module specification

SM7106 - Researching Media, Communication and the Creative Industries (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Researching Media, Communication and the Creative Industries
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Critical Report
Coursework 60%   Research Proposal and Project Plan
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module is designed to equip students with an advanced understanding of different theoretical and practical approaches to researching media, communication and the cultural industries. It will enable students to develop the skills necessary to define a valid research question, design a clear research plan and execute it using appropriate methods. It will also develop awareness of practical and ethical issues involved in conducting research.

The module examines research design and methods in both academic and practice-based contexts. Research and study will be undertaken with a view to planning, managing and developing a specific practical and/or written project, the detailed outline of which will form part of the module assessment.

Module aims

The modules aims to enable students to

  • develop an advanced understanding of different theoretical and practical approaches to researching media, communication and the cultural industries
  • discriminate between different research strategies and their application in both academic and practice-based contexts
  • develop awareness of practical and ethical issues involved in conducting research in various contexts
  • prepare for planning, managing and developing a specific practical and/or written independent research project


The module is designed to enable students gain advanced knowledge of different research paradigms and strategies. The syllabus will typically address the following:

  • Introduction to research and research paradigms
  • Doing a literature review
  • Developing a research question; introduction to library and databases
  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Content analysis
  • Textual analysis
  • Media effects
  • Media audiences
  • Researching creativity and the creative industries
  • Real-life research and ethical issues
  • Presentation of research proposal

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars/discussion groups, audio-visual presentations, field trips, and guest presentations. Students will be expected to attend lectures and take notes; read from primary and secondary sources; conduct independent research activity in the Learning Centre and elsewhere. Students will be encouraged and expected to attend field trips and cultural events relating to material studied on the module.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussions, evaluation of online resources, and access to electronic reading packs. The VLE will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to

  1. critically evaluate the relative merits of the different research strategies available for MA level study in Media, Communication and the Creative Industries
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the appropriateness of particular research methods to particular scholarly or creative projects
  3. critically evaluate published academic research
  4. write a detailed and critical review of literature in a particular field of research
  5. design a valid and rigorous research proposal

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by coursework (100%):

  1. A Critical Report (40%): a 2,000-word report evaluating the presentation of a piece of academic research reported by the press, radio, television or internet in comparison with the original published academic research (LO 1, 2, 3)
  2. A Research Proposal and Project Plan (60%): a 3,000-word proposal and plan for a particular piece of research to be carried out in the field of media, communications and the creative industries (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


Allan, S. and Thorsen, E. 2009. Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives. Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing
Barrett, E. and Bolt, B. 2014. Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. London: I B Tauris
Berger, A. 2013. Media and Communication Research Methods: An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Third Edition. London: Sage
Bertrand, I and Hughes, P. 2005. Media Research: Audiences, Institutions, Texts. London: Palgrave
Bruhn Jensen, K. 2002. A Handbook of Media and Communications Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies. London: Routledge
Bryman, A. 2012. Social Research Methods. Fourth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Curran, J. and Seaton, J. 2009. Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain. 7th edition. London: Routledge
Deacon, D. et al. 2007. Researching Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis. London: Bloomsbury Academic
Grueskin, B. et al. 2011. The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism. Columbia Journalism School/Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Hesmondhalgh, D. 2013. The Cultural Industries. Third Edition. London: Sage
Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. 2011. Creative Labour: Media work in three cultural industries. London and New York: Routledge
Hartin Lorio, S. (ed.) 2004. Qualitative research in journalism: taking it to the streets. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Pickering, M., (ed.) 2008. Research Methods For Cultural Studies, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Smith, H. and Dean, R.T. 2009. Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Stokes, J. 2013. How to do Media and Cultural Studies. Second Edition. London: Sage
Sullivan, J. L. 2013. Media Audiences, Effects, Users, Institutions and Power. Los Angeles/London: Sage