**PTC 604: Communication Theory and Research**

**Instructor**

Professor Norbert Elliot

**Course Description**

This course reviews major theories of communication and provides strategies for theory-based research in the field of Professional and Technical Communication. The course focuses on the following research methods: problem statement and hypothesis formulation derived from theory; research design and data generation; existing information sources and their acquisition; and analytic techniques. Our goal in the course is to allow students to develop analytic methods--drawn from traditions in both the humanities and the social sciences--which are necessary to generate a well-considered research.

**Prerequisites**

Students must have graduate standing and are usually enrolled in the PTC Certificate or the MS in PTC. If you are not in these categories, permission of the instructor is required.

**Texts**

The basic text, statistical software, and the handbook must be purchased before the first day of class:

The basic text:

H. Russell Bernard.

Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000. ISBN: 0-7619-1403-X

The statistical software:

Use Package ISBN: 0132243900X. This ISBN will yield the following--

Marija J. Norusis.

SPSS 14.0 Guide to Data Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN 0-13-199528-6

SPSS 14.0 Brief Guide. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN 0-130173847-X

SPSS 14.0 for Windows Student Version. Packaged withSPSS 14.0 Brief Guide.

The handbook:

Joseph Gibaldi.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003. ISBN: 0-87352-986-3

The following texts are standard and will be very easy to obtain either in a good library or through NJIT interlibrary loan. During the course, you will need to consult many of the following:.

Jay Bolter and Diane Gromala. __Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital
Art, and the Myth of Transparency__. Cambridge: MIT P, 2003.

Jay Bolter. __Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing__.
2nd. ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum, 2001.

Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin. __Remediation: Understanding the New Media__.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.

Kenneth Burke. __A Grammar of Motives__. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969.

Paul Cobley, ed. __The Communication Theory Reader__. London and New York:
Routledge, 1996.

Terry Eageton. __Literary Theory__. 2nd. ed. Minnesota: University of MN
P, 1996.

Stanley Fish. __Is There a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretative
Communities__. Harvard: Harvard UP, 1982.

Linda Flower. __The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive
Theory of Writing__. Carbondale: SIU P, 1994.

Northrop Frye. __Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays__. Princeton: Princeton
UP, 1957. With a forward by Harold Bloom, 2000.

Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. __Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies
for Qualitative Research__. New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1967.

Martin Heidegger. "The Question Concerning Technology." __Basic
Writings__. Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper, 1977. 287-317.

James Kinneavy. __A Theory of Discourse__. New York: Norton, 1980.

George Landow. __Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory
and Technology__. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

Janice M. Lauer and J. William Asher. __Composition Research: Empirical Designs__.
New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

Amia Lieblich, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Tamar Zilber. __Narrative Research: Reading,
Analysis, Interpretation__. Thousand Oakes, California: Sage P, 1998

Edward Tufte. __Visual Explanations: Image and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative__.
Cheshire, Connecticut: Graphics P, 1997.

**The Portfolio**

Copies of all assignments-both in hard copy and on disk--will be kept by each
student in a portfolio retained by the instructor at the end of the course.
This document will reflect the overall quality of your work.

**Late Assignments**

Late assignments are not accepted and will receive a failing grade unless prior arrangements are made. If there is an emergency, I may be reached at either my office or by e-mail.

**Assignments and Grading Procedures**

Your assignments, their point value of your final grade, and the dates due are described below:

--Critical Review of Theory 1: Literary Theory (10 pts)

--Critical Review of Theory 2: Composition Theory (10 pts)

--Critical Review of Theory 3: Hypertext Theory (10 pts)

--Initial Research Proposal (10 pts)

--Critical Review of Qualitative Research (10 pts)

--Update of Research Proposal (10 pts)

--Critical Review of Quantitative Research (10 pts)

--Final Research Proposal (10 pts)

The Exercises

--Exercise 1: The Literature Review for PTC (2 pts)

--Exercise 2: IRB Training on the WWW (2 pts)

--Exercise 3: Qualitative Research (2 pts)

--Exercise 4: Software-Excel, SPSS, and JUMP (SAS) (2 pts)

--Exercise 5: Working with Data (2 pts)

--Exercise 6: Working with Charts (2 pts)

--Exercise 7: Calculating the correlation coefficient-Pearson r (2 pts)

--Exercise 8: Calculating the t-Test (2 pts)

--Exercise 9: Calculating the F-test (2 pts)

--Exercise 10: Putting It All Together (2pts)

The final grade will be based on your cumulative effort in the course; that is, your grade will be based on your improvement, not solely on a sum of grades.

**Syllabus (This is a sample syllabus. While the basic elements of the course
remain consistent across semesters, elements of the course change. For distance
learning courses, the final syllabus is provided on the WebCT site. For traditional
classes, the final syllabus is provided the first day of class.)**

__Part 1. Background to Research__

Week 1

Discussion 1: The Foundations of Social Research: History, Theory, and the Realities Field Research

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapters1, 2, and 3

Exercise 1: The Literature Review for PTC due

__Part 2. Literary Theory__

Week 2

Discussion 2: Literary Theory: The Nature of Experimental Thinking (Hermeneutics, Semiotics, Structuralism, Reception Theory, Deconstruction, and Political Criticism)

Library Reading:

Hermeneutics:

Martin Heidegger. "The Question Concerning Technology." __Basic Writings__.
Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper, 1977. 287-317.

Semiotics:

Ferdinand de Saussure, "The Object of Lingusitics." Eds. Charles Bally
and Albert Sechehave, trans. Wade Baskin.__ Course in General Linguistics__.
Glascow: Fontana, 1974. 7-47.

Charles Sanders Peirce. "A Guess at the Riddle." Eds. Charles Hartshorne,
Paul Weiss, and A. W. Burks. __Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce__.
Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1931. 365-367, 269-472.

Structuralism:

Northrop Frye. __Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays__. Princeton: Princeton
UP, 1957. With a forward by Harold Bloom, 2000.

Reception Theory:

Stanley Fish. __Is there a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretative
Communities__. Harvard: Harvard UP, 1982.

Deconstruction (in Cobley):

Jacques Derrida. __Writing and Difference__. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980.

Political Criticism:

Terry Eageton. __Literary Theory__. 2nd. ed. Minnesota: University of MN
P, 1996.

Critical Review of Theory 1: Literary Theory due

__Part 3. Composition Theory__

Week 3

Discussion 3: Composition Theory: The Nature of Experimental Thinking

Library Reading:

Kenneth Burke. __A Grammar of Motives__. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969.

James Kinneavy. __A Theory of Discourse__. New York: Norton, 1980.

Linda Flower. __The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive
Theory of Writing__. Carbondale: SIU P, 1994.

Critical Review of Theory 2: Composition Theory due

__Part 4: Hypertext Theory__

Week 4

Discussion 4: Hypertext Theory: The Nature of Experimental Thinking

Library Reading:

George Landow. George Landow. __Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary
Critical Theory and Technology__. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

Jay Bolter. __Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing__.
2nd. ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum, 2001.

Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin. __Remediation: Understanding the New Media__.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.

Critical Review of Theory 3: Hypertext Theory due

__Part 5: Proposing Research in Professional and Technical
Communication__

Week 5

Discussion 5: The Research Proposal: Ethics, Design, Validity, and Reliability

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapters 4 and 5

Gibaldi, esp, 1, 2, 3.1, 4, 5, 6, and 7

Exercise 2: IRB Training due

Initial Research Proposal due

__Part 6. Qualitative Research__

Week 6

Discussion 6: Systematic Observational Methods: Qualitative Research

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10

Library Reading:

Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. __Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies
for Qualitative Research__. New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1967.

Exercise 3: Qualitative Research due

Week 7

Discussion 7: Narrative Research; The Documentary Tradition

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapters11, 12, and 13

Library Reading:

Amia Lieblich, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Tamar Zilber. __Narrative Research: Reading,
Analysis, Interpretation__. Thousand Oakes, California: Sage Press, 1998

Critical Review of Qualitative Research due

__Part 7. Quantitative Research__

Week 8

Discussion 8: Empirical Design in Professional and Technical Writing

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapter 14

Library Reading:

Janice M. Lauer and J. William Asher. __Composition Research: Empirical Designs__.
New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

Discussion 9: Randomized Experiments

Textbook Reading:

Norusis, Chapters 1, 2 and 3

Exercise 4: Software-Excel, SPSS, and JUMP (SAS) due

Week 9

Discussion 10: Quasi-Experimental Design: Quantitative Research

Textbook Reading:

Norusis, Chapters 4-9

Exercise 5: Working with Data due

Week 10

Discussion 11: Summarizing Data

Textbook Reading:

Norusis, Chapters 4-9 continued

Exercise 6: Working with Charts due

Update of Research Proposal due

Week 11

Discussion 12: Examining Relationships: The Correlation Coeffecient

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapter 15

Norusis, Chapters 19 and 20

Exercise 7: Calculating the Correlation Coefficient due

Week 12

Discussion 13: The t-Test

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapter 15

Norusis, Chapters 10-14

Exercise 8: Calculating the t-Test due

Week 13

Discussion 14: The F Test

Textbook Reading:

Bernard, Chapter 15

Noursis, Chapter 15

Exercise 9: Calculating the F Test due

Critical Review of Quantitative Research due

__Part 8: Putting It All Together:
Arrangement and Design of the Final Research Proposal__

Discussion 15: A Checklist for the Final Research Proposal

Week 14

Library Reading:

Edward Tufte. __Visual Explanations: Image and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative__.
Cheshire, Connecticut: Graphics Press, 1997.

Exercise 10: Putting It All Together due

Week 15

Final Research Proposal due

Portfolio due