By: Paloma Leiton, Madi Murphy, Julia Ross, and Ashton Smith

Research methods is all about learning to “process, exchange, and interpret” ideas and information… what does this mean?

While we have all probably created a quick survey utilizing Google Surveys or SurveyMonkey, did you know there is a ‘correct and proper’ way to write a survey? Both COM and SCC 295 dive deep into survey design, but we will give some quick tips here:

  • Make your questions clear, unemotional, and follow all grammar rules
  • Put interesting questions at the beginning and routine or sensitive questions at the end
  • Use random sampling! This means everyone has an equal opportunity to be included in your survey.

While designing your survey, consider your audience! How do you plan on sharing your results and with whom? You’ll most likely end up conducting a study for a business or nonprofit, so it will center around the organization’s goals. Your final product should…

  • Avoid having too much jargon
  • Feature results in an understandable way
  • Focus mainly on the results and their implication for the organization

Before you can share those results, you have to analyze your data first!

Perhaps one of the most anticipated aspects of Research Methods is learning SPSS, a statistical software. Understanding this software will allow you to:

  • Show relationships between variables
  • Determine the internal reliability of a scale
  • Explore the dimensions of a scale

Being able to correctly input data and interpret your findings is an incredible skill that is highly applicable and sought after in the job market, setting you apart as a future employee.

A senior SCC student shares her results with the Chair of the International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science.

This class may be one of the more difficult courses you encounter, but you will find it’s one of the most applicable courses as well. The skills you learn can be applied in a variety of contexts. For example, one SCC student was able to use her knowledge from 295 as a conference event intern with the International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. She was able to identify their target market through strong surveys and data analysis in order to effectively reach their audience.

This class will give you concrete skills you can strategically apply straight out of college and you will be able to produce work that has strong quantitative validity. If part of the reason you chose the School of Communication is because you want to utilize strategy, this class is a must!