MAVA 307

Course: MAVA307 – Media Research Methods (Fall 2020)
Instructor: Lemi Baruh, Department of Media and Visual Arts
Office: Social Sciences SOS 204
Phone: (212) 338 1133
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 13:30-14:00 or by appointment
Class Hours and Location: Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 14:00-14:50, Online/Zoom


This course aims to provide a basic introduction to research methods used in conducting media and communications research. The course is designed to introduce the students to basic issues and problems encountered in social scientific inquiry and will cover various quantitative and qualitative research methods, including survey, experiments, content and textual analysis, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. Specific attention will be paid to applications related to public opinion research, television ratings and other audience measurement methods.


By the end the semester, students should be able to:

    1. Demonstrate proficiency in elements of media research, including development of research questions and hypotheses, conducting literature reviews, designing studies and collecting data
    2. Conduct basic research projects that include operationalization of questions, development of necessary instruments and data collection.
    3. Demonstrate a keen understanding of ethical issues in social science research


The required reading for the course will be available electronically, via Blackboard. The course pack contains chapters from the following sources:

    • Babbie, E. (2010). The Practice of Social Research. (Wadsworth, Ed.). Belmont.
    • Cozby, P., & Bates, S. (2011). Methods in Behavioral Research. New York: McGraw Hill.
    • Davies, M., & Mosdell, N. (2006). Practical Research Methods for Media and Cultural Studies: Making People Count. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd.
    • Edmunds, H. (1999). The Focus Group Research Handbook. Illinois: NTC Business Books.
    • Schutt, R. K. (2006). Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research. Book (Vol. 5). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
    • Wimmer, R., & Dominick, J. R. (2011). Mass Media Research: An Introduction. Boston: Cengage Learning.


Lectures and Readings: The lecture notes and readings are designed to complement each other. They are not substitutes for each other. Namely, lectures will not only focus and clarify material in the readings but will also provide additional information. Likewise some issues covered in assigned readings may not be covered in class discussions. Students are responsible for both the content covered in readings and the content covered in class. Lecture notes will be available on Blackboard before they are covered in class.

Quizzes: Starting with Week 2, for every subject there will be a quiz on the topics covered (the lecture, class discussions and exercises, the assigned readings, and other supplementary materials) for that subject. The quiz dates are available on the weekly schedule. Quizzes will be conducted during class time via Blackboard. For each student, the lowest three quizzes will be dropped from grade calculation (i.e., best 5 out of 8 quizzes will be graded).

Research Proposal Project: At the end of the semester students will be required to submit a proposal for a research project on media and/or communications. Throughout the semester there will be two milestones for the research proposal.

Initial Prospectus: The prospectus should provide background information about the subject and a statement of your research question or hypothesis and its justification. The prospectus should also a brief summary of relevant previous research. This brief summary should be purposive. It should not summarize all the literature that you may have read about the research topic. It should focus on articulating what is missing in the literature and how your research question can advance the literature. Word of caution: the claim that a research question has not been studies before is not sufficient to warrant that the research question you are proposing should be studied. The main body of the prospectus should not be longer than 1200 words. In addition to the main text the prospectus should contain a bibliography.

Research Proposal: Using the feedback received for the initial prospectus, you will need to write a full research proposal. You can think of the research proposal as a document that tries to persuade a funding institution (like TUBITAK) about the importance of the research question and the suitability of the data collection methods you will be utilizing. Using existing literature, it should convince the reader about the novelty and potential impact of the research question. The recommended structure for the proposal is as follows:

    1. A Title Page (Project Title, Your Name, Last Name, Department)
    2. Abstract (250 Words Max)
    3. Introduction
    4. Main Body: Reviews the literature and states the Research Questions (and, if applicable, Hypotheses).
    5. Methods: that summarizes the method you will use (e.g., content analysis, surveys, experiments, participant observations, focus groups). It is your task to determine the method that is most suitable for your research question.
    6. References
    7. An Appendix that contains the instrument you are using (in full detail, completely ready and formatted for use). For example, if you are using a survey, you need to provide the full and final version of the questionnaire form. If you are using an experiment, you need to summarize how you will do the experiment, provide the materials you will use for manipulation of the independent variable, provide details of the procedures that you will use to measure the dependent variable.

Formatting: Please use APA Style and Formatting Guide for formatting your proposal. Please use Times New Roman, 12 pts as your font. Margins should be set to 2.54cm from each side. The total length of the introduction, main body and the methods sections should not exceed 3000 words. For further information about APA Style and Formatting

    1. American Psychological Association
    2. Purdue University Online Writing Lab

I strongly recommend that you use yourself with a reference management tool like Endnote, Mendeley or Zotero to manage your readings, annotate them and then cite references. Endnote is available from KU IT Portal. Free versions of Mendeley and Zotero are also available online.

Supervision: During the semester, each student will have two consultation/supervision sessions for the final project. The sessions will be held via Zoom. Students can ask for additional consultation sessions if they see a need.


Grading Components: Your final grade will be based on the following graded elements:

    • 60% – Quizzes on Lectures and Readings (Best 5 out of 8 Quizzes)
    • 15% – Initial Prospectus for Research Project
    • 25% – Research Proposal

Grading Scale: The following grading scale will be used for the course.

90+          A 70+          C
87+          A- 67+          C-
83+          B+ 64+          D+
80+          B 60+          D
77+          B- 0-59         F
73+          C+  


Students are expected to be on time for class. Attendance will be taken within the first 10 minutes of the class and students who arrive later than 10 minutes after the scheduled time of class will be counted as absent. As a courtesy to your peers, once inside the class, please turn off your phone or put it in vibrate mode. Please refrain from chatting with your peers and please do not leave the room until the end of the class.


  • Please keep in mind that online classrooms are still classrooms. While engaging in communication with your peers and/or your instructor, please:
    • Do not dominate any discussion
    • Do not insult or name call.
    • Do not defame anybody.
    • Do not make fun of someone.
    • Do not use offensive, racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory language
    • Use correct spelling and grammar.
    • Verify facts before you share any information.
    • Review and edit your post before clicking the “Send” button.
    • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own.
    • When you disagree with someone, express your disagreement in a respectful way.
    • Express your opinion, even if you think your opinion is the minority opinion.
    • Do not assume that people will be able to guess what you have in mind.
    • Respect other people’s privacy.
    • Do not hesitate to ask for feedback.
    • When in doubt, always check with your instructor for clarification.
    • Always give proper credit to the sources you are using.


Schedule is subject to change depending on the instructor and students’ needs. Students are expected to follow the Blackboard updates regarding changes in schedule

October 6, 2020:Introduction to Course
October 8, 2020:Social Scientific Approach
Reading: Schutt, Chapter 1
October 9, 2020: No MAVA 307 Class.

October 13, 2020:Social Scientific Approach
October 15, 2020:Social Scientific Approach
October 16, 2020:Social Scientific Approach – Quiz #1

October 20, 2020:Research Ethics
Reading: Cozby & Bates, Chapter 3
October 22, 2020:Research Ethics
October 23, 2020:Research Ethics – Quiz #2

October 27, 2020:Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
Reading: Schutt, Chapter 3
October 30, 2020: Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
Activity: Meet Zotero

November 03, 2020:Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
November 05, 2020: Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
November 06, 2020: Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
Activity: Research Question Ideas

November 10, 2020:Conceptualization and Measurement in Research
November 12, 2020: Conceptualization and Measurement in Research – Quiz #3
November 13, 2020: Sampling
Reading: Babbie, Chapter 7

November 17, 2020: Sampling
November 19, 2020: Sampling
November 20, 2020: Sampling – Quiz #4

November 24, 2020: Qualitative and Observational Methods
Reading: Babbie, Chapter 10
November 26, 2020: Qualitative and Observational Methods
Watch and Debate: Kitchen Stories (Salmer fra kjøkkenet) (2003)
November 27, 2020: Qualitative and Observational Methods,
Assignment Due: Initial Prospectus due November 27, 2020, at 17:00.

December 01, 2020: Qualitative and Observational Methods – Quiz #5
December 03, 2020: Surveys and Questionnaires
Reading: Wimmer & Dominick, Chapter 7
December 04, 2020: Surveys and Questionnaires

December 08, 2020: Surveys and Questionnaires
December 10, 2020: Surveys and Questionnaires
December 11, 2020: Surveys and Questionnaires – Quiz #6

December 15, 2020: Causation and Experimental Design
Reading: Schutt, Chapter 5
December 17, 2020:Causation and Experimental Design
December 18, 2020: Causation and Experimental Design

December 22, 2020: Causation and Experimental Design
December 24, 2020:Causation and Experimental Design
December 25, 2020: Causation and Experimental Design – Quiz #7

December 29, 2020: Content Analysis
Reading: Davies & Mosdell, Chapter 7
December 31, 2020:Content Analysis

January 05, 2021: Content Analysis
January 07, 2021: Content Analysis
January 08, 2021: Content Analysis – Quiz #8