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COMS 3520: Empirical Research Applications in Communication (Dr. Nicole Blau)   Tags: communication, communications, literature review  

Use this Guide to learn how to locate research materials for your Quantitative Research Project.
Last Updated: Nov 8, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The purpose of this course project is to give you a hands on experience with the scholarly research process. 

Use this guide to help you develop the research skills necessary for your project's success.

The guide breaks down the steps of scholarly research into a logical sequence.

Survey Interview. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest.


Project Instructions

This is a copy of Dr. Blau's Instructions for your Research Project.


COMS 3520 Research Project

Your research project is broken down into several tasks.  Begin with choosing your topic.  Then work on this project on a weekly basis.  These four sections of your project address the development of higher level research skills.

1. Topic
    Choose a topic that interests you.  Topic choice is the single most important part of
    research.  And remember, your topic must be approved by Dr. Blau before you begin.

2. Initial Literature Review
    Use the subject specific databases, Communication & Mass Media Complete
    (EBSCO) and/or PsychCRITIQUES.

    Identify 5 - 6 articles on your topic.  Narrow your topic to a manageable size.  Develop
    your hypotheses/research questions.

3.  Hypotheses/Research Questions
     Develop at least one hypothesis or research question that your study will address. 
     Limit the number of variables that your study will address.

4.  Complete Literature Review
     Use the databases and reference list of articles to read about your topic.  This
     includes the theories directly related to your study.


What is primary research?

Primary research involves collecting data about a given subject directly from the real world.

  • A primary sources is a description of a research study written by the original investigator(s).  You can identify a primary source by figuring out whether the author(s) of the article conducted the research described in the article.
  • It is any type of research that you go out and collect yourself.
  • Examples include surveys, interviews observations, analysis and ethnographic research. 
  • A secondary source is a summary or description of a research study written by someone other than the study investigator(s).  You can identify a secondary source by determining whether the author(s) of the article did not conduct the research described in the article.  Instead the author(s) are describing research done by others.
  • A good researcher knows how to use both primary and secondary sources in her writing and how to integrate them in a cohesive fashion.

Source: Purdue OWL: Conducting primary research.
Source: Purdue University Calumet: Nursing 3900, "Primary and secondary sources defined."
Original source: Nieswiadomy, R.M. (2008).  Foundations of Nursing Research.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc

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