This introduction to communication research methods takes the student from the conceptual beginnings of a research project through the design and analysis. Emphasizing the correct questions to ask and how to approach the answers, authors Gary Pettey, Cheryl Campanella Bracken, and Elizabeth Babin Pask approach social science methods as a language to be learned, requiring multiple sessions and reinforcement through practice. They explain the basics of conducting communication research, facilitating students’ understanding of the operation and roles of research so that they can better critique and consume the materials in their classes and in the media.

The book takes an applied methods approach, introducing students to the conceptual elements of communication science and then presenting these elements in a single study throughout the text, articulating the similarities and differences of individual methods along the way. The study is presented as a communication campaign, involving multiple methodologies. The approach highlights how one method can build upon another and emphasizes the fact that, given the nature of methodology, no single study can give complete answers to our research questions.

Unique features of the text:

  • It introduces students to research methods through a conceptual approach, and the authors demonstrate that the statistics are a tool of the concepts.
  • It employs an accessible approach and casual voice to personalize the experience for the readers, leading them through the various stages and steps.
  • The presentation of a communication campaign demonstrates each method discussed in the text. This campaign includes goals and objectives that will accompany the chapters, demonstrates each individual methodology, and includes research questions related to the communication campaign.

The tools gained herein will enable students to review, use, understand, and critique research, including the various aspects of appropriateness, sophistication and utility of research they encounter.