UM Significance of Communication Essay

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Communication Studies 221
Capstone Project Assignment
Due April 22, 2022
For your capstone project, we will ask you to bring together many of the elements we have
been studying during the semester in an independent research project that you will
conduct and write about. Using the class survey, you will select variables, formulate
hypotheses, operationalize your variables, test your hypothesis, report and discuss your
findings.
You will be assigned to a group, but you must turn in an individual paper; the purpose of
the group is to act as a resource more than an actual partner. Your group gives you specific
people with whom you can work through questions or potential excel problems when you
are outside of class or if your GSI is busy assisting other students. You may work on
analyses collectively and even present the same results, but your writeup (i.e., explanation
and interpretation of what you have done) must be your own.
You can discuss your project with other students, your GSI, or the professor. We strongly
recommend making use of the open labs (March 31-April 14) during the section times in
order to seek help from the teaching team as you work on this. We will act as research
design consultants and advisers.
Please note: Open lab can be busy, especially close to when the assignment is due. Please
be prepared to wait for assistance.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:
o You must construct a hypothesis that can be evaluated with the class survey dataset.
o You must have three variables in your hypothesis. (i.e., independent, dependent, and
third variable.)
o You must include a media variable in your hypothesis.
o You must build an index for one of your variables. That index cannot be identical to
the index constructed by the class in lab (it can be the same conceptual variable, but
not the same operationalization.)
You will be submitting a paper of at least 8 pages (not more than 14pp; double-spaced),
which should be organized into four sections. This is not as long as it may seem at first,
because you can actually work on your paper in parts as you go along. Each part will be 1.5
to 4 pages long, and then the four sections will add up to the total length.
Your grade on this assignment will be based upon your inclusion of all the necessary
components of the assignment, your description of the research process you used and your
analysis of your results, as well as the clarity of your writing. Your grade will not depend
at all on the reliability of your measures or whether your hypotheses were confirmed or
disconfirmed.
1
INTRODUCTION (10%)
o State your hypothesis, including a third variable.
o “Literature review”: review the theory that supports your hypotheses, and describe
how you are defining your concepts (conceptualization). You must find at least one
piece of previous research that supports your hypothesis. Be sure to cite it correctly
(APA style) and include it in your bibliography.
METHODS / RESEARCH DESIGN (15%)
o Explain how the concepts were operationalized. Discuss the strengths and
weaknesses in the survey questions you are using.
o State what you expect to observe if your hypothesis is true.
o Discuss the data source: explain what kind of sampling was used in the class survey,
and how generalizable the data seem to be.
v Your grade in this section will be based on:
Ø Attention to potential problems in questions
Ø Detailed description of the survey mode, sampling format, etc.
Ø Attention to the generalizability of the data and related strengths and
weaknesses
RESULTS (50%)
Describe:
o Cleaning the data.
o Recoding the data. Include your reasons for recoding.
o Building your index. Include your reasons for what gets included and how they are
weighted.
o Running at least one formal validity test and one formal reliability test. Include the
results from these tests. You will be graded on whether you ran the tests properly
and interpreted the results appropriately (NOT on whether the variable was valid or
reliable.)
o Show some kind of distribution for each variable in your hypothesis (the index
should be treated as one variable).
o For each variable in your hypothesis, report the level of measurement for your
operationalization.
Hypothesis Test:
o Test your hypothesis and report your findings.
2
o Include an appropriately labeled visual representation of the relationship between
your IV and your DV (e.g., scatterplot, crosstab), as well as the correlation between
your IV and DV.
o Include the results for whatever hypothesis test you conducted (e.g., regression
output table, chi-squared observed and expected tables and p-value).
v Your grade in this section will be based on:
Ø How clearly you explain the processes of cleaning, recoding, building an index,
testing your results etc.
§ Use this as a rule of thumb: If a new researcher were given the original data
set and your paper, would they be able to repeat your procedure exactly as
you did it?
Ø How clearly you explain WHY you changed variables when you did so
Ø Clear understanding of reliability and validity tests, distribution charts, and what
they mean
Ø Including all relevant results tables and distribution charts
Ø Choosing a usable test for your hypothesis and understanding your results
DISCUSSION / CONCLUSION (10%)
o Discuss your findings in the context of the theory and hypothesis you began with.
o Offer suggestions for further research.
o Suggest what you might have done differently if you started all over, or what you
would do next if you had more time.
o Describe what you learned about the subject you studied as well as what you
learned about the research process.
v Your grade in this section will be based off of:
Ø A strong summary of your overall findings and what you learned
Ø Explanations of problems you feel you encountered and how you would address
those if you were to repeat the study
Ø Clear, usable suggestions for future research
STYLE (15%)
o Writing is clear.
o Writing cites sources when appropriate and uses APA style.
o A bibliography is included
o Tables/graphs are correctly labeled and easy to understand.
3
Skills Required
Cleaning data – Workshop 9
Recoding – Workshop 9
Constructing Indexes – Workshop 6
Testing Reliability – Workshop 6
Testing Validity — Workshop 6
Running & Interpreting Correlations – Workshops 7 and 10
Running & Interpreting Crosstabs – Workshop 10
Univariate analysis – Week 9 Lecture
Bivariate analysis – Week 10 Lectures
Multivariate analysis – Week 11 Lectures
As of March 11th, you should have the skills to do everything except (a) Univariate analysis
and (b) hypothesis testing for 3rd variables. This means that you can already do the bulk of
the Excel work and writing (though to the half-way point of the results section.)
Submit your completed paper via Canvas by 11:59PM on April 22, 2022.
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Variable Y Variable X
Analysis
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Regression Model Summary
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Independent Variable Statistics
Regression coefficient (beta)
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Standard error
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t score
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p-value (significance level)
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Item variance
0.39655953 0.90538705 0.91172476 0.90719783
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3.12086917
2.61710777
4

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significance of communication

Hypothesized

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