Spring 2021 - CMNS 202 D100

Design and Method in Qualitative Communication Research (4)

Class Number: 2877

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • 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.


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 quantitative methodologies 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.


  • Tutorial/Lab attendance and participation 10%
  • Weekly lab exercise 10%
  • 3 Assignments (20% each) 60%
  • 2 Quizzes (10% each) 20%

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).