MC6001 - Communication Theory and Concepts (2023/24)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2023/24|
|Module title||Communication Theory and Concepts|
|Module level||Honours (06)|
|Credit rating for module||30|
|School||Guildhall School of Business and Law|
|Total study hours||300|
|Running in 2023/24(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)||No instances running in the year|
The module will consider what is meant by “communication” and why a study of the subject is especially important for communication professionals. A range of methods for evaluating communication will be discussed together with the theories of the main authorities in the field.
Current affairs will be a key feature in the module to illustrate the application of various theories and concepts.
The aim of the module is to engage students in critical and evaluative considerations using key theories, concepts; this will be through consideration and engaging with the language and discourse related to the subject area. The module will discuss the key theories, concepts, and approaches within the field of communication. Students will be introduced to the problems inherent in defining communication, and the different approaches to the topic. Students will also develop further the practical communication skills addressed in earlier modules.
The module content is broken in to three distinct sections throughout the year
1) Communication models & Measurements
2) Codes signs and public communication
3) News propaganda and the public sphere
The module aims to assist in the building of the following specific skills:
• Critical Thinking and Writing
• Academic Reading & Academic writing and literacy
• Analysing data & problem solving
• Commercial Awareness
• Interpersonal, including collaborating / working with others, cross cultural awareness, having a positive attitude, negotiation and persuasion
• Communicating/presenting – orally and in writing, including inter-cultural communication
Communication Models & researching communications
Overview and introduction to theoretical perceptive on the study of communication- critical theory propaganda ideology, Structuralism and semiotics, post modernism, anthropology and cultural studies, learning theories, Information processing, Psyche linguistics, Psyche- dynamic theory
Communication, Information transmission, meaning
Communication Models – Application & criticism Shannon & weaver, Laswell Model, Newcomb’s model, Gerbner - Westly & Maclean Jacobson model
Researching communication Media & audience
Researching audiences – Positivist, interpretive approaches, quantitative, qualitative BARB, Raja radio audience measurements audience ratings. Critical issues in shifts in media consumption and channels and measurements
Researching communication Analysing media content. Content Analysis –Rationale measuring own output, To measure the output of others and in In order to comply with regulatory requirements objective, measurable, verifiable of content analysis Reliability testing, Coding Scheme, inferences and sample size LO1
Codes, Signs and Public Communications
Cultural analysis – Ideological Process -myth, Doxa & Hegemony, Ideology & media representation -stereotyping , assimilation, othering, Exoticism
Rhetorical analysis – Uses of semiotics critical & Practical .Theories of the sign and meaning Semiotics and Organisational Communications, Codes and conventions, Systems of difference, Symbolic sign Icon, Index, Symbol Indexical Sign Applying semiotics- denotation, connation signifiers, signified
Public communications- Campaign domains. Social marketing, Communication-persuasion matrix, Social control Effectiveness of Social Norms marketing, Advocacy of campaigns critical perspectives -Theories used in social Marketing, Health Belief Model (HBM), The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) Social Cognitive Theory (SCT LO2
News & Propaganda
News sources & changing dynamics –Sources & Motives Control - Regions and Closures, Source Control - news as purposive behaviour, credibility & trust , False news, democratisation of news & the web PR & motives.
News management techniques – Absorption, News encounter critical perspectives on news values McDougall taxonomy News worthiness Gultung and Rudge 1970 news values , Alternative measures the role of social media in news values
Propaganda and persuasion-propaganda forms White propaganda Black propaganda Context of propaganda Atrocity propaganda war and propaganda Chomsky and Hermans Propaganda model
Media function public broadcasting- The role and purpose of media Propaganda, Commercial laissez-faire models, power model, Media convergence, debates re press regulation
The public sphere- The Media and the Public Sphere Circulation of information and opinion, Truth Negative and public reason, Press as a check on state power, Habermann & public sphere, Negative assessment of mass media & public opinion public, opinion polls and pollster
Media Ethics –Challenges and ethical considerations for communications & professionalism. Critical approaches to ethics including situational ethics, virtue ethics, discourse ethics, utilitarianism. Professional codes of practice LO3
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
The module will be delivered using a combination of one and half lectures & seminars sessions. Where possible, guest speakers will be invited from sectors of the communication industry. Seminars will be one an half hours. Videos and online case studies will frequently be used to stimulate discussion in seminars. In the main, seminars will be student-led, and a problem-based approach will be adopted. A routine of daily media monitoring will be encouraged for the study of examples of mass communication, and to facilitate analytical and evaluative skills.
Web learn will be used for the dissemination of learning materials, for assessment briefs, and for regular updates by the tutor. Students will be provided with both formative and summative feedback in the lecture and seminars and during tutor’s feedback and advice hours.
As part of the PISO initiative, Reflective learning (PISO II) is incorporated into the module. Students are advised to keep a journal of experiences and personal development to analyse and reflect on the effectiveness of their learning. This is facilitated in the first formative assessment in week 4 and feedback in week 5. This will assist students in the subsequent assessment in week 8
For the Individual & assessments, students will be given an opportunity and be required to show draft work/progress to their tutors for comments and feedback during seminars 2 weeks prior to the deadline. Generic feedback will also be provided in class, seminars one week post submission. Students will receive written feedback and grades within 14 working days of submission. For the group presentation students will be provided with immediate oral feedback. Formal feedback & grades will be made available to students in the seminars 14 working days post submission and or via web learn.
Weekly drop-in surgeries will be provided on campus by the tutor in office hours. Exam preparation and revision will take place two weeks before the academic exam period
On completion of this unit the students will be able to:
1. Be proficient in planning and carry out communication research and evaluate findings LO1
2. Demonstrate the ability to critically an synthesis theory and practice in the organisation of organisational communication plans LO2
3. Critically appraise and evaluate academic perspectives in the context of News, propaganda public sphere and ethical considerations LO3
Assessment 1 Content Analysis Research Report 3,000 words
In week, 2 students will be given a small formative task related to assessment 1 and to submit work in week 4. Students will then be required to reflect on their learning. This has been designed to assist in assessment 1. Additional students will be provided with the opportunity to produce drafts in weeks 6 & 7 seminar period for formative feedback on their content analysis report. The assessment have been designed to develop and assess analysing data & problem solving skills.The feedback should assist students in addressing their individual content analysis research report which will be due in Week 8 LO1
Assessment 2 Group Presentation 15 minutes
Students will be given an opportunity to develop a public communications plan
For the presentation, students will be given an opportunity to work on the presentation in the seminar period in order to gain formative feedback on the work in progress, and will be required to show draft work/progress presentation reports to their tutors for comments during seminars in week 16, 17. Due in week 18. More Generic oral feedback will be provided post presentation on the day of the presentation in the class, seminars. The assessment draws on the development of interpersonal, including collaborating / working with others, cross cultural awareness, having a positive attitude, negotiation and persuasion in communicating/presenting – orally and in writing.
Students will receive written feedback and grades within 14 working days of submission.LO2
Assessment 4 Exam
The exam seeks to test students ability to crucially appraise and evaluate academic perspectives on news and propaganda and the role of the public sphere & ethics in communication LO3
The module is a pass on aggregate on all assessment of the module
This module has no core book due to the nature of the topics covered. However reading will be taken from the chapters readily available via the library resources and chapters will be made available on web learn. Core weekly reading will be supplied at the beginning of teaching
Bainbridge J. Goc N., and Tynan E. (2015) Media and Journalism 3e:New
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Christians C , Fackler M. , Richardson K , Kreshel P. Woods H. (2017) Media Ethics Cases and Moral Reasoning, 10th Edition Routledge Taylor Francis
Coleman, S., Ross, K., 2010. The Media and The Public: “Them” and “Us” in Media Discourse, First ed. Wiley-Blackwell.
Daymon C. & Holloway I. (2011) Qualitative research methods in public relations and marketing communications, London: Routledge
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Habermas, J., (1979) ‘The public sphere’ in A. Mattelart & S. Siegelaub, eds., Communication and Class Struggle pp.198-201
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Jowett G. O’Donnell( 2006) Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion New and Classic Essays Sage Publications
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Manning, P., 2001. News and news sources: a critical introduction. Sage, London
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Mc Quail D. (2010) McQuail's Mass Communication Theory 6th Edition Sage publications
O’Shaughnessy, N.J., 2004. Politics and propaganda: weapons of mass seduction. Manchester University Press, Manchester.
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Palmer, J., 2000. Spinning into control: news values and source strategies, Studies in communication and society. Leicester University Press, London
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Severin W. Tankard J. (2014) Communication Theories origins methods and uses in mass media 6th Edition Pearsons
Windahl, S., Signitzer, B., & Olson, J. T. (2008). Using Communication Theory: An Introduction to Planned Communication (Second ed.). Sage Publications Ltd.
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Mass communication & society
Media Culture & Society
Public Relations Quarterly
Public Relations Review
Public Relations Research
Journal of Public Affairs
International Journal of Communication
Journal of Mass Media Ethics
Journal of Communication Management
Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising Research
European Journal of Communication
Journal Marking Communications
Current & daily Newspapers
Library-Lexis News data base