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PBRL 4410 (formerly JOUR 4410) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PBRL 4410 (formerly JOUR 4410) - Public Relations Research

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course enables students to perform and supervise preliminary and systematic research  in contemporary public relations practice. The course emphasizes problem solving. Assignments will require students to analyze and make sense of data.

Course Outcomes:
  • Describe preliminary and detailed research procedures
  • Explain survey research techniques, including sampling, interviewing and instrument construction.
  • Describe the tools used to analyze the results of survey research
  • Select and apply appropriate research tools and design and conduct preliminary research using libraries, company records and computer databases.
  • Frame a research question and write and test hypotheses
  • Analyze the results of survey research and communicate the results in a final report. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:
Specific Course Requirements:
  • Students should have working knowledge of Microsoft internet explorer, and Word. With respect to software, the student should be able to copy and paste and attach word documents to Desire 2 Learn functions.
  • Additionally, the student should have working knowledge of searching the web to visit, review, and print information from selected web sites.
  • Excel software may be used in this course to produce your statistical analysis, charts and graphs if needed. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

We will be using various websites for additional instructional material. You must have access to these sites to successfully complete the course requirements.

  1. (client guide to the focus group)
  2. (brochures on survey research)
  3. (central tendency measurements)
  4. training)

If the site is not found, please contact the instructor so that an alternative can be located. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

All your quizzes will be timed and graded electronically; the results will be posted upon completion of the quizzes.

All of your written assignments must be submitted using the directions listed in the dropbox area of the course (in all cases of submitted work, the paper must be in Microsoft word doc format). 

Research Critique. May substitute for one of the first two quizzes if desired. Locate a research article or report that uses focus groups and/or survey research. It should be on some aspect of public relations. It can be a custom report for an organization or an article in a scholarly journal (e.g., Public Relations Journal (online), Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Quarterly). Your 500-word analysis should include a critique of the research method used, why it was or wasn't successful, and how it could be improved.

Institute for PR 
[Jour of PR Research]
[PR Journal]

Read the article. Look at how the research was conducted and reported. This assignment is graded. Limit: one critique for the semester. The report must be turned in two weeks prior to the end of the semester. 

Grading Procedures:


Your success in this online course will depend on your willingness to read the textual material, successfully complete quizzes, and complete written assignments as scheduled. Success in taking quizzes and handling written assignments can be enhanced by studying the case problems at the end of the several chapters as well as chapter content. [Note: Written assignments will be graded on the basis of grammar, spelling and punctuation as well as content, PLEASE review the grading rubric provided in the class].

All work must be submitted using Microsoft Office software. If I cannot open the work, it will not be graded. 

Focus Group Discussion Guide Exercise:

100 points

Survey Questionnaire

100 points

Discussion questions (2 at 50 points)

100 points

Online quizzes (2 at 25 points, 1 at 50 points)

100 points

Final Research Project Paper (Includes grade for Individual Report) 

100 points


500 points

There is no extra credit available. 

Grading Scale:
450-500 pointsA
400-449 pointsB
350-399 pointsC
300-349 pointsD
0-299 pointsF


Assignments and Projects:

This course is broken down into to four major areas.

  1. The FIRST area of concentration deals with focus groups. In this area you will be tested on your text dealing with this subject. Additionally, your first major project will be developing a complete focus group discussion guide.
  2. Second, your quizzes will deal with your conducting a survey material which will lead to your final project.
  3. Third is your group research survey project. Your grade may be more or less than the group grade, depending upon your contribution to the project and the quality of your individual report.
  4. The final paper will be the research report based on your group's research study. It should provide a complete understanding of researching a project along with presentation of the data and final summary of recommendation based on your facts. This final paper is a group paper. 
Class Participation:
Late Policy:

With quizzes, and assignments available from the first day of class, late submissions will not be accepted. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 12, 2021