Persuasion is totally cool and I love teaching it. A large part of my professional identity and performance is based on teaching and researching persuasion, so it is serious business for me. I don't do this for the money or because my mother told me to do it. I do it for the love of the thing itself.
You may already know that I used to be a professor with WVU, but in 1998 I moved to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) to become the branch chief for the Health Communication Research Branch. I'm an adjunct professor with WVU (which is why I'm teaching this course). The move to NIOSH has been a revelation for me about persuasion. I'm doing considerably more real world application of it and this has given me a new perspective on how to research it and teach it.
Because I care so much about persuasion and teaching it well, I think I have something good to offer you. If you truly want to understand how persuasion works, I can teach it to you. I can give you insight into how and why people do what they do and how you can use communication in everyday life to become an effective influence agent. We can create a good teacher-learner relationship and both benefit from the experience.
Given this orientation, we will take a close look at how the scientific method has been applied to the study of using messages to change people's attitudes. We'll consider a variety of lab and field experiments and learn how to apply this scientific knowledge to practical problems in life. This will be a cool blend of research and application that you should find interesting and useful throughout your life. Really.
Character shows in four virtues: Fortitude, prudence, temperance, and justice. A person with good character will persist and endure, chose carefully and thoughtfully, control emotion with reason, operate with equity and fairness. By contrast, a person with poor character will quit easily, behave thoughtlessly, allow mood to conquer intelligence, and act selfishly.
Character is destiny in your life and in this course.
1. prior work with persuasion and communication concepts 2. knowledge of good writing standards 3. skill in library research 4. knowledge of effective classroom performance 5. knowledge of effective study skills
Author. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th ed.
These books are required. You will fail the course if you do not read these books with understanding. The APA Publication Manual is the style sheet you will use for papers in this course (and many other Communication or social science courses).
First Draft (feedback and grade from Steve) Group Draft (feedback from a work group) Final Draft (feedback and grade from Steve) If you are a Communication major, I am designating the Healthy Influence project as a "Portfolio Project." A copy of this project will be kept on file as part of the external review process for evaluating the Department.
The project involves what I call "Healthy Influence." Healthy Influence is the application of persuasion theory and research to a problem in the health context. This assignment is a blend of theory and application. It requires you to demonstrate skill as a persuasion practictioner, library researcher, and technical writer. I have very high expectations for this paper. This course is one of the most advanced majors classes we offer, so it is reasonable to assume that you have a high level of motivation and ability. You will demonstrate that motivation and ability with this project.
Proposal Draft. The proposal outlines the problem and solution. Properly done, the Proposal is roughly the first half of the Final paper. I will read these proposals with a particular emphasis on your writing skill, quality of research, and the practicality of the proposed plan.
Group Draft. You will submit a "final" version of your paper to a group of your peers for their feedback. You will bring an anonymous (no identifying information) copy of your paper and join a feedback group (4-6 people). You will pass around each other's papers and provide written comments about the paper. The purpose of this activity is to get a lot of different perspectives on how clearly you communicate your project. You will take the feedback from this session and make changes, as needed, in the paper.
Final Draft. The end. The one you turn in for my last evaluation.
The Proposal Draft and Final Draft will be graded, while the Group Draft will not. Please do not assume that I place no value on the Group Draft because it gets no points. In several respects, it might be the most important draft of this paper. It is not graded because I don't want to put that kind of pressure on you. Instead I want you to focus on whether the drafts you read make sense and provide help on improving them.
Scholarship: You must provide 5 scientific sources for the Problem section of the proposal. You must provide 3 scientific sources for the Strategy section of the proposal. You must use primary sources (original research reports) not secondary sources (e.g. a text book that describes original research). A "scientific" source is usually a periodic journal that is sponsored by a professional or academic (non-profit) association that employs anonymous, peer-review of articles. These sources usually have the words, "Journal," "Monograph," "Bulletin," "Research," or "Review" in the title. You may also cite non-scientific sources (popular press newspapers, magazines, television, radio, or Internet) but these do not count as "scientific." (0-20) (0-40)
Coverage: The proposal must address all sections specified in the Outline. Use each section as a Header in your paper. You may also use the subsections (when appropriate to your project) as additional Headers. Visit the Comm 221 Homepage and look at prior Healthy Influence papers for guidance here. (0-20) (0-40)
Writing: You must write with competent English skills, demonstrating correct grammar, spelling, etc. I am not a composition professor, but I do know the basic mechanics of good writing and I will apply them here. (0-20) (0-40)
Quality: I will make a somewhat subjective evaluation of the overall quality of the paper and the proposed project. A higher quality is found in a project that is very well researched, planned, and written. In other words, the better you do on the preceding criteria, the better you will do on the overall quality criterion. (0-20) (0-40)
Deadline: A 10% penalty will be applied for each day the paper is late. A paper is considered late when it is not turned in during the required class session.
3 Comm Processes, Persuasion Basics, Chapters 1, 11, OK
4 A-B Link, Stages of Change, Measurement
5 ELM; Principles
6 ELM; Static View
7 ELM; Dynamic View
8 Influence Cues
9 Influence Cues,
10 Influence Cues, First Draft
11 Paper Feedback and Review
12 Test One on ELM and Cues
13 Attribution Theory
15 Sequential Requests
17 Mastery Unit on TRA and II
19 Dissonance Theory, Chapter 4, OK
20 Dissonance Theory
21 Mastery Unit on Social Judgment
23 SMCR Variables, Source, Chapters 7-10, OK
24 Message (Fear, Sidedness,); Group Draft for Project
25 Channel; Receiver (Gender, Self Esteem, IQ)
26 Something Interesting
27 Course Wrap Up; Review
28 Final Draft for Project
Other Topics: Subliminal Influence, Role Playing, Arguments and Evidence
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Updated September 30, 1999; Copyright © SBB, 1995-99