Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Research Methods in Film and Television Studies
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 8 x 2 hour seminars/lectures/workshops
Lecture 2 x 3 hour seminars/lectures/workshops
Seminars / Tutorials 3 x 1 hour group tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Essay on a Research Method (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Dissertation Proposal (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of Critical Essay on different topic  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of Dissertation Proposal on different topic  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Formulate research questions and identify the appropriate methodologies to draw on to enable effective, focused and productive research.
2. Understand the primary requirements for conceiving, researching and writing an MA dissertation.
3 Critically assess and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods within film and television studies.
4. To relate different research methods to key questions, topics and traditions of research within the fields of film and television studies and related fields of research.


The aim of this module is to provide an advanced grounding to students in the questions and methods related to research in film and television studies. Students will be introduced to a range of research methodologies, and will be encouraged to apply and test these methodologies on a range of primary materials in teaching sessions. Throughout the module, students will engage with critical writings on these methods and, through this, will identify key theoretical concepts that inform these methods and practical applications that derive from them. As a result, the module will encourage students to critically reflect on the strengths and applicability of different research methods and, through this, to identify the research questions and related methods that they will employ in their MA dissertations, on which the module will increasingly focus as it progresses. The forms of assessment on the module are designed to support this process, culminating in a research proposal for the MA dissertation.


Week 1: Introduction: What is Research? What is a Method? (co-delivered with TPM1420, 3 hour session)
Week 2: Textual Analysis 1: Semiotics
Week 3: Textual Analysis 2: Content Analysis
Week 4: Textual Analysis 3: Discourse Analysis
Week 5: Historical Research1: Gathering and Archives (co-delivered with TPM1420)
Week 6: Historical Research 2: Document Analysis (co-delivered with TPM1420)
Week 7: Empirical Research 1: Ethnography (co-delivered with TPM1420)
Week 8: Empirical Research 2: Interviews and Focus Groups (co-delivered with TPM1420)
Week 9: Empirical Research 3: Questionnaire Design
Week 10: Dissertation Proposal and Literature Review Session (co-delivered with TPM1420, 3 hour session)
Plus 3 one hour group tutorial sessions, focussing on the development of the research proposal.

Brief description

The module combines encounters with a range of key research methodologies within film and television studies (relating to forms of textual, historical and empirical research) with a focus (particularly in the co-delivered sessions with students on TPM1420) on what it means to conduct research, about wider questions of research and its practical demands, and about the relation of research to issues of disciplinarity and interdiscplinarity. The module will begin with a session which encourages students to think about the broad purposes of research methods both within and outside of film and television studies, and will end with a session where students will be asked to reflect on the purposes of a dissertation literature review and, in preparation for their second assignment, to put forward their initial dissertation proposal ideas. Throughout the module, students will be asked to return to and reflect on discussions about the purpose of research methods conducted in the first session (as they encounter and evaluate different research methodologies), and will also be given the space, in three one hour tutorial sessions, to discuss how their dissertation plans are progressing and how they are drawing on what they have learnt on the module in order to put these plans into action. Students will be encouraged to make use of research facilities available in Aberystwyth (in particular, the National Library of Wales and the e-learning resources available via the Hugh Owen Library) throughout the module.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions on different research methods, discuss their own research progress orally in groups, and also present their dissertation plans orally (in the last session on the module).
Improving own Learning and Performance Throughout the module, students will be asked to critically reflect on their own readings and preparatory research, as well as how their own dissertation plans are progressing. In addition, motivation, organization and time-management skills are developed throughout the module (particularly through the tutorial sessions) and are necessary for the successful completion of the module assignments.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use the web and the numerous e-learning resources within the library throughout the course.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop research skills, presentation skills, engage in group work, develop their writing skills and reflect on their learning and organizational skills. These attributes will feed into their development as effective researchers, which will be particularly suited for an academic career or a career within the field of media arts.
Problem solving This element is developed through students considering, throughout the module, what might be the appropriate methodologies to employ in order to research their dissertation topic and address their dissertation research question, and what might be the practical issues and demands associated with employing such methods. By problematizing the perception of what constitutes good and effective research, the students will have to think differently about their dissertations and the questions and issues they will need to tackle in order to plan and carry out their dissertation research.
Research skills This element is developed in three ways: one, through students' own investigations into existing critical materials on relevant research methods, two, through students applying relevant research methods to primary materials in teaching sessions, and, three, through the development of their plans for their dissertations.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Although group work isn’t formally assessed on the module, the module teaching sessions will encourage students to work together as a group, in order to share and negotiate ideas and opinions on methods and relevant readings and to reflect on and share ideas about their developing dissertation plans.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Chapman, J., Glancy, M. and Harper, S. (eds) (2007) The New Film History: Sources, Methods and Approaches Palgrave Macmillan Primo search Deacon, D. et al (1998) Researching Communications Arnold Primo search Elsaesser, T. and Buckland, W. (2002) Studying Contemporay American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis London: Arnold Primo search Kuhn, A. and Street, S. (eds) (1999) Audiences and Reception in Britain Flicks Books Primo search Lewis, J. and Smoodin, E. (eds) (2007) Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film history and Method Duke University Press Primo search Morgan, David L. (1997) Focus Groups as Qualitative Research Sage Primo search Schroder, K. et al (2003) Researching Audiences Arnold Primo search Staiger, J. (2005) Media Reception Studies New York University Press Primo search Stam, R., Burgoyne, R. and Flitterman-Lewis, S. (eds) (1992) New Vocabulaies in Film Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-structuralism and Beyond Routledge Primo search Street, S. (2000) British Cinema in Documents Routledge Primo search Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. and Yates, S. (eds) (2001) Discourse Theory and Practice: a Reader Open University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7