module specification

SM7106 - Researching Media, Communication and the Creative Industries (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Researching Media, Communication and the Creative Industries
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
161 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Critical Report
Coursework 60%   Research Proposal and Project Plan
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
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.

The module aims to enable students to develop an advanced understanding of different theoretical and practical approaches to researching media, communication and the cultural industries, discriminating between different research strategies and their application in both academic and practice-based contexts. Students will develop awareness of practical and ethical issues involved in conducting research in various contexts and in preparing 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 appropriate to the field of media, communication and the creative industries. It introduces them to research and research paradigms, teaches them how to develop a research question and do a literature review and introduces them to the library’s resources, including databases. LO1,LO2,LO3

The module helps students grasp the principles of qualitative and quantitative research, content analysis, textual analysis, media effects and media audiences. It also helps them develop an understanding of different approaches to researching creativity and the creative industries, as well as the challenges of real-life research and the ethical issue that this can raise. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to (and to have the opportunity to) continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress over the year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

Subject specific skills
LO1 design a valid and rigorous research proposal in the field of media, communication or the creative industries;

Knowledge and understanding
LO2 demonstrate an understanding of the appropriateness of particular research methods to particular scholarly or creative projects;

Cognitive intellectual abilities
LO3 critically evaluate published academic research and write a detailed and critical review of literature in a particular field of research;

Transferable skills
LO4 learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

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;
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/or the creative industries.


Core Texts:
Berger, A. (2013) Media and Communication Research Methods: An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 3rd edition. London: Sage
Biggs, M. and Karlsson, H. (eds.), (2011) The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
Bruhn Jensen, K. (2002) A Handbook of Media and Communications Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies, London: Routledge
Curran, J. and Seaton, J. (2009) Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, 7th edition. London: Routledge

Other Texts:
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
Bertrand, I. and Hughes, P. (2005) Media Research: Audiences, Institutions, Texts, London: Palgrave
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods, 4th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Deacon, D. (2007) Researching Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis, London: Bloomsbury Academic
Grueskin, B., Seave A., and Graves L. (2012) The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism, (Columbia Journalism School/Tow Center for Digital Journalism) New York, Columbia University Press
Hesmondhalgh, D. (2013) The Cultural Industries, 3rd 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, 2nd Edition. London: Sage
Sullivan, J. L. (2013) Media Audiences, Effects, Users, Institutions and Power, Los Angeles/London: Sage

Media, Culture and Society
Columbia Journalism Review
Journal of Communication
International Journal of Communication


Electronic Databases:
Communication and Mass Media Complete