Strategies and Tactics of Persuasion – COMS 554

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A practical application of current rhetorical, psychological and sociological theories of persuasion designed to facilitate understanding and change of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in various contexts including media, marketing, public relations, politics, and education.




This course is part of the core requirements for the MA in Communication. This course will survey persuasion principles and theory relevant to the effectiveness of successful communication in the academic and workplace environments.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze classical and contemporary theories of persuasion and how they explain behavioral action in interpersonal, public, media, social, and political contexts.
  2. Evaluate components and processes of persuasion which operate in public discourse and mass mediated messages according to the Christian Judeo ethic.
  3. Use ethical forms of persuasion in personal communication practice.
  4. Research persuasion theory and techniques and ideas for future research.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. In each Discussion Board Forum, the student will write a journal article review related to his/her research topic. The purpose of the forum is to generate ideas for the development of the Research Paper. Each thread must include at least 1 citation in current APA format and integration of at least 1 biblical principle. For each forum, the thread must be 400–500 words and the 2 replies must be 200–300 words.

Journal Article Reviews (2)

The student will write a total of 2 reviews, each of a scholarly journal article related to his/her research topic. Each review must be 2 pages and must be formatted in current APA style.

Title Page/Abstract/Introduction

The student will work on the first portions of the research paper.

Literature Review

In Module/Week 5, the student will submit the first half of the paper, which should be a review of the 15 sources found during the research process. This review should be written in paragraph format with appropriate topic sentences for each paragraph. Furthermore, through this literature review, the student should compare/contrast, analyze, and apply the scholarly perspectives presented in the research.

Research Paper

The student will select a topic from a pre-approved list provided on Blackboard. The paper must be formatted in current APA style and must include a reference page or works cited page. The paper must be 18–20 pages, not including the title page and reference/works cited page, and must include at least 20 references.

Paper Discussion

The student will post his/her Research Paper to the forum and give feedback to at least 1 classmate. The replies must be 200–400 words.

Exams (2)

The student will complete a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam on the textbook readings. Each exam is open-book/open-notes, consists of 100 multiple-choice, true/false, and essay questions, and has a time limit of 2 hours.