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MCH1025 : Introduction to Scholarly Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Shail
  • Lecturer: Dr Alastair Cole, Dr Majid Khosravinik, Dr Tina Sikka, Miss Louise Cowan, Dr David Bates
  • Other Staff: Miss Pauline Trotry, Mr Nicholas Jensen, Dr Nick Rush-Cooper
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module trains students in the principles and methods of the scholarly study of both the general field of human phenomena and the specific field of media and culture. It dispels widespread popular misconceptions about both the study of humans and the study of media and culture, and it demonstrates the many ways that scholarly rigour and precision can be used to produce knowledge in these fields.

The module introduces students to relevant taxonomies of media and cultural objects, processes and organisations, and to orthodox and unorthodox methods of gathering and analysing a variety of types of both quantitative and qualitative evidence from all of these phenomena. These phenomena include contemporary and historical media companies, markets and audiences as well as the ‘works themselves’.

The module also explores the forms of enquiry that scholars in the field conduct, and in so doing illuminates the significant variety of scholarly disciplines and methods that bear on the study of media and culture. The module places particular emphasis on mastering a spectrum of skills, from the minutely practical – e.g. producing a detailed description of a components of a given work, such as a scene in a film – to the loftily conceptual – e.g. identifying the position that any given work’s most buried subtext takes on the political compass.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is divided into two phases:
1. The principles of scholarly integrity, with teaching materials designed to equip students to work in the study of media and culture at university level. Topics include the methods of scholarly enquiry, formal logic and critical engagement with published scholarship.
2. Theories and methods suited for the analysis of phenomena in media and culture, with teaching materials designed to equip students to identify patterns, politics and ideologies in media/cultural ‘texts’.

Weekly required reading, required viewing and recorded lectures explore relevant models and ideas, or provide material for analysis. In seminars, students will delve further into those models and ideas, and practice applying them.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00Recorded lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Mid-module assessment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials11:001:00Library briefing
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00End-of-module assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00On-campus lectures (can be delivered non-synchronously online if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading114:0044:00Weekly required reading and/or viewing
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00On-campus seminars (can be delivered synchronously online if necessary)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Skills workshops using computer clusters
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study163:0063:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is delivered in just the first semester of stage 1 to provide students with an intensive grounding in knowledge and skills that will be fundamental across the rest of their degree programme, whatever that degree programme is. Lectures provide students with accounts and rationales of the principles and methods of good scholarly practice. In seminars and workshops students will develop their understanding of, and skills in applying, these methods. The library briefing complements this grounding in academic integrity by outlining an array of methods for finding primary and secondary resources.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M502000-word account of why a very flawed essay by a fictional student deserves a specific mark according to our criteria of assessment
Essay1A502000-word essay answering a question selected from a list provided by the module leader
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment 1 (the account of the reasons for a specific mark for a very flawed essay) requires students to employ the skills and knowledge of skeptical enquiry practised during phase 1 of the module in identifying the many ways that a piece of student work might be flawed if this skill and knowledge is not applied, using an essay by a fictional student (an example deliberately written, by the module leader, so as to be riddled with flaws). By requiring students to explain what mark this fictional student deserved for this essay and why, Assessment 1 also familiarises students with the criteria of assessment that will be used in marking their work throughout their degree. Assessment 2 (the 2,000-word essay) tests the skills and knowledge in the analysis of media and cultural works learned in phase 2 of the module.

Reading Lists