Course Title: Communication Research and Evaluation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Communication Research and Evaluation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


335H Applied Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008


RMIT University Vietnam


335H Applied Communication


Viet3 2009


RMIT University Vietnam


345H Media and Communication


Viet1 2010,
Viet2 2010,
Viet3 2010,
Viet1 2011,
Viet2 2011,
Viet3 2011,
Viet1 2012,
Viet2 2012,
Viet3 2012,
Viet1 2013

Course Coordinator: Olivia Guntarik

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1911

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course will introduce students to the varied and evolving world of communication research and evaluation.
Students will learn about the different approaches to communication research – and engage with them from theoretical, philosophical and practical perspectives. Students will also explore the evaluation practices used by different sectors of the communication industry.
COMM2145 Communication Research and Evaluation is a ‘hands on’ subject. Practical weekly tutorials will offer students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to communication problems and engage with real-world communication research issues. Another key learning tool in this course is the planning, design, implementation, presentation and evaluation of a communication research project.

Above all, the objective of this course is for students to develop critical awareness of theoretical and industry-specific issues relevant to research in public relations and academic settings. Students will do this in the process of developing a comprehensive research proposal and conducting research based on an industry-specific issue.

N.B. This course is a pre-requisite for COMM2257 PR Research Project.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

By the conclusion of this course students should be able to:

• Identify the core approaches to communication research and evaluation
• Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to communication research
• Identify ethical issues relevant to communication research
• Plan, execute and present a small communication research project, including:
o Development of a realistic research question
o Secondary data collection and review of relevant literature
o Selection of an appropriate research methodology
o Research instrument design and implementation
o Analysis and distillation of research results into a coherent report
o Presentation of proposal and results
• Evaluate the research process and learn from successes or problems

COMM2145 Communication Research and Evaluation aims to:

• Give students a basic understanding of different approaches to communication research and evaluation, and their various applications in the communication industries
• Provide a solid foundation in communication research methods
• Challenge students to critically engage with aspects of communication research practice, including competing and complementary research traditions and paradigms
• Develop skills in communication research design, execution, presentation and evaluation
• Give students an opportunity to conduct an independent analysis of a topic of their choice (with the approval of their tutor)
• Support students to undertake communication research that adheres to the highest ethical standards

Overview of Learning Activities

The following learning opportunities are provided in this course:

Weekly lectures
The weekly lectures are one hour in duration and will introduce key themes and topics, elucidating the skills involved in communication research and evaluation. Students will be required to write about and reflect on their learnings from the lectures in the form of a literature review assessment due at the conclusion of each weekly tutorial.

Compulsory reading
You are expected to read the relevant weekly prescribed readings before each week’s tutorial, in addition to monitoring the media for relevant literature. The literature review assessment task will include questions related to these readings.

Weekly tutorials
The weekly tutorials are an opportunity for you to discuss and debate the issues raised in the lectures and to gain hands-on experience of communication research methods. There will also be time for you to work on your research project to prepare for and implement your research.
The tutorials are also a collaborative space where students can compare notes on the research process and discuss ways to overcome any challenges they may encounter. You are expected to actively participate in tutorial discussions/activities (which may involve prior preparation) and your regular attendance will be a key component of your success.

Selection of research topic
You will have the opportunity to choose your own research topic or select from a list of real-life scenarios. You will develop this topic to proposal and research stage, which then becomes the basis for assessment in the course. The course provides an opportunity for students to explore vocational interests in a chosen aspect of the communication or public relations industry, while maintaining a critical approach to research.

Overview of Learning Resources

The online learning hub.
The online learning hub is an online space where students can access lecture notes and other course materials and check on any course announcements.

Your student email account.
Students are also expected to check their student email address on a regular basis, as course announcements are often made through this channel.

Overview of Assessment

Course assessment provides opportunities for you to put your learning into practice and focuses on the research process itself, as well as gauging your understanding of the fundamentals of professional communication research praxis.

Overview of Assessment:
The assessment for COMM2145 Communication Research and Evaluation consists of:

1. Research proposal (individual oral presentation) 25%
2. Research results (individual oral presentation) 35%
3. Weekly Literature Review (individual written) 40%