Spring 2008



Office: CP-650-29 Phone: 657-278-7008
Dr. Witmer's Web site: http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/dwitmer/



Overview: The comprehensive examinations are designed to both solidify and assess student learning. In preparing for comprehensive examinations, students are given the opportunity to both expand upon and demonstrate the depth and breadth of their overall knowledge of communications. Thus, each student will develop reading lists in the general areas of theory, research methodologies, and application (advertising or public relations). A committee of three faculty members, one for each examination area, will review the examinations to determine each student's core competencies in the study and practice of public relations and advertising.


Learning Objectives: By successfully completing the written comprehensive examinations, students will demonstrate:

         core competencies essential for public relations and advertising professionals in a complex, global environment.

         skills related to coping with change, crisis management, uncertainty, new technologies, and multicultural communications.

         the ability to articulate and apply current scholarly literature and theoretical models for successful practice of public relations and advertising.

         the ability to articulate and apply appropriate methodologies for successful research, design, and evaluation of public relations and advertising programs.

         conceptual and critical thinking skills for successful research, planning, execution, and evaluation of public relations and advertising programs.




Required Materials:


No specific texts are assigned for this course, but you will need to develop reading lists to prepare for your examinations. To do that, you will need:


         All reading assignments from all previous course work.

         A minimum of eighteen to twenty additional readings (books and scholarly articles). You will determine the exact readings for which you will be responsible during the preparation period.


You will find the following resources invaluable as you prepare for the examinations:


         Comprehensive Exams Blackboard Web site, which you can access through the student portal at: http://my.fullerton.edu/.

         Pollak Library Guide to Resources for CSUF-HKU SPACE M.A.-Communications Distance Students: http://guides.library.fullerton.edu/distance/communications.htm




Independent Study: Letter grades are assigned for the Independent Research portion of this course, based upon the quality and timeliness with which you complete your annotated bibliography (described below). Grade assignments are as follows:



























Comprehensive Examinations: The comprehensive examinations are pass/no pass, and no letter grade is assigned. A student may be asked to rewrite or elaborate on any portion or all of the written examination, or to meet via teleconference for an oral examination. Evaluation of the examinations is based on the following criteria:



Demonstrated by:


Articulating appropriate critiques, interpretations, operationalization, and development of professional-level public relations or advertising campaigns.


Comparing and contrasting, synthesizing, and applying appropriate theories and models to the practice of public relations or advertising.


Adapting, combining, designing, or formulating appropriate methods for the development and evaluation of public relations or advertising campaigns.

Overall Critical Thinking

Critiquing, comparing, interpreting, and differentiating theories, models, methodologies, and applications.




This course is designed to help you prepare for your comprehensive examinations. In order to adequately prepare for the exams, you will need to complete three critical tasks:


1.      Provide the following in a brief self introduction:

a.       Your name.

b.      A list of all CSUF courses you have taken, including.

                                                                                         i.   The CSUF professor who taught each course.

                                                                                       ii.   All texts and readings that were assigned for each course.

c.       Your area of emphasis (public relations or advertising).


2.      Develop an annotated bibliography that you will use to create your reading list for exam preparation. The bibliography should be divided into three sections: 1) theory, 2) research methods, and 3) application (public relations or advertising). Each section should consist of an alphabetical listing in APA format of every appropriate book, book chapter, and scholarly journal article you can find. Each reference must be accompanied by a few sentences in your own words that summarize the book, book chapter, or article and its relevance to your each of your three specific topic areas (theory, research methods, and application).


Hints: Be sure to incorporate both quantity and quality in your bibliography. While minimal numbers almost always result in grades of C, extensive listings of inappropriate or low-quality resources will not fare any better. When searching library databases, be sure to look at the literature of other appropriate disciplines; don't limit yourself to only communications research. For example, the field of psychology often has excellent texts on quantitative research methods. Donít forget to include your course readings.


3.      Develop three reading lists, each of which focuses on one of the following areas:

a.       research methodologies,

b.      theory, and

c.       public relations/advertising application.


Hints: Use your course materials and your annotated bibliography as a basis for your list to develop a broad understanding of your study areas, and then add a minimum of six additional readings to add to your understanding of each area. Some ideas that may help you develop your list include:

a.       Develop all of your lists to include a combination of books, book chapters, and scholarly journal articles.

b.      Develop lists first for breadth (e.g., general mass communication theory texts for the theory section) then for depth (e.g., develop additional readings around one particular theory that interests you).

I will work with you to help you develop your lists and answer any questions you may have as you prepare for your examinations.




         You must turn in all assignments on time. No late assignments are accepted. Only severe medical problems are acceptable reasons for missing exams or assignments, and it is your responsibility to make immediate arrangements with me for make-up work. Computer problems and crashed disks are not valid reasons for late work. If a medical emergency arises, you must notify me in advance of the class and provide verification in order to be excused and scheduled for make-up work.

         Please contact me immediately if you have any difficulties in this course. DO NOT wait a week before your examinations to contact me with problems. I'm always happy to help you in any way I can, but any delay in communicating directly with me greatly reduces your chances of getting help.

         Any proven case of plagiarism or violation of ethical conduct will result in immediate failure of the class. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to: borrowing another person's ideas without acknowledgment; using paraphrased material without attribution; not citing quoted material; copying from any source and presenting the work as your own; downloading and using as your own any sentences, paragraphs, or entire documents off the Internet† (including source code, scripts, graphics, or other Web elements); or using anyone else's assistance (other than the instructor or a lab TA) to fulfill course requirements.


The very best way to reach me is by e-mail. Don't forget that if you have any questions,
I'm only a "Send Button" away!




Week Number

Week of:


Assignments Due


Feb 4

Self introductions & areas of emphasis

Courses taken, professors, and initial readings from course work

Area of Emphasis, List of Professors, Readings from Courses


Feb 11

Independent Research



Feb 18

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography


Feb 25

Finalize Reading List for Examination Preparation

Comps Reading List


Mar 3

Study & Review



Mar 10

Study & Review



Mar 17

Study & Review



Mar 24

Study & Review



Mar 31

Study & Review



Apr 7

Study & Review



Apr 12


2:30-7:00 PM, HK Time


Apr 13


2:30-4:45 PM, HK Time


Apr 14

Review of Exams



Apr 21

Review of Exams

Preliminary Results


Apr 28

Examination Results/Additional writing or orals



May 5

Review of additional written work

Final Results



January 3, 2008