POLSCI 239S: Political Communications


Reader requirements: Background and/or experience in politics, communications, or media.


  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. D. Sunshine Hillygus

Examination of interaction between citizens, media and political actors in today’s fragmented information environment. Topics include evolution of political communication and media, emergence of new communication technologies, changes in campaign communication strategy, nature of news, theories of attitude formation and change, and role of political communications in campaigns and elections. Focus on implications of changing information environment for political communication strategies and for citizen knowledge and engagement in democratic process.

Student Writing:

What are students writing? Original research paper with data collection.

For whom? Experts and other interested readers in the fields of politics, communications, or media studies.

Where would such writing typically be found? Modeled on articles found in scholarly journal such as Political Communications, PS: Political Science and Politics, or The International Journal of Press/Politics. Students may use as writing sample as application for grad school, etc.

Why would someone usually read it? They would be interested in knowing the answer to the questions posed by the paper.


Schedule (Student – Reader Interactions):

These are the deadlines for this course, as they pertain to the Reader Project:

Student sign-up deadline: Sept 14th
Student/Reader matches made by Sept 28

Intro meeting:

  • Student’s will schedule a brief, introduce yourself/get-to-know you conversation with their reader by Oct 4. Students should provide an overview of their project/paper to their reader at this time. This doesn’t have to be a written overview, but student should their reader an idea of what their project/paper is/will be about at this time.

Full Draft of research paper:

  • Student sends full draft of research paper to Reader by Nov 29.
  • Student and Reader meet to discuss research paper sometime between Nov 29 and Dec 4.
  • Reader should send written comments/feedback on research paper to Student by Dec 6.

Link to full Syllabus:

POLSCI239


Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More