Syllabus-Jinan University

Journalism Research

Professor Christopher Harper
Class websites:
Wechat: Templeprof

Thursdays 1900-2135 Room A312
Fridays 1900-2135 Room A213

Course Goals

Acquiring an understanding of research techniques is the emphasis of this course. These techniques include learning how to access and analyze documents, conducting probing interviews, thinking critically, thorough reporting and producing incisive writing.

Coupled with expanding your proficiency in reporting techniques, this course will focus on sharpening your understanding of the constant need for thoroughness and accuracy in your reporting and writing. Further, throughout this course, the fundamentals of good reporting and writing will receive attention.

Success in this Course

To succeed in this course, you must make a commitment to hard work. While hard work is required, the work in this course is not difficult. Your success in this course depends on your willingness to work hard.

You are required to complete all assignments by the assigned deadline. All assignments for this course must include in-depth, enterprising reporting coupled with strong writing.

Follow the policies listed below:

All deadlines are absolute – Assignments are due on time. Late assignments will not be accepted. If you are going to miss a class and have previously informed the professor of this planned absence, you will have the option to submit an assignment as per arrangement with the professor.

Attendance is required – More than two unexcused absences will affect your grade.

Class participation is required – Failure to participate fully in class discussions will affect your grade.

Plan ahead on assignments – Proper organization and good use of time are essential elements of effective investigative reporting.

Source listings must accompany ALL articles – Source sheets include telephone numbers, email addresses and/or other contact information for all persons interviewed for the article. Failure to submit ‘source sheets’ will result in a deduction of grade points.

Do not plagiarize – Plagiarism results in automatic failure of this course.


You will write and report a great deal in this course. Improving your writing and reporting is a consequence of constant practice. Most assignments will require you to talk to people (interview) and acquire documentation.


The credibility of journalists diminishes when their content contains factual errors. As a result, a factual error in an assignment will cause a deduction. Misspelling a proper name also well result in a deduction.


You must complete the assigned readings before class and participate in classroom discussions. Participation in classroom discussions is a part of your final grade.


Initiative and originality will weigh heavily in your grade for any assignment. Grading is based on accuracy of information, the thoroughness of your reporting/research, the quality of your news judgment, the organization of your assignment, the clarity and conciseness of your writing, plus spelling, punctuation and word usage.

This course is designed to help you prepare for the “real world” of journalism – a far more unforgiving and unfair pace than any college classroom.


Article (Final)                                                 100 points
Research Memo No. 1                                     40 points
Research Memo No. 2                                     40 points
Participation                                                      20 points

Assignment Preparation

Every assignment should be sent to me before class as an email attachment in Word to Please include your full name (last name first) followed by the name of the assignment as the subject line and the document name of the material.

For example, wangannaresearchmemo1.docx and wangannaresearchmemo1 as the subject line of the email.

If you are unable to use email, please bring a printed copy to class.

Assignments must include a source sheet containing names and contact information for people contacted/quoted.

Assignment No. 1: Article: 100 points

This article is a news feature, meaning you must produce an in-depth examination, incorporating research and reporting techniques, of a topic in Guangzhou. This article must be multi-sourced, inclusive of interviews, documentation and adequate context. The topic for this assignment will be your choice.

This article must include two photographs or audio or video done by you that relate to the focus of your article. The multimedia material can be taken with any equipment that you have access to, including camera or smart phone.

This project includes several parts.

Provide a list of three potential topics to professor. Due before class via email on Thursday, May 17.

Provide a memo (Research Memo No. 1 for 20 points) listing status of work done inclusive of the various angles being explored: Due before class on Thursday, May 24.

Provide a memo (Research Memo No. 2 for 20 points) listing status of work done inclusive of the various angles being explored: Due before class on Thursday, June 7.

Submit rough draft of article: Due before 10 a.m. Thursday, June 14.

Article of 600 words due by Thursday, June 21.

Course Schedule

Week 10

Thursday, May 10

Course Overview

In-class assignment

Friday, May 11

Read before class

Week 11

Thursday, May 17

Story ideas due. Provide a list of three potential topics via email to, including at least 100 words about your initial research for each potential story. The subject line of the email and the attachment should be yourfamilynamefirstnameideas

Class discussion

Friday, May 18: No class. Reporting day.

Week 12

Thursday, May 24

Provide a memo (Research Memo No. 1) listing status of work done inclusive of the various angles being explored. The memo should be at least 500 words long and sent before class as a Word attachment to The subject line of the email and the document attachment should be yourfamilynamefirstnamememo1

Friday, May 25

Class discussion

Week 13

Thursday, May 31

Class discussion

Friday, June 1: No class. Reporting day.

Week 14

Thursday, June 7

Provide a memo (Research Memo No. 2) listing status of work done inclusive of the various angles being explored.

Friday, June 8: No class. Reporting day.

Week 15

Thursday, June 14

Submit rough draft of your article of at least 600 words. Meetings.

Friday, June 15


Week 16

Thursday, June 21

Submit final article of at least 600 words.

Meetings on Thursday and Friday.



One response to “Syllabus-Jinan University

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