Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 15 x 2 hour presentations within seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. understand the central principles, and key achievements, of the audience and reception studies traditions, and explore specific pieces of research in detail for the ways in which they relate to these, evaluating their strengths and limitations;
2. carry out and evaluate specific research practices, measuring their own practices against a critical literature;
3 conceive and design a piece of research within audience and reception studies, proposing an appropriately framed research question and coupling this with achievable methods of research.


The aim of the module is to provide a rich, advanced grounding to students in the questions, methods and achievements of the twin traditions of audience and reception studies, as they have emerged over the past 25 years from within the broad remit of cultural studies. The module is designed across two semesters particularly in order to enable students to combine critical examination of sources and overviews with rehearsals of a number of the methods, in order to gain experience of each and to understand their respective strengths and limitations. The forms of assessment for the module also enable it to act as specific preparation for the MA Dissertation.

Brief description

The module combines encounters with a considerable number of specific pieces of research within audience and reception studies, spanning a range of media and cultural practices (including film and television, books and other forms of reading, and theatre and performance), and examinations of the range of methods typically used by researchers (observation, interview, focus group, questionnaire, reception sampling) and kinds of analysis used (focusing on methods of analysis of forms of audience talk ), with rehearsals (usually conducted as groups) which can be subsequently critically evaluated


The module will be taught through a basis of two-hour seminar sessions across the year (punctuated by occasional short lecture-presentations). On particular weeks, students will work in groups, typically, to carry out a piece of research practice (for instance, organizing and conducting a focus group, returning the following week to a discussion of the strengths and limitations of their own practices, considered in relation to the critical literature.
Typical sessions might be:
1. What are audience and reception studies?
2. Comparing Elizabeth Long, Janice Radway and Jenny Hartley on 'reading groups'
3. Key Concepts (1): "Identity and Memory"
4. Practice Week: Conducting a Focus Group
5. Reviewing the Focus Group Practice
6. Key Concepts (2): "Interpretive Communities"
7. Designing and Using Questionnaires
8. Practice Week: Designing and Using a Questionnaire
9. Reviewing the Questionnaire Practice
10. Reception studies: looking at Staiger, Klinger et al
11. Practice Week: Doing reception studies
12. Reviewing the Reception Studies Practice
13. The concept of the 'live audience'
14. Practice Week: Conducting observations
15. Reviewing Observation Practice
16. Key concepts (3): discourse analysis and 'talk'
17. Practice week: Doing Discourse Analysis.
18. Alternatives to 'talk' - new creative methods
19. Fact, Fiction and Modality in audience research
20. Audience Research, its Ethics and Politics

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication The is developed through a range of coursework where effective communication is crucial
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will constantly be encouraged to think critically about their own development and progress in the module
Information Technology This is developed through the use of electronic information sources and use of data analysis software (depending on the nature of the topic)
Problem solving This is developed through students' questioning of appropriate methodologies and problematizing the nature of research
Research skills This is developed through students¿ own investigations and in preparation for the dissertation
Subject Specific Skills General ability to link understanding of concepts and methods within audience and reception studies
Team work This is developed through seminar work and coursework


This module is at CQFW Level 7