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Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research may sound like an “add on” or an “extra” but in the Department of Communication we embed the ability to find solid answers to your own questions into every aspect of our curriculum.  The Undergraduate Research page says it best:

Undergraduate Research is a recognized ‘high impact’ educational practice which provides students an opportunity for deep, integrative learning beyond the classroom.”

 In the world after college, you will frequently need to gather information, analyze it methodically, and reach conclusions.  You will need to share these results with others in order to accomplish your goals.  Undergraduate research prepares you for your future.

What do we offer Journalism Studies majors?

Research is at the heart of the practice of journalism.  All Journalism Studies majors and Journalism minors take JOUR 200 early in their academic careers.  In this course, they are first introduced to “strategies and procedures in identifying, gathering, analyzing and organizing information for the mass media.”  They learn about source credibility, how to evaluate and validate evidence, and become acquainted with the legal and ethical bases of research.  Each subsequent journalism course and all journalism internships and practicum emphasize the importance of rigorous, primary research.  Journalism Studies majors and Journalism minors also have the opportunity to engage in formal academic research under the guidance of our journalism faculty through directed research courses at both the lower division and upper division levels.  These budding journalists are guided to present their research for wider audiences both locally and at professional meetings.

What do we offer Communication and Telecommunication Media Studies majors?

Incoming Freshmen: One of the unique opportunities offered to Communication and Telecommunication Media Studies majors is the Annual Freshman Communication Research Conference each fall. These students enroll in one hour of COMM 291-Research (lower division.) This conference allows first-semester Freshmen to present original and collaborative research in a public setting. Students are encouraged to ask a question about communication and then working alone, with a partner, or in a group of three, to select a research method, read the relevant literature, and conduct their project. Attended by students, professors, staff, and deans, each comes away with a rich understanding of the field of communication, along with admiration for these new scholars.  Since its inception, over 1600 students have taken advantage of this opportunity.

All COMM and TCMS majors: COMM 308 Research Methods is required of each COMM and each TCMS major.  This course sharpens research skills and features the opportunity for another research project.  Research projects make impressive resume entries, too.

FOR JOURNALISM, COMMUNICATION MAJORS and MINORS and TELECOMMUNICATION MEDIA STUDIES MAJORS

Mid-Career Students: We encourage mid-career students to pursue research with faculty either on the student’s own original project or working with faculty on faculty projects.  Students may also enroll in zero to three hours of COMM/JOUR 491-Research (upper division) or COMM/JOUR 497-Honors Research.

Advanced Students: Advanced students of any classification may present research papers at academic conferences on campus and around the country.  The Communicating Diversity Conference, for example, sponsored by the Department of Communication at Texas A&M, features several outstanding submissions by COMM, TCMS, and USLA-JRN undergraduate students each spring.  The Department of Communication, as well as other entities on campus, provides support for students interested in pursuing undergraduate research.

Please review the Undergraduate Research page for additional information and opportunities regarding undergraduate research.

Contact our Honors Director, Dr. Charles Conrad, for more information on support for Honors research.