Fall 2004-E59.3005.001 Dissertation Proposal Seminar 1:

Survey of Research Methodologies in Culture and Communication

Purpose and Description:

In this course, students will read about, discuss, and reflect on the various research methodologies that scholars of Culture and Communication employ for their inquiries. This is not a course that will teach you "how to do" these methodologies in particular, although some of the "how to do" could be implied and partially illustrated. Here students will explore the epistemologies, concepts, ontologies, ethics, politics, strategies, and practical approaches associated with various methods of examining situations that are currently important in the field of culture and communication. There is a bias in this department toward qualitative methodologies; thus we will not deal in depth with approaches relevant to quantitative/statistical methods of inquiry. However, the relative value of various qualitative methodologies will be discussed, and this is somewhat related to the value of quantitative methods overall.

Several faculty members will be visiting the seminar, to discuss the particular methodologies that they are familiar with and employ in their own work. Their methodological approaches, and the readings they have suggested to discuss their approaches, do not exhaust the available methodologies for studying culture and communication. Frankly, no single course can provide that kind of overview, given the vast array of disciplinary strategies that any scholar can utilize to investigate questions that are very complex and dynamic. However, this course will help students think about what kinds of methodologies will best support the research questions they intend to pursue, and will point them toward the specialized research methods courses and literature that they can pursue as they advance toward their degree. In addition, they will consult their faculty advisors, professors, and colleagues about the best methods for investigating their research questions.


Students will be expected to attend all sessions, including the Doctoral Research Colloquium, which will meet at the same time as this course. Active, thoughtful, and respectful participation is necessary. And let's have fun, too. Laughter stretches our minds, and enriches our souls.

For any session in which readings are assigned, students will be expected to write a 1-2 page (max) abstract summary of each reading, including a brief commentary, including any questions they want to raise for discussion in the seminar. These abstract/commentaries/questions will be due on the date of the session, to be posted on Blackboard discussion lists before class, as well as brought to class as a paper copy. The Blackboard discussion lists can be utilized to continue discussions about the readings, throughout the course.

For the final assignment, students will be expected to hand in the following:

1) Abstracts of 12 key works that are pertinent to their own dissertation ideas, whether methodological or theoretical;

2) A tentative bibliography of works to read and abstract as they pursue their dissertation ideas; 3) Tentative research proposal abstract;

4) A report on dissertation abstracts found in their area;

5) Data Base search report (A list of data bases reviewed to find pertinent sources)

Survey of Research Methodologies in Culture & Communication--Schedule


#/date Activity/Method/Readings Faculty in Focus


Sept 9 Overview: doctoral research in culture and communication Fisherkeller


Sept 16 Qualitative Research

Read: Denzin & Lincoln Fisherkeller


Sept 23

* Qualitative Research-

Poli/Econ; Historical, & Legal Analysis

Read: de Sola Pool/Horwitz/Starr/Douglas/Caves Ted Magder


Sept 30

Doctoral Research Colloquium Guest: Lawrence Grossberg


Oct 7

* Qualitative Research-

Visual Culture Analysis

Read: Alan Feldman?


Oct 14 Qualitative Research-

Kritical "new texts" analysis

Read: Manovich Alex Galloway


Oct 21 Keynote Address, Opening of

Departmental Graduate Conference Lawrence Grossberg


Oct 28 Qualitative Research--


Read: Fisherkeller Fisherkeller


Nov 4 Doctoral Research Colloquium


Nov 11 Qualitative Research--

Philosophical Analysis

Read: Weston Helen Nissenbaum


Nov 18 Qualitative Research--

Audience/Cultural Studies

Read: Staiger/Ross

Susan Murray


Dec 2 Qualitative/Quantitative Research--

Content Analysis

Read Rod Benson


Dec 9 Doctoral Research Colloquium


Dec 16 Abstracts of 10 Key Works Pertinent to own Dissertation, Tentative Bibliography, Tentative Research Proposal Abstract, Dissertation Abstracts Report, Data Base Search Report all DUE.

[Schedule Notes: * Fisherkeller out of town; **Week 12 is Thanksgiving]

Survey of Research Methodologies in Culture & Communication

Required Readings-List:

Week 2: Denzin, Norman & Yvonna Lincoln (Eds). Introduction to Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 2000. --[a PDF file on Blackboard, posted under "Assignments"]

Week 3: Ithiel de Sola Pool. Technologies of Freedom. Preface and Intro.

Robert (Bobby) Horwitz. "Introduction." The Irony of Regulatory Reform.

Paul Starr. "Introduction." Creation of the Media: Political Origins of the Media.

Susan Douglas. "Introduction." Inventing American Broadcasting: 1899-1922.

Richard Caves. "Introduction." Creative Industries: Between Art and Commerce.

--[PDF files on Blackboard, posted under "Assignments"]

Week 5:

Week 6: Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media, Chapters 1 & 5. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001 --[a PDF file on Blackboard, posted under "Assignments"]

Week 8: Fisherkeller, JoEllen. Introduction and Methodological Notes in Growing Up with Television: Everyday Learning Among Young Adolescents. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2002. --[a book: please purchase via whatever venue you prefer]

Week 10: Weston, A. A Rule Book for Arguments, 3rd Edition. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 2000. -- [a book: please purchase via whatever venue you prefer]

Week 11: Staiger, Janet. Interpreting Films: Studies in the Historical Reception of American Cinema, Chapter 1. Princeton University Press, 1992.

Ross, Steven J. The Revolt of the Audience: Reconsidering Audiences and Reception during the Silent Era. In Stokes and Malsky (Eds.) American Movie Audience: From the Turn of the Century to the Early Sound Era. London, UK: British Film Institute, 1999. --[PDF files on Blackboard, posted under "Assignments"]

Week 13:

Recommended Readings:

By Rod Benson

Bordieu, Pierre. "Interviewing" in The Weight of the World

By JoEllen Fisherkeller

Lembo, Ron. Thinking Through Television. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

By Siva Vaidhynathan

Historical Research