Persuasion – SCOM 345

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/02/2021

Course Description

Analysis and practice of techniques used to change attitudes, beliefs, and behavior in various communication contexts. (Formerly COMS 345)

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


It is important as Christian communicators whose goal it is to influence society for Christ, to use persuasive methods, which are ethically sound in all communication practices. Further, because persuasive messages bombard us continuously, we need to protect ourselves from those who would use persuasion abusively. Attention will be given to both classical and contemporary theories of persuasion and their ethical use in given contexts. The student will be an active participant in developing and analyzing persuasive messages within the contexts of public speaking.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Class Overview.

Journal Writing Assignments (8)

The student will respond to multiple questions provided in the assignment instructions each week and write a brief response to each question using current APA format. These questions will develop the student’s thoughts about persuasion theory and techniques covered during each module.

Proposal and Research Paper

Using APA format the student will write two papers. The first paper is a research proposal paper of 4–5 pages in length with 20 cited sources on a proposed area of research. The second paper will carry out the approved proposal in a 8–10 page paper doing original research in the area of persuasion. Both the proposal and the research paper will analyze the persuasion used in a political or religious speech or public campaign, a social, religious or political movement, or several artifacts in an advertising campaign. Please note that the proposal must be approved at the end of week 4 and the research paper turned in at the end of week 7. Much of the work required for the proposal written in 1st person will be used again in the research paper written in 3rd person. So there will be some overlap.

Speeches (2)

The student will develop and deliver two persuasive speeches in front of a listening audience of their choosing. One speech will be an advocacy/defense speech where the student’s goal is to defend or advocate a value or belief that they hold. The second speech will be a problem–solving speech where the student’s goal is to analyze a problem and persuade an audience to take a specific course of action to solve the problem.

Each speech must be a minimum of 7 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes in length. The student must also complete an outline and reference page for each speech and is part of the grade for the assignment. A power point may be used if it helps the student accomplish the persuasive goal but is not required.

Once the speech is recorded, the student will upload the video file to YouTube and post his speech so others in the class can view the speech and give feedback. An outline and Reference Page are also to be uploaded according to assignment directions.

Peer Review Discussion: Speech Submissions (10)

The student will submit a video submission of the Defense/Advocacy Speech in Module 3: Week 3. The students will provide 5 peer feedback forms on 5 speeches posted in the discussions in Module 4: Week 4. The student will submit a video submission of the Problem-Solving Speech in Module 5: Week 5.  The student will provide 5 peer feedback forms on 5 speeches posted in the discussions during Module 6: Week 6.

Quizzes (2)

Quiz Midterm: The midterm exam covers the reading from Module 1: Week 1 — Module 4: Week 4. Questions will consist of true/false and multiple choice. The midterm exam has 100 questions, is open-book/open-notes and you will need to complete the exam in 2 hours.

Quiz Final: The final exam covers the reading in Module 4: Week 4 — Module 8: Week 8. Questions will consist of true/false and multiple-choice. The exam has 100 questions and is open-book/open-notes.

Quiz: Speech Topic Submission (2)

The student will submit a Speech: Defense/Advocacy Assignment topic and a Speech: Problem–Solving Assignment topic for approval.