Module Catalogue 2022/23

MCH8054 : Researching Media, Journalism and Communications

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Bethany Usher
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The module introduces students to a range of methodologies and techniques of data gathering that are central to researching media, journalism, culture and society. It facilitates learning in generating and analysing research data and specific forms of quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Students explore foundations of epistemology, methodology and techniques of information gathering and analysis. They scrutinise key debates about research methods in media, journalism and communications. Students also engage with the practical components of conducting research to gain an understanding of key aspects of the politics and ethical issues concerning research and in order to enhance the skills needed for dissertation.

The aim of this module is to provide students with:

A thorough understanding of the principal media, communication and sociological research methods used in the study of media, journalism, communications, culture and society;
A comprehensive understanding of how these research methods operate in practice;
The techniques and skills required to propose a major research dissertation;
Knowledge of the principal ways of generating research data and specific forms of qualitative analysis;
An understanding of the retrieval of information, location of evidence, analysis, interpretation and synthesis of materials, critical thought and evaluation, questioning of assumptions and relationships between theory and practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics addressed respond to contemporary research in journalism, media, culture and communication. They may include the following:

Integrated approaches to research methodology and cultural fields;
Quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis;
Interviews, ethnography, standpoint epistemology;
Mixed and transmethodology case studies;
Textual and content analysis;
Researching media institutions;
Researching journalism and communication technologies, production and purposes;
Image analysis;
Networked and digital sphere analyses;
Cross-cultural and transnational media research;
Ethics and ethical positions;
Dissertation proposal and preparation.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, student should have acquired:
A3. An understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data and information dissemination for media, communication and journalism;
A5. An advanced understanding and knowledge of the ethical responsibilities of media and journalism research;
B1. Effective problem solving strategies and high-level analytical and planning processes in order to begin the process of the dissertation;
B2. The capacity to define and formulate research problems, questions and hypotheses leading towards the dissertation;
B5. The analytical and critical skills needed to assess and conduct current research and engage in advanced analysis;
B6. The ability to critically analyse key theoretical and practical concerns of research;
B7. The ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data and to extract information from relevant data sources for the purposes of media, journalism and communications research.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should have mastered:
C4. A sophisticated use of methods of evaluating a range of sources, texts and practices using theoretical frameworks that pertain to media, journalism, communication and cultural studies;
D1. The skills to communicate and present research findings effectively to specialist audiences;
D2. The skills of effective written and multimedia communication in relation to research methods;
D3. The capacity to manage research effectively, including planning, implementing and producing reports, assignments, and research projects on time;
D5. The skills to work effectively, both independently and as member of teams in an academic context.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present-in-person lecture. Can be moved online if needed.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Non-synchronous lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:00Multimedia presentation and dissertation proposal
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Present-in-person seminars. Can be moved online if needed.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study971:0097:00Interactive learning materials, documentaries, journalism and readings related to module learning
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time51:005:00Online seminar activity
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The present-in-person and non-synchronous lecture materials work together to convey knowledge about major research methods for the study of the media, journalism and communications, with particular focus on the relationship between theory, methodologies and methods.

Present-in-person and online seminars consolidate learning and provide students with the context for developing their research skills. Students learn how to apply these skills to different media, journalism and communication contexts.

The assessment strategy allows students to enhance skills needed to conduct a research dissertation in journalism, media and communications.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M30Group multimedia non-synchronous presentation
Research proposal1M702500-word research proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment 1 (30%) (A3; B5; B7; D1; C4; D3; D5)

A multimedia presentation including video, text, images as appropriate and peer review document (weights by representing up to 10% of the mark for this assessment)

Additional task-specific assessment criteria are as follows:

Evidence of a theoretically and analytically rigorous definition of the topic, informed by engagement with and understanding of appropriate primary and secondary research.

Demonstration of how the chosen research methods facilitate meaningful studies of media, journalism, culture and society.

Analysis of research methods in order to make meaningful conclusions about its strengths and weaknesses for studying media, journalism and communications.

Coherence and structure of the presentation and critical analysis, including appropriate academic tone at postgraduate level and effective display of examples and analysis.

Assessment 2: Dissertation Proposal (A3; A5; B1; B2; B6; C4; D2; D3)

Students produce a 2,500-word research plan in relation their proposed dissertation. This should include clearly articulated research question or questions, a theoretical framework, a proposed methodology, ethical considerations and a working bibliography.

Additional task-specific assessment criteria are as follows:

Methodological quality of the approach and design of proposed dissertation including how it aligns to the methodologies taught on the module and the ethical implications of the project.

Theoretical and research context and framework drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources.

Effective use of research context and theoretical framework to inform the production of clear and answerable research questions.

Coherence, structure and planning of the proposal including appropriate academic tone for postgraduate research and clear, correct referencing.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.