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Research Methods


Zhang Z.

Course director

Pace J. V.



Course Objectives

The course introduces some of the most frequently applied research methods in Media and Communication studies. Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • Understand the changing environment and new trends of media and communication studies;
  • Understand the various types of research methods and tools, including their benefits and shortcomings;
  • Become aware of the ethical issues surrounding communication research;
  • Be able to prepare the scientific framework of the master thesis;
  • Be able to draft a thesis proposal or alternatively write research paper using the methods learned in the class.

Course Description

The course is designed to introduce students to social scientific research methods in Media and Communication studies so that students can conduct empirical research and understand the general framework of their Masters’ thesis. In this course, students will learn about the various principles and techniques of research methods to investigate their research topics and critically analyze their empirical studies. Students will develop a better understanding of and ability to use research methods in their scientific papers, theses, and various career paths.

Learning Methods

The course will be structured in lectures led by the two teachers. Sessions will be accompanied with power point presentations.

Students will begin developing their thesis proposal or research paper from the second half of the semester, and individual meetings with the teachers on developing their papers will be undertaken.


Students must attend class for at least 60%. Teachers will not provide alternative teaching materials beyond online teaching materials presented in class.

Examination Information

The final grade will be composed of the results achieved by students:

  • Written draft thesis proposal or research paper (2,500 words, 70% of the final evaluation)
  • Presentation of the of proposal or research paper (10 minutes, 20% of the final evaluation)
  • In-class participation (60% minimum) (10% of the final evaluation)

The thesis proposal or research paper should include stated research questions/hypotheses (maximum five), background or context to research, key academic literature related to topic (minimum 10 articles), explanation and justification for research methods chosen, analysis of results and conclusion (in case of research paper), thesis structure (thesis only) and bibliography (in APA style).

Required Material

The main study material for this course are the “lecture notes” and “example papers” compiled by the teachers and published on the platform.


Further readings are not mandatory but highly recommended:

Bryman, A. (2015) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 5th Edition.

Croucher, Stephen M. & Cronn-Mills, Daniel. (2015). Understanding Communication Research Methods: a theoretical and practical approach. Routledge: New York.

Merrigan, G., & Huston, C. (2009). Communication Research Methods (2nd Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wimmer, Roger D., and Dominick, Joseph R. (2006). Mass Media Research: An Introduction (10th Edition), Wadsworth, Cengage Learning: Boston.