Students will complete one of the following projects. The specifics for each project will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. 1. A critical research paper on some aspect in the field of current communication research. This project could address almost any aspect of communication, but should pose a critical question of inquiry and present adequate research in order to answer that question. Sample critical research topics: • A critical analysis of press coverage of the Vietnam War • A critical analysis of web-based political campaign communication • What communication strategies can best be utilized in communication with Alzheimer’s patients? (Interpersonal communication) • What is the impact of training on corporate effectiveness? (organizational communication) • The development of genuine relationships via social networking sites • The impact of social networking on political campaigns • The development of meaningful romantic relationships through the use of online dating sites 2. An organizational audit that begins with the mission and goals of the organization and concludes with recommendations for improving the flow of communication through the organization as well as improving the communication between the organization and its publics. This project is similar to the work required in Com 321 Organizational Communication and Behavior, but places greater emphasis on the student’s individual analysis and recommendations. Students who choose this project are encouraged to consider using organizations and institutions with which they are already quite familiar and with whom they have a pre-existing relationship. 3. A public relations campaign based on the assessed needs of a group or organization that does not at present have a well-developed public relations strategy. The student who chooses this option will need to (a) assess the particular public relations needs of a group or organization and (b) recommend and create appropriate materials to address the assessed need. The project report must include both assessment data and public relations materials. Students are encouraged to select a group or organization with which they have a pre-existing relationship and to present their findings to it. 4. A public relations audit examines the existing PR activities of a group or organization. It answers five questions: (a) What are the organization’s goals in relation to its publics? (b) What communication activities has the organization used to fulfill those goals? (c) Which communications activities are working well and are consistent with its goals? (d) Which activities are not working well toward the achievement of its goals? (e) Given the findings of the audit, what revisions in goals or communication activities are recommended? Students are encouraged to select a group or organization with which they have a pre-existing relationship and to present their findings to it. COM 480 / Fall 2019 5. An experiential training program based on the assessed needs of a group or organization. The student who chooses to develop an experiential training program will need to first assess the needs of the group or organization under consideration. The project report must include both assessment data and the training procedure developed. Ideally, the student will have an opportunity to implement the training experience prior to the presentation of the project to the Communication program, and be able to include some evaluation of the training experience in the final project. Students are again encouraged to select a group or organization with which they have a prior relationship. 6. An alternative project that is developed by the student in consultation with the instructor and your dear old advisor. This might be a service-learning project that includes a project plan, recruitment of others for implementation, and assessment; primary research project that investigates some aspect of communication using one or more approaches to data gathering; or any of a number of possible projects. HINTS FOR A HAPPY FALL SEMESTER: 1. Do not wait until the first week of the Fall semester to determine your topic. Do that NOW. a. Try for a fairly narrow topic…research small, analyze big b. Select a topic / project that you have a lot of interest in…you’ll be working with it for quite a while c. Be creative, figure out something that showcases your abilities! 2. Spend at least one hour each week until the first day of class researching, reading, and working on this project. 3. Clearly determine the basic question you are trying to answer.
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