Summer 2023 - CMNS 202 D100

Design and Method in Qualitative Communication Research (4)

Class Number: 4882

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 15, 2023
    Tue, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Nine CMNS units with a minimum grade of C-.



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 introduces several of the main methodological currents in the critical study of communication. Recognizing the socially constructed nature of communication, students will be presented with the tools to critically analyze, interpret, and intervene in the communicative world that surrounds them. As such, students will be introduced to a range of methods including documentary research, interviews, participatory action research, and discourse analysis. Students will be guided through the research process including selecting theoretical orientations, defining research problems and formulating research questions, selecting methods and developing research procedures, and,
finally, gathering data, interpreting results, and reporting findings.

Students will be challenged to consider the research process in relation to the power dynamics of contemporary communication. In doing so, they will confront popular notions and ideologies with the tools of critical inquiry, ultimately in order to use these tools to contribute to scholarly and political debates about the world of communication. Furthermore, students will leave this class with a nuanced understanding of the history, power relations, and ethics of social research as well as their responsibilities as researchers.


  • Tutorial/Lab Attendance and Participation 10%
  • Weekly Lab Exercises 10%
  • Method Application Assignments (3 x 20%) 60%
  • In-Lecture Quizzes (2 x 10%) 20%



All readings will be available digitally in the ‘files’ section on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


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.