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MCH3072 : Journalism and Media Research Dissertation

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Haywood
  • Other Staff: Dr Gareth Longstaff, Miss Fiona Hartley, Miss Louise Cowan
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 20.0


To enable students to undertake primary research in the area of media, communication and cultural studies.

To facilitate the development and demonstration of knowledge, understanding and techniques necessary to research independently and in-depth.

To provide students with the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of written work that satisfies the requirements of the programme's marking criteria.

This research project provides the student with direct experience of the research process including the formulation, development and completion of an extensive piece of independent work. For this module students are asked to focus on a particular area of Media, Communication and Culture. They should draw upon their previous engagement with these areas over the course of their degree to help them consider and formulate research questions. As the research project is a piece of independent work, the content will vary from student to student; however, the following requirements apply in the choice of all topics:
- Students should consider carefully which area of study is primarily to inform their research question and approach (media studies, communication studies, cultural studies).
- The chosen research topic must be feasible (in terms of available sources), lend itself to investigation at an appropriate level for final-year work, and relate to the chosen courses of study on the programme and/or staff research interests.
- The project may will be an empirically based piece of work. Empirical research may cover but is not limited to content analysis, case studies, interviews, observations, online data collection, netnography, focus groups and statistical analysis.
- All research must be accompanied by an approved ethics form.
- All topics must be discussed in advance with a relevant member of staff and formally approved before research begins.

There are two forms of assessment on this module:
1. Preliminary submission of the literature review chapter. This contributes to 15% of the overall mark.
2. A dissertation. This contributes 85% to the overall mark.

Outline Of Syllabus

Semester One
May usually include, but is not limited to, an introduction to the module, writing literature reviews, advanced library skills, careers, good academic practice, ethical issues, writing a methodology, doing an analysis chapter.

Semester Two
Introduction to Semester Two and Submitting the Dissertation.

The module may include sessions that address the specific needs of the cohort. These will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion185:0085:00Preparation time for the ethics form, the literature review and the dissertation.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Non-synchronous online lecture replacement materials
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1264:00264:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Present-in-person 1-hour group sessions on campus with module leaders (online if necessary)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery162:0032:00Drop-in to consult with module leaders.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision21:002:00Synchronous online sessions with supervisor
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision21:002:00Present-in-person 1-hour sessions on campus with a supervisor (Can take place online if necessary).
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module involves different styles of teaching and learning at targeted stages of the research project. At the start of the module based on the research proposal completed in MCH2069 Research Methods, students will be allocated a supervisor. This supervisor will at various times in semester one meet with the student both formally and informally to provide support, advice and specialist research knowledge. At the same time in the first semester, practical information about writing an abstract and selecting keywords, accessing information and its management, making contact with those involved in the research fieldwork, ethical reflection etc. will be delivered through online lecture replacement materials, online practical sessions and group learning. Each week adopts the most appropriate format to address the particular needs of the students. For example, in the first session, students will be walked, in person, through the module handbook. There will also be online support to follow up any issues from the synchronous and non-synchronous sessions. As students progress in their research work, more informal supervision support becomes predominant. In semester two, the students will have a maximum of one timetabled supervision session and a maximum of three research support sessions across the semester. These feedback and support sessions will usually involve the reading and feedback of chapter drafts

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M20200-word abstract and six keywords and Literature Review of 2000 words
Dissertation2A80Dissertation, 8000 - 1000 words
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
ReportACompleted ethics form
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is designed to support and acknowledge the work that the student undertakes across two semesters. In the first semester students will provide a formal literature review of the research project. This will assess the progress of the research and the rationale and explanation of this progress. This includes how the student is negotiating their research design, the stage of the primary research and the issues that they are engaging with in the literature review. In Semester One students are required to complete the ethics form as part of their assessment. This is a pass / fail assessment.

The main part of the assessment is a dissertation. This provides students with the opportunity to engage with their research question, understand the importance of their primary research and to critically review existing literature in the field. It also enables students to understand and be familiar with the generation of research results as well as recognising the importance of analysing findings. In Semester Two, students are supported by their supervisors to conduct the remainder of their research and writing on their dissertations. Alongside one scheduled supervision in Semester Two, students are entitled to a maximum of three in-depth consultations with their supervisors. These in-depth consultations should normally focus on writing the dissertation chapters.

Overall the dissertation will enable assessment of the student's ability to collect and interrogate data, the extent to which they manage ethical dimensions of researching communication and their knowledge and understanding of methodological/theoretical literature.

Reading Lists