Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Behind the Headlines
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word Headline Briefing Paper  25%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word Headline Briefing Paper  OR two (2) Opinion Articles (750 words each)  25%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Reflective Journal  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word Headline Briefing Paper  25%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word Headline Briefing Paper  OR two (2) Opinion Articles (750 words each)  25%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Reflective Journal  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Identify and explain the international political implications of recent world events as reported in the media.
2. Demonstrate empirical knowledge of a range of emerging and/or recurring issues of relevance to international politics.
3. Identify and explain the strengths and weaknesses, in terms of content and logic, of media reports and opinion articles.
4. Analyze and critique the assumptions underpinning reports and opinions appearing in the media.
5. Evaluate and generate ideas for improving the way in which world events are reported and analyzed in different media.

Brief description

This module provides an opportunity to reflect critically upon developments in international politics in real time. The curriculum is unique because it is necessarily determined by world events as reported in the media. The focus is on news and opinions that appear from week to week during the course of the semester, and students develop their skills as researchers, critical thinkers, presenters and writers while becoming more media-aware. Lectures demonstrate the ways in which a variety of academic researchers and public intellectuals respond to world events, and in-depth workshops support the development of skills to be assessed in the module.


As the module's content will be determined by the news agenda of that particular week, the list teaching programme below does not specify content. However, an indication of module delivery is as follows

1 Introduction
2 Interpol lecturer
3 Interpol lecturer
4 Critical thinking skills
5 Interpol lecturer
6 Interpol lecturer
7 External lecturer
8 Interpol lecturer
9 Interpol lecturer
10 External lecturer
11 Interpol lecturer
12 Interpol lecturer
13 External lecturer
14 Interpol lecturer
15 Reflections


This module introduces to the teaching program of the Department a real-time experience of the relationship between world events, media reporting, and the academic study of international politics. The module draws on a variety of perspectives from within and beyond the Department of International Politics, as unfolding media content is critically assessed by experts in journalism studies, international relations theory, global governance, global ethics, international political economy, diplomacy and foreign policy, intelligence studies, security studies, and military history. In workshops and in completing assessment tasks, students have wide scope to select and engage with issues of their choosing. Learning activities are designed to encourage intellectual autonomy, and the overall aim of the module is to train and encourage students of politics to engage regularly and critically with the media.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the module convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format, via the on-line platform Blackboard. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of a range of study skills assessments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and formulate an answer to the problem; reason logically; construct theoretical arguments; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, especially current media sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Critically evaluate competing perspectives
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 4