COM 102 Introduction to Communication Inquiry

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COM 207: Introduction to Communication Inquiry

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Introduction to Communication Inquiry is a foundational course for all communication majors. It prepares you for more in-depth courses on single communication topics by showing you how communication theory and research interrelate. The Theory Modules (1-3) provide you with a variety of important communication theories that will help you to understand communication in different contexts while also introducing you to ways of knowing and learning things, which is called epistemology. The Research Modules (4-7) introduce you to communication research through a series of skills sets. The skills sets teach you about proper research techniques so that you can apply said techniques in the research assignments in the course. For the purposes of this course, the research that you will do includes finding and understanding recent, meaning within the past 15 years, scholarly information about a specific communication topic framed by a communication theory, summarizing what is known about that topic, and identifying questions that the topic that have not yet been answered.

Please note that what you are doing is most accurately called “library research.” You will be finding and assessing academic articles that use the term ‘research’ in a slightly different way. The articles you find and use must be about actual research on real people using methods like experiments, interviews, or focus groups. Please see the IMPORTANT INFORMATION TAB under the Welcome Module of the Canvas site for more information about these requirements. For the final course project, you will select a communication topic, framed by a theory covered in the course, conduct a review of relevant communication research literature, and compose an academic literature review using APA style.


Griffin, E., Ledbetter, A., & Sparks, G. (2018). Communication: A first look at communication theory (10th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.*

* We strongly recommended that you obtain a copy of the 7th edition APA Manual. This is an important resource for doing well in all of your upper division communication classes. Used copies are readily available online.

Other texts, including academic articles posted to Canvas as well as several that you will find and acquire on your own, are also part of your required readings.

Course Assignments

Modules are usually comprised of one week. Exams contained within Modules are open on specified days. All chapter reading assignments and skills sets for the week/module are due before midnight (meaning 11:59 PM), Arizona time, on the appropriate due date. Research Assignments have specific due dates that vary throughout the term. Due to the self-directed nature of this online course and the time frames in which students may complete and submit coursework, late work cannot and will not be accepted for any reason.

Each, module will be open from the beginning of the session. You are encouraged to look and work ahead of schedule. However, please do the work in the proper order and pay close attention to due dates. To complete your literature review successfully, you will need to be working on it over the course of the entire session. You should understand that the other research assignments are all intended to build toward you literature review and should be taken seriously.

A NOTE ON EXAMS: You should be very careful and fully prepared when you take the exams. The exams are proctored, “Respondus” is enabled, meaning that your browser is locked during the exam.

Assignments: Following are brief descriptions of the Com 207 assignments. Do not rely on these descriptions alone to complete the assignments. Specific instructions for each assignment are found in with the assignment.

Meeting criteria for a writing assignment does not guarantee an A; it usually only constitutes a C. Earning an A means that your work is exceptional and very nearly flawless. B work is excellent, C work is average, and D work is below average. E work fails to meet requirements or is otherwise insufficient.

Assignments that simply meet requirements are graded in the 70th percentile. Higher grades are reserved for assignments that demonstrate either exceptional or outstanding understanding, demonstration and application of course materials.

APA Manuscript Assignment

55 points

Please complete Skill Sets 6-10 before completing this assignment. APA format may be new to you, but you must learn to use it properly and proficiently in your academic writing. Additionally, synthesizing research is often a challenge for students as putting complex research findings into conversation while avoiding summarizing takes some skill and practice. The APA manuscript assignment is designed to help you practice both APA and synthesizing prior to having to do so in your review of literature. You will generate a paper of exactly 3 double-spaced pages written in 12-point font (including title and reference pages. DO NOT include an abstract) that displays your grasp of: (1) appropriate use of the APA Publication Manual, (2) proper spelling, grammar, and mechanics, and (3) synthesis of research. Your paper should be centered on the topic you are exploring for your review of literature assignment and the content generated here may be used for that assignment later in the course.

Annotated Bibliography

50 points

The annotated bibliography is a list of sources (in this case, academic/scholarly journal research articles), each of which is followed by an annotation or a brief description of the source. The annotated bibliography will serve as an initial building block for your literature review/“synthesis of scholarship.”

Three of the five sources you employ for the assignment must come from communication journals. All the articles must be research studies. Do not use theoretical essays, metatheoretical analyses, dissertations or conference papers that talk about a theory but don’t engage in original research. If you have questions about whether or not an article is appropriate for the assignment, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor. Additionally, all articles must be based on a communication theory described by Griffin in our course text, preferably (but not required) one that we have covered in the course. (e.g., co-cultural theory; relational dialectics, social penetration theory, etc.) such that you will eventually be able to make some claims about the research conducted from your theory of choice (this builds the foundation for your eventual literature review). All your articles will be grounded in one single communication theory.

The assignment will be submitted through the assignment link before midnight Arizona time on the due date. Technical problems or differing time zones do NOT excuse late submission.

Literature Review

100 points

The process of writing a literature review includes finding, reading, and evaluating current research on a specific theory. In this assignment, you will be required to include the following sections in your paper: 1) Introduction; 2) Theoretical Discussion; 3) Synthesis of Scholarship; and, 4) Conclusion. Please refer to the Assignments link for specifics of this and all other assignments. Please also refer to the “Literature Review Info” section of the course site. The information there is extremely important. The assignment will be submitted through the assignment link before midnight Arizona time on the due date. Technical problems or differing time zones do NOT excuse late submission.

Writing Requirements

All papers should be typed in black 12-point Times New Roman, be double-spaced (unless otherwise noted) and have one-inch margins. All submissions must be your work and solely your work. You are expected to write at a collegiate level which includes the use of gender neutral language, no first person in essay assignments, and the use of a scholarly voice. Use of “text message” lingo in a written assignment will result in 0 for the assignment. Writing in a scholarly manner is a major component of this course. If you need help with spelling, grammar, or APA format, contact the campus Writing Center which is available for online assistance: You may also visit the Writing Center in person

IMPORTANT: Failure to properly apply APA style will significantly reduce your grades. Do not simply copy the index listing that led you to a source, assuming that it is accurate APA. Do not rely on automatic APA format generators. They are unlikely to be correct and will cost you points. Please note that it is exceedingly difficult to apply APA properly without direct access to the APA manual. Online guides are rarely enough. ASU librarians may be able to provide you with some assistance but may not always be familiar with the most recent changes in APA style. The APA manual should be your main reference guide.


Point Breakdown:

Syllabus Quiz

5 Points

Choosing Directions for Research Discussion Board

10 Points

Theory in Action Discussion Board Posts (3, 10 points each)

30 Points

Theory Exam

100 Points

Research Exam over Skill Sets

50 Points

APA Manuscript Assignment

55 Points

Annotated Bibliography

50 Points

Feedback Review

25 Points

Literature Review (Synthesis of Scholarship)

100 Points


425 Points

A Note on Grading: Assignments that simply fulfill mechanical requirements like word counts or other requirements as stated in the assignment description are considered average work and are therefore graded in the 70th percentile. Higher grades are reserved for assignments that demonstrate exceptional (80th percentile) or outstanding (90th percentile) understanding and application of the course materials.

Imagine it this way. Two people are asked to draw a face. One person draws a circle with a smile and a couple dots for eyes. The other person draws a reasonable likeness of an actual face. The first person simply fulfilled the mechanical requirement. The other person went above and beyond the simple mechanical requirement and actually tried to do something more meaningful. These two efforts are not equal. One is clearly more valuable than the other in terms of learning and improvement. To grade merely adequate work as if it were the same as excellent or outstanding work is not fair to people who put in the extra effort.

Grades: If you have a question or concern about a grade you should send a detailed description of your grade concern to me within three days of the posted grade. Your instructor will carefully review the posted grade and your question/concern and respond to you within one week. Your instructor reserves the right to lower your score after taking the time to reassess a grade.

Please read the following for an understanding of what is considered to be a fair grade.

An A is given to excellent work. Excellent work includes all of the requirements of the assignment and shows a superior understanding of the material. A assignments are creative in presentation of thoughts and opinions as well as in the application and evaluation of those concepts. A assignments are precise and well thought-out, go above and beyond requirements and are free of stylistic errors.

A B is given to good work. Good work includes all of the requirements of the assignment and shows a valid understanding of the material. B assignments are clear in presentation of thoughts and opinions as well as in the application and evaluation of those concepts. B assignments are accurate and thought-out, exceed assignment requirements and have very few stylistic errors.

A C is given to average work. Average work simply meets the requirements of the assignment. C assignments show an understanding of the material, and in general how to apply and evaluate it. Demonstrating basic competency in organization, spelling, grammar, and structure is meeting the average expectations of a college student.

A D is given to below average work. Below average work misses and/or fails to meet the requirements of the assignment. D assignments show the student has not demonstrated a grasp or utilization of concepts. D assignments will not show competency in basic fundamentals expected by college students.

An E is given to poor work. Poor work indicates a student has no grasp on the material or the assignment, or does not care. Failure to turn in assignments, follow directions, or participate in class on a consistent (more than once) basis will result in an E.

Assignment grading will be based on:

1. Meeting ALL of the defined requirements.

2. Clarity of expression.

3. Quality of reasoning (logical, consistent, sufficient).

4. Mechanics (good writing, spelling, grammar, APA style, proper formatting, etc.).

Submitting Assignments

All assignments, unless otherwise announced, MUST be submitted to the designated area of Canvas. Do not submit an assignment via email.

Assignment due dates follow Arizona Standard time. Click the following link to access the Time Converter to ensure you account for the difference in Time Zones. Note: Arizona does not observe daylight savings time.

The APA Manuscripts assignment, the Annotated Bibliography, and your Literature Review will be submitted to links labeled with the assignment title (under the assignments link on Canvas). All assignments are checked for plagiarism. Always attach your assignments as a file in the appropriate assignment submission link using the File Submission option. Do not attach PDFs. Use Word or Word compatible documents only (.doc or .docx).

Do not copy and paste your assignment or use the Text Entry / Write Submission option. Assignments may NOT be submitted via e-mail. It is your responsibility to properly submit assignments. Improperly submitted assignments cannot be graded and will receive a grade of 0 (zero).

Requirements: .doc file

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