Communication Studies 205-0
Theories of Persuasion
Spring 2017


COURSE INFORMATION


 

Professor:       Daniel O’Keefe

                        Office: 1-148 Frances Searle

                        Office hours: 9:00-10:00 MW, 1:00-3:00 M, & by appointment

                        Office phone: 847.491.3581

                        d-okeefe@northwestern.edu

                        Homepage: www.soc.northwestern.edu/dokeefe or www.dokeefe.net

 

 

Assistants:      Hannah Badal

                        Office: 2-168 Frances Searle 

                        Office hours: by appointment
                        h.badal@u.northwestern.edu

 

                        Kelly Sheehan

                        Office: 2-152 Frances Searle

                        Office hours: by appointment
                         kelly.sheehan@northwestern.edu

 

 

Course site:  www.dokeefe.net/205S17.html or via www.soc.northwestern.edu/dokeefe

 


Text (supplementary):  D. O’Keefe, Persuasion: Theory and research (3rd ed., paperback, Sage) (ISBN 978-1-4522-7667-0) (one copy available at the Library Reserve Room)

 


Brief course description and tentative outline:  This course provides a general introduction to the social-scientific study of persuasive communication. The course focuses on alternative theoretical accounts of the processes underlying persuasion and on research findings concerning the effects of various factors on persuasive effectiveness.

 

      I.  Introduction

     II.  Theoretical approaches

          A.  Social judgment theory

          B.  Belief-based models

          C.  Functional approaches

          D.  Reasoned action theory

          E.  Elaboration likelihood model

          F.  Consistency theories

    III.  Factors influencing persuasive effectiveness

          A.  Source factors

          B.  Message factors
          C.  Receiver factors



Graded assignments:


One’s course grade is based on two hourly examinations and a final examination. The examinations cover material presented in lecture and discussion sections. The hourly exams are multiple-choice exams; the first counts for 35% of the course grade, the second for 30%. The final exam is a take-home essay exam; the final exam counts for 35% of the course grade.

 

It is assumed that examinations will be completed when required. No make-up examinations will be administered, except in cases of documented medical or family emergency. When such problems are encountered, notify Professor O’Keefe at the earliest possible time; appropriate documentation will be needed. Without an acceptable excuse, a missed examination will receive a failing grade (F).

 

Course grading:


One’s course grade will be determined by the weighted average of the grades on the individual assignments. Each assignment will receive a letter grade, with the usual numerical equivalents (that is, A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, and so forth).

 

So, for example, a student who received a B on the first exam, an A- on the second exam, and an A on the final exam would have a course average of 3.56.

 

                        (3.0 x .35)  +  (3.7 x .30)  +  (4.0 x .35)  =  3.56

 

To convert the course average into a course grade, the following scale will apply:

 

                                                course average            course grade

                                                 3.850 and up              A

                                                 3.500 and up              A-

                                                 3.150 and up              B+

                                                 2.850 and up              B

                                                 2.500 and up              B-

                                                 2.150 and up              C+

                                                 1.850 and up              C

                                                 1.350 and up              C-

                                                 0.500 and up              D

                                                 below 0.500               F

 

So a student with a course average of 3.56 would receive a course grade of A-.

 

However, before course grades are submitted, the raw scores on the hourly exams are reviewed. If the circumstance is such that having answered correctly just one additional question on just one hourly exam would have yielded a higher course grade, then the higher course grade is given.



Academic dishonesty:

 

Don't do it. (If uncertain about what constitutes a violation of Northwestern University's standards of academic integrity, consult the University web site, e.g., p. 22 of:

http://www.registrar.northwestern.edu/courses/archive/nucat_2015_16/nu_undergraduate_catalog_2015_16r2.pdf.)

 

Bad things will happen if you do. (These can include a failing grade on the assignment—and worse. Again, see the University web site. For details on School of Communication procedures: http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/files/ProceduresAllegedAcademicDishonesty.pdf .)

 

 

Accommodations for disabilities:

 

Any student requesting accommodations related to a disability or other condition is required to register with AccessibleNU (accessiblenu@northwestern.edu; 847-467-5530) and provide professors with an accommodation notification from AccessibleNU, preferably within the first two weeks of class. All information will remain confidential. For details: http://www.northwestern.edu/accessiblenu/

 

 

Some tentative dates of interest: 


Hourly exam #1:  Wednesday 26 April

Hourly exam #2:  Wednesday 24 May

Take-home final available: at discussion section Friday 26 May

Take-home final available online:  not later than 5:00 p.m. Friday 26 May

Take-home final due: not later than noon (12:00 p.m.) Monday 5 June





 

Tentative schedule:

 

Week of 27 March

            topic: concept of persuasion, attitude measurement, assessing persuasion

            supplementary reading: pp. 1-18

Week of 3 April

            topic: social judgment theory, belief-based models

            supplementary reading: pp. 19-34 (social judgment); pp. 56-75 (belief-based)

Week of 10 April

            topic: belief-based models (continued), functional approaches

            supplementary reading: pp. 56-75 (belief-based); pp. 35-55 (functional)

Week of 17 April

            topic: reasoned action theory, elaboration likelihood model

            supplementary reading: pp. 98-131 (RAT); pp. 148-175 (ELM)

Week of 24 April

            topic: elaboration likelihood model (continued)

            supplementary reading: pp. 148-175

            Wednesday 26 April: hourly exam #1

            discussion sections do meet as usual Friday 28 April

Week of 1 May

            topic: consistency theories

            supplementary reading: pp. 76-97

Week of 8 May

            topic: source factors

            supplementary reading: pp. 188-213

Week of 15 May

            topic: message factors

            supplementary reading: pp. 214-251

Week of 22 May

            topic: receiver factors

            supplementary reading: pp. 252-267

            Wednesday 24 May: hourly exam #2

            Friday 26 May: final exam available at discussion section

            Friday 26 May: final exam available online by 5:00 p.m.

Week of 29 May

            no class meeting Monday 29 May (Memorial Day)

            Wednesday 31 May: final exam available at lecture

            Friday 2 June: no class meeting

 

Monday 5 June: final exam due by noon

 

CommStudies 205 course home page

Daniel J. O’Keefe home page