by Marissa Dunn, Tyler Small, Billy Tipp

Are you creative? Do you find trends and patterns fascinating? Does creating a message designed for a mass audience excite to you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will find that majoring in the field of Communication can change your life. While many School of Communication majors are interested in human behavior, consumer trends, and communicating with a mass audience, they find math daunting. However, many of the jobs that a School of Communication major will prepare you for, such as public relations, advertising, marketing, or sales, all require research, in some capacity.

As Albert Szent-Gyorgyi stated, “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” Research Methods (COM/SCC 295) currently stands as a core requirement class for all School of Communication majors that equips students with tools to conduct research and analyze data. Once you learn the necessary research skills, you then apply your knowledge to create YOUR OWN campaign for a social cause that is supported by the data you’ve gathered. Ultimately, Research Methods offers the hands skill sets one needs when collecting, analyzing, and then strategically using the data to deliver optimal results for ones company. After completing this course, you are not only ready to research, but you may even be CITI Research Certified! This CITI Certification is an online course on Social and Behavioral Ethics training; while it is great to add to your resume, this certification is also needed in order to participate in the Research Methods semester-long course project. It teaches you the basics of ethically conducting research with human subjects, such as children, prisoners and internationally. The course provided by CITI Program puts you ahead of the game with the experience in this class, and immediately makes one stand out when entering the workfield. Another useful part about taking COM/SCC 295 is that you also become an expert at a tool almost all researchers use: SPSS (Statistical Packaging for Social Sciences). SPSS is capable of handling large amounts of data and can perform on almost any type of file to generate tabulated reports, charts, and plots of distributions and trends, descriptive statistics, and complex statistical analysis.

You might be asking yourself: why use these tools? Why do you need research in the real world? Well, with any field you decide to go into there will be a need of some type of collection and analysis of information about consumers, competitors and the effectiveness of marketing or business programs. Whether you want to start up your own company, or establish tactics to increase profits, it’s essential that you know how to gather information about that marketplace that can target customers to develop a successful marketing plan. These tools are essential in order to succeed in today’s workforce.  Historically, the Research Methods course has a reputation for intimidation. However, this course provides School of Communication students with the right tools and information in order to better be prepared for post-graduation making it useful,
as well as worthwhile.