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2017/2018  KAN-CIBCV1505U  Experimental methods for communication studies

English Title
Experimental methods for communication studies

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for Master of Arts (MA) in International Business Communication in English
Course coordinator
  • Daniel Barratt - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
  • Laura Winther Balling - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Customer behaviour
  • Communication
  • Business psychology
Last updated on 20-02-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Use experimental approaches to understand real-life communication situations, including both language and visual communication.
  • Have knowledge of a range of experimental approaches and typical findings from the field of cognitive science.
  • Design simple behavioural experiments.
  • Analyse experimental data using descriptive statistics and selected statistical tests.
  • Communicate the results of experiments to both academic and professional audiences.
Course prerequisites
No course prerequisites.
Experimental methods for communication studies:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The exam is a max. 10-page written assignment based on questions and data made available at least 10 days before the exam deadline.

Course content and structure

How do language users decode the communications they receive in private and professional contexts? And how do consumers make sense of the numerous images they encounter in both physical and online environments? Such questions are of central interest to the fields of communication and marketing, and they are increasingly investigated using experimental approaches.


In this course, we work with understanding users and consumers in cognitive terms, using a variety of experimental approaches and quantitative methods to do so. We introduce students to basic experimental approaches from the field of cognitive science which may be used to study language and visual communication in both academic and professional settings, and we cover the statistical methods necessary for analysing the data generated by such experiments.


We will start the course with an introduction to experimental approaches and research design, before moving on to the six core sessions of the course which will each cover a different experimental approach, including the Stroop task, priming, visual search, and eye tracking. Each of these core sessions will cover relevant theory and analytical methods, as well as a demo experiment which will be run in class. Student assignments and presentations will be based on the data collected in these experiments. Throughout the course, we will focus on the basic logic of the different experimental approaches, their main results, and how they may be applied in professional practice. We will cover basic statistical tools that will allow students to analyse and understand the data, but we do not assume any prior background in either mathematics or statistics.

Teaching methods
Lectures, class discussions, hands-on experiments, written assignments, and student presentations.
Feedback during the teaching period
Written feedback for assignments, oral feedback on presentations, and class discussions.
Student workload
Classes 22 hours
Exam (including preparation) 50 hours
Preparation (including group assignments and presentations) 134 hours
Expected literature

The primary reading will be a textbook on research methods and statistics written for a social sciences/psychology audience. Chapters from the textbook will be supplemented by relevant journal articles.


Possible course text books:


Heiman, G. W. (2001). Understanding research methods and statistics: An integrated introduction for psychology (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.


Gliner, J. A., Morgan, G. A., & Leech, N. L. (2017). Research methods in applied settings: An integrated approach to design and analysis (3rd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.

Last updated on 20-02-2017