Fall 2023 - CMNS 201W D100

Empirical Communication Research Methods (4)

Class Number: 1105

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Nine CMNS units with a minimum grade of C-.



An introduction to empirical research methods in diverse traditions of communication enquiry. Some methods recognize communication as everyday interactions; others analyze communication as a process; still others blend traditional scientific empiricism with analytical and critical methods derived from the arts and humanities. Topics include: ethics, paradigms, conceptualizing and operationalizing research, sampling, interviews, surveys, unobtrusive observation, content analysis, and the role of statistics in communication research. Students with credit for CMNS 201 or CMNS 260 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Quantitative.


This course is an introduction to the ways of conducting empirical research.  Empirical research uses techniques of direct and indirect observation to test hypotheses and develop new ideas.  The course will introduce students to basic principles and tools in research design and data analysis. 

The goal of this course is to help students develop the necessary skills to read and critically evaluate research reports and scholarly articles.  The course provides useful knowledge for upper-level coursework, and opportunities for students to learn skills many employers hope new university graduates will have. 

Empirical research guides decision-making in matters that concern all of us. Understanding how research is done is an essential step in assessing appropriate uses of research in real world applications.


  • Quizzes (during lectures) 25%
  • Final Quiz (2 hours) 25%
  • Research Assignments 30%
  • Attendance and Participation in Tutorials 20%


Grading to be confirmed in class.



Babbie, E., Edgerton, J., Roberts. (2020). Fundamentals of Social Research (5th edition). Nelson Education, Toronto.
ISBN: 9781774747100

Other readings will available electronically, or posted On Reserve at the Burnaby Campus Library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.