Spring 2024 - CMNS 801 G100

Design and Methodology in Communication Research (5)

Class Number: 1138

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 1:00–4:50 p.m.



A survey course which examines the problems, methods and theoretical assumptions in communication research using case studies of research design and methods. Students may design a research project and conduct a small pilot study in a selected area. Normally offered in the spring term and expected in the first year of graduate study.


In this course we will address communications as an epistemic practice, both in how we think about knowledge production in the field of communications studies, and in how we *do knowledge* as communicators. We will address knowledge production in communications using a contemplative approach that foregrounds acceptance, respect, curiosity and exploration. Everyone will take up a preoccupation during the course, including the instructor, and class time will be dedicated to working through how we each choose to address our theme. To this end, each week is organized around a question that each of us will try to answer about our own work.


  • Research Diary 15%
  • Exploration of a Methodological Approach 1 20%
  • Exploration of a Methodological Approach 2 20%
  • Ethics Review Assignment 10%
  • First Draft of Project Proposal 35%


We will have a full class on January 12. Readings will be circulated ahead of time.

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). For further information see: www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html.



All course materials are available virtually or via the SFU library. Last year’s syllabus is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1goDEtOed_T9rGWqDtdyTL6d7JmcmXYX5bfgbObH3MaE/edit?usp=sharing. This year’s syllabus, which will be made available in early January, will broadly follow this model, but will be updated with new readings.


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.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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 term 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.