module specification

MC6092 - Communication Theory (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Communication Theory
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
105 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seen Examination 100%   2 hour seen exam
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Friday Morning

Module summary

The module will consider a range of methods for evaluating communication and consider the theories of the main authorities in the field. The module will consider what is meant by “communication” and why a study of the subject is especially important for communication professionals.

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. 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. Current affairs will be a key feature in the module to illustrate the application of various theories and concepts

The module aims to assist in the building of the following specific skills:
• Critical thinking and writing
• Academic reading & academic writing and literacy
• Researching
• Analysing data & problem solving
• Commercial Awareness


Communication Models   LO1
Communication Models – Application & criticism

Researching communication
Researching audiences –Critical issues in shifts in media consumption and channels and measurements
Researching communication analysing media content.  Content Analysis

Codes, Signs and Public Communications
Cultural analysis

Rhetorical analysis

Public communications- Campaign domains. Social marketing, Communication-persuasion matrix,

Cyber communication & virtual communication theories

News sources & changing dynamics – False news, democratisation of news & the web PR & motives.

News management techniques – Absorption, News encounter critical perspectives on news values

Propaganda and persuasion    LO2
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   LO2
The Media and the Public Sphere
Habermann & public sphere
public opinion

Media Ethics
Critical approaches to ethics. Challenges and ethical considerations for communications & professionalism

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be delivered over a 12 week period and consists of 1 hour lecture and 2 hours seminars each week.   The lectures will focus on key theories, concepts models and frame works of communication.

The seminars will be a 2 hour student interactive learning session and will adopt a blended learning approach with content on web learn to be used for the interactive sessions. Students will be provided in advance the material to be covered in the seminar sessions are expected to prepare for the interactive sessions. The sessions will cover critical discussions, debates, journals and problem solving analysis to build on contemporary communication issues covered in the taught element of the lectures. The aim of this approach  is to

• Assist in relating their knowledge to the marketing discipline and PR profession
• Apply understanding of technical skills required for  critical discussion and analysis

Students will need to consider these aspect of the module as part of their personal development.
The facilities of Web Learn will be used as part of the central to the delivery of module handbook, case studies, journal articles, and external web links learning. In particular students will be encouraged to use the leading portals.
Students will be given an opportunity and be show  draft  practice mock questions to their tutors for comments and formative feedback during seminars Weekly drop-ins will be provided by the tutor in office hours

Learning outcomes

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

LO1.  Critically appraise and evaluate academic perspectives of communication

LO2.  Evaluate current applied communiocation

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy consists of one component, which aims to assess the module’s learning outcomes. This assessment requires students to critically appraise and apply the knowledge gained during the module.

Students will be required to engage in 2 hour seen exam (100%)
The exam will be underpinned by communication theory. Students will be required to research the exam topics and provide contemporary examples to illustrate their critical discussion.



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 some chapters will be made available on web learn. Core weekly reading will be supplied at the beginning of teaching

Essential reading

McQuail D. Deuze M.  (2020 ) Media and Mass Communication Theory sage publishing  Seventh Edition
Bainbridge J.  Goc N., and Tynan E. (2015) Media and Journalism 3e:New
Approaches to Theory and Practice oxford Press Third Edition
Berger A. (2016 ) Media and Communication Research Methods An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Fourth Edition Sage
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.
Fiske, J. (2011). Introduction to Communication Studies   (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Habermas, J., (1979) ‘The public sphere’ in A. Mattelart & S. Siegelaub, eds., Communication and Class Struggle pp.198-201
Hansen R. (2016) Mass Communication: Living in a Media World Sage Publications
Jones P. Holmes D. (2012) Key Concepts in Media and Communications Sage Publications
Jowett G. O’Donnell( 2006) Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion New and Classic Essays Sage Publications
Manning, P., 2001. News and news sources: a critical introduction. Sage, London
Moloney, K., 2006. Rethinking public relations: PR propaganda and democracy, 2nd ed. ed. Routledge, London.
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.
O'Shaughnessy M., Stadler J., Casey S. (2016) Media & Society 6th Edition
Oxford University Press
Palmer, J., 2000. Spinning into control: news values and source strategies, Studies in communication and society. Leicester University Press, London
Parsons P. (2016) Ethics in Public Relations A Guide to Best Practice Kogan page
Stevenson N. (2014) Understanding Media Cultures Social Theory and Mass Communication, Second Edition London: Sage Publications.
Severin W. Tankard J. (2014) Communication Theories origins methods and uses in mass media  6th Edition Pearsons 
Ott B. Mack (2014) Critical Media studies Wiley Blackwell
Watson J. (2016) Media Communication : an Introduction to Theory and Process  4th Edition Palgrave Macmillan
Windhal S.( 2009) Using communication theory Sage publications 

Academic Journals
Mass communication & society
Media Culture & Society
Journalism Quarterly
Journalism Studies
Journalism Practice
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
Journalism Studies
Journalism Practice
Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising Research
European Journal of Communication
Journal Marking Communications
Current & daily Newspapers

Electronic Databases:
Library-Lexis  News data base