R.S. ZAHARNA       Home       Classes        Weekend Program       Research            Student Projects

Comm.744  Public Communication Seminar
 Spring 2005

Dr.  R. S. Zaharna                                                                                          Phone:  (202) 885-3995
Office: Mary Graydon 301                                                                                E-mail:  zaharna@american.edu
Office hours:  Wednesdays 4-5:30pm
                      Tuesdays 2-4:30pm
                      Mondays 10:30-12:30

My new web address is:  http://www.academic3.american.edu/~zaharna

Course Design                                             Work plan - Spring 2005
Texts:  Require & Recommended                        Worksheets & handouts
Preparing your Master's Project


Seminar Resources
Search & Surf
APA Style Guidelines -  http://www.uiowa.edu/~commstud/resources/citation.html


Chapter 1 - Introduction sections to include

**  "Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the University's Academic Integrity Code. By
registering, you have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with your rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary action will be taken should such violations occur. Please see me if you have any questions about the academic violations described in the Code in general or as they relate to particular requirements for this course."


This class is devoted to the development and submission of your final project as partial fulfillment of your Master's degree.

You will have the benefit of input from your colleagues and myself as we pursue this endeavor together. All the students have partners and extended partners to help them meet their own goals.

The due dates are designed to help you meet the target date of having a completed project by the end of the semester. Please try to meet the target dates and encourage your partners to do the same -- and always, remind them often to "KISS" so they can keep things manageable.

Let us begin, and God willing, enjoy this intellectual exercise!

Texts:     Required

Zaharna, R.S., Preparing your Master's project. (Available from from Zaharna homepage/Classes under course materials.)


American Psychological Association (APA). Style Manual.  (latest edition).
Ross-Larson, Bruce. Edit yourself: A manual for everyone whoworks with words. New York: Norton, 1985.
Rubin, R., Rubin, A. & Piele, L. Communication research: Strategies & sources. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1990

Dr. R.S. Zaharna
 Work Plan -- Spring 2005

January 12)         Introduction


January 19)    Draft proposal

                * 5 page description of your project
                        -  introduce problem & research question

               * background on the issue - 2 or 3 pages
                        -  project focus - state issue/problem
                        -  significance - why important, who benefit from study and how

                        -  propose methodology

                        - organization for your proposed study

January 26)              Background & Reading List

                                    * suggested reading list -- 10 entries
                                    * 2 article review

February 2)         4 Article reviews

                *  4 article critiques total
                    - 2 1/2 page summary of the scholar's work + your assessment

February 9)        Chapter 2:  Literature Review

                *  Literature review due with reference list
                    -  10-15 page compilation of literature review

February 16)        Research for Case Profile

                * Literature review complete


February 23)         Chapter 3:   Case Profile or Methodology

                *  Rough draft of Case Profile
                    -  10-12 page detailed, descriptive profile of case study or, 5-8 page methodology section for research projects

March 2)   Chapter 3 :   Case Profile -- Study Outline (tentative Table of Contents)

                *  Chapters 2, 3 I,  Study outline

March 16)       Research for Findings/Case Analysis

                *  Rough draft of Chapter 4 -  8-11 page write up of your research findings / or begin analysis of case study (10-12 page analysis of your findings/case study)

March 23)   Chapter 4:  Discussion/ Case Analysis

                *  Chapters2, 3, 4  due


March 30)       Fix chapters 2, 3, 4  - begin Introduction

April 6)         Chapter 1:  Introduction Chapter 5:  Conclusion  

                        *  Introduction - 8 pages, coherent, organized with subheadings
                        *  Conclusion - 4-5 pages, summary of study and areas of future research

April 13)        First Draft

                *    Working draft - compile study sections, table of contents, title page & references

April 20)        Final Draft

Worksheet - Chapter 1

CHAPTER I -- Introduction

(Tip: Introductions are usually written last, after you know what your study is really about.  However, because most people like to start at the beginning, here are a few components to get your study started.  Don’t worry about polishing the ideas.  They will grow by themselves as your study and thinking progresses.  For now, just put the headings and try to put some ideas under each heading.)

1 - Introduction

1 ½ page introduction to get your reader’s attention and to introduce a clear and pressing problem that you want to explore.  You can present some critical questions that you think need to be answered.

Try to move your ideas from general to specific.  For example:

 crime on tv news – crime & local news – the station you will study crime
 identity branding – identity branding & nonprofits – the nonprofit you will study
 corporate social responsibility – csr & nonprofits – the nonprofit you will study

2 - Statement of the Problem

In one paragraph try to state as clearly and tightly as possible what you is the very narrow item that you are going to study.  What is the central goal of your study?


 “In this study I will examine the use of identity branding by nonprofit organizations to build their national image.  Specifically, I will focus on Name of Organization as a case study to analyze its use of identity branding.”

3 - Statement of Purpose and Objectives

Here you can list some of the more specific or detailed aspects of your study in bullet form.

4 - Study Significance

(About 2-3 paragraphs)  Why is your topic significant?  Why is it significant for public relations scholars?  For communication study?  For the American society?  For human kind at large?

You want to make a clear and compelling case as to why the study is needed at this time.  Why is the problem significant? How does it affect us? How will it benefit us? How will it advance
our current knowledge or understanding? Why can't we just forget about it?   You may provide justification based on the magnitude of the problem, the dearth of existing information, the benefits offered by additional information, or even the advantages of simply looking at the problem from a different angle.

Example:  . "This study is significant to the field of public communication
because . . .

Also, if you are using a case study or have selected a representative station, state why and how this particular organization can serve as a case study.  What are some unique features about the organization you selected.

Example: “Name of Organization was selected to serve as a case study for several reasons.  First . . . and then state some of the features of the organization.”

5 - Background

About 5 pages.  The "Background" provides additional information about the issue or problem.  It can present the context or backdrop of how the problem emerged.  It can explain an important piece of legislation or ideology that relates to the problem.

(Tip: I’d recommend leaving this section blank for now -- put the heading but not put anything under it.  Usually as you write the study it becomes very clear what needs to be put in the background.)

6 - Study Limitations

(2-3 paragraphs) Because the approaches to a phenomenon can be endless, it is important for you to state what the study will not cover.  Think about related aspects of your study that could be studied, and state that those aspects are outside the scope of this study.  Examples would be explaining how there are many organizations that could serve as a case study but you chose this one because . . . . and you will not look at other organizations.

7 - Study Overview

(About half a page).  In this final portion of the Introduction, the candidate provides a brief synopsis of the coming chapters. You can simply state what the chapter is about and highlight the purpose or main point in the chapter in one sentence.
(Tip:  For this section, you can use the thesis outline from the email discussions)