Summer 2019 - CMNS 202 D100

Design and Method in Qualitative Communication Research (4)

Class Number: 1359

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Thu, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    24 units, and CMNS 110 and 130.



An introduction to interpretive approaches in communication inquiry. Topics include ethics, paradigms, conceptualizing the research process, documentary research, historical methods, discourse or textual analysis, ethnographic research, and performative research. Students with credit for CMNS 262 may not take CMNS 202 for further credit.


Course objectives:

This course aims to provide students tools to assess media and communication phenomena with critical thinking. Based on a recognition that our reality is socially constructed, students are expected to deconstruct these phenomena with proper qualitative methods including interviews, discourse analysis, observations, and documentary research, etc.In detail, students will learn how to choose particular theories, how to define the problem, how to select proper methods, and how to gather data, and how to interpret the results. Throughout the semester, students will be able to differentiate between qualitative and quantitativemethodologies and traditions. 

By doing so, as researchers, students will understand the relationship between knowledge and power by practicing various methods. This is going to help them to uncover media and social phenomena which have believed to be ‘common senses’ and ‘natural’ in our everyday life. In addition to this, students will be aware of research ethics and things that they have to consider when they conduct research.


Major course themes:       

  • Understanding the reality as socially constructed       
  • How to position as a researcher?
  • Differences between quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • Various methods within the qualitative tradition


  • Lecture attendance 5%
  • Tutorial participation 5%
  • Lab attendance 5%
  • Weekly lab exercise 10%
  • Assignment 1 (Documentary research) 15%
  • Assignment 2 (Observational research) 15%
  • Assignment 3 (Discourse analysis) 15%
  • Three quizzes (10% each) 30%



To be finalized in the first class.


The school expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, the School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline. [Note: as of May 1, 2009,the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02) and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]



Readings will be made available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.