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COM 206 Introductory Statistics for Communication: Home

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Journal Article Assignment

Working in groups of 2 or 3, and accessing Communication-based academic journals as source material, students must locate a recent study (2012 or later) in which the author or authors test hypotheses using statistics-based procedures.


  • You must use a database available through the library to find your article.
  • There must be at least 2 hypotheses in the study. Team(s) of 3 students must choose a study with at least 3 hypotheses. Each team member has to work with 1 hypothesis from the study as part of her/his contribution to the assignment.
  • Disregard research questions (RQs).
  • Although it’s not required, I recommend picking a few articles that interest you and running them by me before you begin work on the assignment.
  • Due date: hardcopies of both the article and assignment are due in class on Tuesday, November 28th. It will not be accepted late, so please plan accordingly and be sure that at least one group member is present to submit the work.
  • The assignment is worth 10% of your course grade. Group members should indicate who is responsible for writing each section of the assignment, or it will be assumed that all group members contributed equally. Group members’ grades may vary, based on this description of responsibilities.

Analyzing the article

In general, journal articles have five “sections”; each one has its own purpose.  In conducting your analysis, you must answer specific questions related to each section. 


Section 1: Introduction

The introductory section of most journal articles is the shortest section, where the issue or problem that the author(s) seek to deal with is presented.

  • For this section, your job is to identify the problem, issue or question that the author(s) seek to address
  • A one-paragraph description should be fine here



Section 2: Theory/Literature Review/Hypotheses

In this section, the author(s) will build their argument or present their “evidence,” discussing prior studies that are relevant to the study they are now doing.  Often they will incorporate multiple theories into their literature review. It will include research hypotheses for the current study.

  • For this section, your job is to discuss hypotheses in detail:
    • What are their hypotheses?
    • What are the independent and dependent variables for each hypothesis?
    • Why do they think their hypotheses will be supported?


Section 3: Method

In this section, the author(s) will explain, in detail, what they did. You are required to:

  • Briefly indicate the method(s) used (i.e., survey, experiment, etc.)
  • Identify data collection procedures and operational definitions (recall that operational definitions both define and measure constructs)


Section 4: Results

In this section, the author(s) will present their findings (the results of the statistical tests). In many (probably most) of the studies, I expect you to encounter statistical procedures that we will not specifically cover in class. You are not required to try to explain things like regression, model building, etc. You are required to:

  • Indicate the descriptive statistics that are reported, and, if applicable, their relevance to the study
  • Indicate whether hypotheses were supported, partially supported, or not supported and discuss the inferential statistics that are reported in as much detail as possible


Section 5: Discussion

In this section, the author(s) will attempt to explain how the results of this study fit into the “big picture”:

Briefly discuss how the authors claim the results of this study fit into and advance existing knowledge. Note: Sometimes we can learn from hypotheses that 

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