Technische Universität Ilmenau

International crisis communication research - Modultafeln of TU Ilmenau

The Modultafeln have a pure informational character. The legally binding information can be found in the corresponding Studienplan and Modulhandbuch, which are served on the pages of the course offers. Please also pay attention to this legal advice (german only). Information on place and time of the actual lectures is served in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis.

subject properties International crisis communication research in major Master Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft/Media and Communication Science 2013
subject number101702
examination number2500384
departmentDepartment of Economic Sciences and Media
ID of group 2555 (Group for Resarch in Public Relations and Communication of Technology)
subject leader Dr. Andreas Schwarz
term Wintersemester
credit points10
on-campus program (h)67
self-study (h)233
Obligationobligatory elective
examalternative examination performance
details of the certificate

The assignments of the course include: frequent and active participation, evidence of preparation; A research presentation; The submission of a pretest report or the concept of a research design;  Presentations of preliminary results and research progress; A final research report

Signup details for alternative examinations
maximum number of participants20
previous knowledge and experience

Participants should have basic knowledge of research methodology and data analysis. Practical experiences with conducting content analyses or experiments will be helpful but is not mandatory. Students should have a basic understanding of public relations, strategic communication, and journalism in terms of theory, state of research, and practice.

learning outcome
  • An understanding of peculiarities of crises with international causes and/or impact
  • An overview on basic areas of international crisis communication research and related fields of study
  • An understanding of the impact of national and cultural context factors on crisis communication
  • An understanding of basic rules for effective and/or ethical crisis communication and/or crisis reporting in the context of transnational crises
  • Deduce trends and future challenges of crisis communication research from current cases and research
  • Developing and improving skills to conceptualize and conduct studies on crisis communication (e.g., content analysis, experiments)
  • Improving practical skills regarding data collection and data analysis

In the last decades, the world has experienced several large-scale natural disasters, armed conflicts but also severe industrial accidents and organizational crises with international impact. Such crises are global in scope and have dominated the media agenda in many countries. This raises questions of the appropriate crisis response by government authorities, involved companies, NGOs, but also media organizations and the way they report on these events. Especially, the role of national and cultural differences needs to be studied in this context.

Therefore, students in this course will review the state of international crisis communication research. On the basis of recommended readings participants will discuss basic findings, theoretical concepts, methodological issues, and best practices in crisis communication and related fields. Students will explore relevant concepts for understanding cross-cultural and cross-national dimensions of crisis communication (e.g., culture, cultural values, international public relations, cross-cultural psychology, international media systems). In addition, course participants will develop their methodology for analyzing certain aspects of transnational crises.

The course participants will refresh their knowledge and skills regarding certain techniques of data collection (e.g., content analysis, survey) and data analysis. They will discuss the peculiarities of cross-cultural/ cross-national comparative studies. After that they will review and improve their research design and measures (e.g., codebooks or stimulus materials for conducting experiments). They will form "research teams", each group analyzing certain crisis cases or aspects of a certain transnational crisis. They will collect data and write a research report to present the results of their data analysis.

media of instruction

Laptops, presentations software, applications for data entry and analysis

literature / references

All relevant course materials will be made available on the online learning platform Moodle.

Further relevant readings are:

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of crisis communication. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Golan, T. J. Johnson & W. Wanta (Eds.), International media communication in a global age (pp. 319-344). New York, NY: Routledge.

Heath, R. L., & O'Hair, H. D. (Eds.). (2009). Handbook of risk and crisis communication. New York, NY: Routledge.

Lee, B. K. (2005). Crisis, culture, community. In P. J. Kalbfleisch (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 29 (Vol. 29, pp. 275-309). New York: Routledge.

Schwarz, A., Seeger, M., & Auer, C. (Eds.) (2016). The handbook of international crisis communication research. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

evaluation of teaching