBER 23/25)

QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH II
Preparation: “Validity and Reliability”; Levels of measurement (handout)
Be ready to discuss: differences between and types of reliability and validity, levels of measurement
Assignments due: Content analysis report

Week 11 (OCTOBER 30/NOVEMBER 1)

SURVEY RESEARCH & DESIGN
Preparation: Basics of survey design (handout); Girden & Kabakoff, Chapter 4, “Surveys” pp 67-69 (to “where the data were gathered,” end of first para on p. 69), pp. 84-93 (Study Example 4.2: “Bad dates or emotional trauma? The aftermath of campus sexual assault”)
Be ready to discuss: How surveys are used in public relations research, key concepts of survey design, types of scales and what they measure
Assignments due: In-class

Week 12 (NOVEMBER 6/8)

SAMPLING & BASIC SOCIAL SCIENCE STATISTICS
Preparation: Video lectures on sampling and data analysis; Sample data analysis plan (handout); SPSS screencasts
Be ready to discuss: Types of descriptive and inferential statistics, definitions and examples of univariate and bivariate analyses
Assignments due:  Individual survey drafts for feedback and peer review (due Tuesday)

Week 13 (november 13/15)

REPORTING QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
Preparation: Weidemann & Fitzgerald, 2008, “Mastering the art of writing quantitative research reports”; screencasts on advanced report layout;
Be ready to discuss: Challenges of analyzing and reporting quantitative public relations research
Assignments due: Sampling frame and draft of team survey (due Tuesday). Final team surveys must be distributed via SurveyMonkey no later than noon on Friday, November 16

Week 14 (NOVEMBER 20)

NO CLASS ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22 (THANKSGIVING)

DATA ANALYSIS & VISUALIZATION
Preparation: video lecture on data analysis; handouts; Infographics; Student Prezi on data visualization;
Be ready to discuss: Statistical data analysis
Assignments due: Survey data analysis plan

Week 15 (NOVEMBER 27/29)
WEEK 16 (DECEMBER 4/6)

SURVEY ANALYSIS, REPORT WRITING, AND PEER REVIEW
Preparation: Review screencasts and readings
Assignments due: Draft of survey report must be submitted to Blackboard for feedback and peer review by noon Thursday (December 6); Feedback on peer surveys must be completed by 9 am Tuesday (December 11). Labs will be open but attendance is required for at least two hours each week.

Week 17 (DECEMBER 11)

FINAL REVIEW & WRAP-UP
Preparation: Review notes from readings and lectures
Be ready to discuss: Any questions you have about the final
Assignments due: Final presentations. You can submit the final drafts of your reports for grading until noon on Thursday, December 13.

take-home final due by noon on FRIday, december 14 (It will be posted to blackboard bEFORE CLASS on Tuesday, december 11)

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