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Basic Research Methods in Communication

Code: 104773 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503868 Communication in Organisations OB 3 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Anna Tous Rovirosa

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Luiz Peres Neto


In previous years, students have acquired knowledge from the following subjects: Structure of Communication, Document and Archive Management, Theory of Communication, Internal Communication, General Sociology, History of Communication.
The knowledge acquired in these subjects is necessary to follow the course correctly, as students will have a theoretical basis on which to base the theoretical framework for planning their research. It is advisable, therefore, that students should be aware of the knowledge and skills acquired in these subjects.


Objectives and Contextualisation

The course is taken in the third year, during the second semester, and belongs to the training block of the subject "Research in Communication". The training objectives of the course are: a) To explain the different ways of approaching scientific knowledge and the quantitative and qualitative methods and techniques applied to the analysis of communication. b) To present and explain the most appropriate strategies for planning and designing research in communication.
Demonstrate a capacity for self-learning and self-demanding in order to achieve efficient work.
Demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the contemporary world and its recent historical evolution in the social, economic, political and cultural dimensions.
Develop critical thinking and reasoning and know how to communicate them effectively, both in Catalan and Spanish and in a third language.
Differentiate the main theories of the discipline, its fields, conceptual elaborations, the marks and theoretical approaches that underpin knowledge of the discipline and its different fields and sub-areas, and acquire a systematic knowledge of the structure of the media.
Disseminate knowledge and innovations in the area.
Adequately present the results of the research process orally, in writing, audiovisual or digitally, in accordance with the standards of the discipline.
Generate innovative and competitive proposals in research and professional activity.


  • Apply specific research methodologies to formulate hypotheses, validate and verify ideas and concepts and interpret data on communication in organisations.
  • Differentiate the principal theories on communication in organisations, which underpin knowledge of the discipline and its different branches.
  • Manage time efficiently and plan for short-, medium- and long-term tasks.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Work in compliance with professional codes of conduct.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply research methods in accordance with professional standards so as not to falsify results.
  2. Apply scientific research methods to the design of an organisation's information needs.
  3. Differentiate between quantitative and qualitative techniques in communication research.
  4. Display knowledge of communication science in order to develop critical thinking and produce original ideas on the current context.
  5. Display knowledge of the scientific context of communication when applying the research.
  6. Disseminate the knowledge acquired when performing academic and professional tasks.
  7. Identify and describe communication processes, and the main currents and theories that underpin or criticise them, from a conceptual, methodological and research perspective.
  8. Interpret and discuss documents on the main techniques and mechanisms for communication research.
  9. Present a summary of the studies made, orally and in writing.
  10. Present research results to non-expert audiences, orally and in writing.
  11. Submit course assignments on time, showing the individual or group planning involved.
  12. Work independently to solve problems and take strategic decisions on the basis of the knowledge acquired.


Topic 1
Introduction to communication research
1.The research training of communicators and their role in institutions and companies. 2. The path of research, its importance, timeliness and effectiveness. 3. Paradigms and theories in communication sciences: the main orientations and areas of research in communication 4. Communication research and its social demands. Periodisme de dades. Final thesis. 5. Communication Research Centres. 6. Specialised Publications and Online Resources in Communication Research. 7. 7. Communication Research in the Digital Era. Practical examples.

Topic 2
The research process and its stages. Its application to communication research.
1. Quantitative and qualitative research. Degree of experimentation. Scientific language: concepts and terms. 2. Organisation, planning and process of scientific work: stages and phases of the research process. 3. Delimitation of the objective and the disciplinary field. 4. Elaboration of the research strategy. 5. The research project: structure and content. 6. Selection of the topic. 7. Statement of the problem and delimitation of objectives. 8. Theoretical framework and documentary sources. Type of research: description, explanation, exploration. 10. Formulation of hypotheses. 11. Methodology. Design and strategy of the research. 12. Delimitation and design of the sample. 13. Pla de treball, periodització i pressupost. 14. La pràctica de la investigació. Verification and generalisation of results.

Topic 3
Research techniques for communication analysis. Quantitative Techniques I. Databases.
1. Statistical databases on communication and documentary research. 2. 2. Les dades de consum de mitjans. 3. Reports on the state of communication. 4. The analysis and study of the data and their application to the contexts of communication research. 5. Exemples pràctics. 6. Data journalism 7. Case studies.

Topic 4
The application of quantitative techniques to masscommunication research.
1. Quantitative techniques applied to communication research. 2. 3. The analysis of content: definition and different types of quantitative content analysis. design, planning, execution. 4. Elaboration of the analysis programme applied to the analysis of contingent analysis. 5. Practical examples. 6. The survey: design, planning, execution. 7. Elaboration of the analysis programme applied to the survey. planning, execution and analysis of results. Practical examples.

Topic 5
The application of qualitative techniques to mass communication research. Interviews, life histories, observation, discussion groups.

The content of the course is sensitive to aspects related to the gender perspective.


The course will follow a face-to-face methodology: both the theoretical sessions and the practical and problem solving activities will be face-to-face.
The detailed timetable with the content of the different sessions will be displayed on the day the course is presented. It will also be posted on the Virtual Campus where students will be able to find a detailed description of the exercises and practicals, the various teaching materials and any other information necessary to follow the course properly. In the event of a change of teaching modality for health reasons, the teaching staff will inform of the changes that will take place in the syllabus of the subject and in the teaching methodologies.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Classes on problem solving, cases and exercises 10 0.4 2, 1, 4, 5, 7, 8
Laboratory practices 20 0.8 2, 4, 5, 3, 9, 8, 11, 10, 12, 6
Theoretical classes 15 0.6 3, 7, 8, 6
Type: Supervised      
Test of contents 10 0.4 4, 5, 3
Tutorials 15 0.6 2, 8, 6
Type: Autonomous      
Personal study 15 0.6 5, 3, 12, 6
Reading of articles and reports of interest 12 0.48 7, 12
Work preparation 21 0.84 2, 1, 4, 5, 9, 7, 11, 10, 12, 6


The assessment of the course consists of the elaboration of a practical work, its presentation, the course practicals, a test of contents and its recovery.

- Coursework, 30% of the final grade.
- Practicals, 50% of the final grade.
- Contingency test, 20% of the final grade.

In order to pass the course, a minimum mark of 5 must be obtained in all three activities.

Students will have the right to retake the course if they have been assessed on the set of activities, the weight of which is equivalent to at least 2/3 of the total qualification of the course. In order to be able to sit the retake of the course, an average mark of 3.5 must be obtained.
The activity that is excluded from the recovery process is the course work.

In the case of second enrolment, students may take a single synthesis test consisting of a research proposal on communication in organisations (institutions or media), with a theoretical and practical section, using the bibliography indicated by the lecturers and applying it to a case study.
The grade for the course will correspond to the grade for the synthesis test.

Any student who commits any irregularity (copying, plagiarism, impersonation, etc.) will be graded 0 for this assessment. In case of several irregularities, the final grade of the course will be 0.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Delivery of research work 20% 8 0.32 2, 1, 7, 11, 10, 12, 6
Oral presentation of papers 10% 2 0.08 4, 9, 10
Practical activities 50% 20 0.8 5, 3, 9, 8, 12
Test of contents 20% 2 0.08 4, 5, 3, 7, 8


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