Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of Part 1 in Film and Television Studies

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Lecture/Workshop 1 x 3 hour per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay of 2,500 words  40%
Semester Exam Examination, 2 questions in 2 hours  60%
Supplementary Assessment Resits of assignments, when necessary, will follow the same structure but be on a different topic/creative structure  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a knowledge of a range of key documentary texts

2. Engage critically with the main theories in academic literature surrounding the documentary genre

3. Communicate their understanding and knowledge of documentary-related material effectively


(10 x 3 hour lecture viewings)

The following is the indicative content for the module. Some of the titles may vary.

1. Introduction: Analysing Documentary
2. Michael Moore: Performing the Real
3. Paul Watson: Documentary Ethics and Intervening in the Real World
4. Norma Percy: Accessing the Real Players
Viewing List: 'The Death of Yugoslavia' (2001), 'Endgame in Ireland' (2002)
5. Errol Morris - The Interrotron and Other Stories
Viewing List: 'The Thin Blue Line' (1988), 'Dr Death' (1999), 'The Fog of War' (2003)
6. Molly Dineen - The Gentle Touch
7. Adam Curtis - Serious Programming
8. Penny Woolcock - Improvised Drama

Brief description

Each week, by using a case study of a recent and well-known documentary maker and one of their main films, the module introduces students to the documentary in many of its guises. The weekly session will consist of a lecture/seminar, and students will also be expected to prepare for sessions by means of an extensive 'viewing list'.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication * Students' written communication skills will be developed (e.g. appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). * Opportunities will be given, through interactive lecture-workshop sessions, for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. * Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. * Students will develop their critical thinking skills. * Through group and whole class discussion students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology * Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning and preparing for the written assignments, and will be encouraged to develop their note-taking skills in lectures. * Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and AU LIS. * Students will develop their skills when referencing from the web and related sources, and will focus on the selection of materials appropriate to task. * E-mail and Blackboard will be the main forms of communication and information-sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in these processes.
Personal Development and Career planning * Students will be given the opportunity to evaluate current knowledge and skills and set targets for self-improvement. * Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning. * Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures through developing skills in self study (supported by the general and specific reading lists and other resources distributed throughout the module). * Students will gain important industrial knowledge, which would be invaluable if they seek a vocational entry into documentary production.
Problem solving * Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field, and will be encouraged to critically reflect. * Students should gain experience in applying different approaches and materials to understand texts and their contexts.
Research skills * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. * Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. * Students will be encouraged to evaluate, interpret and reflect upon a variety of sources, and to make links to accomodate new ideas.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work * Most sessions will involve group work where students will be able to collaborate through discussion.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Aitken (2000) Breaking the Boundaries: From Grierson to the Docusoap University of Luton Press Primo search Barker (2005) Documentary in the Digital Age Focal Press Primo search Barnouw (1993) Documentary: A History of the Non-fiction Film Oxford University Press Primo search Bruzzi (2006) New Documentary: A Critical Introduction (2nd ed) Primo search Dovey (2000) Freakshow Pluto Press Primo search Goldsmith (2003) The Documentary Makers: Interviews with 15 of the Best in the Business Rotovision Primo search Grant & Sloniowsky (1998) Documenting the Documentary Wayne State University Press Primo search Hogarth (2006) Realer than Reel University of Texas Press Primo search Nichols (2001) Introduction to Documentary Indiana University Press Primo search Nichols (1991) Representing Reality Indiana University Press Primo search Renov (2004) The Subject of Documentary University of Minnesota Press Primo search Renov (1993) Theorising Documentary Routledge Primo search Renov (1993) Theorizing Documentary Routledge Primo search Roscoe & Hight (2002) Faking It: Mockumentary and the Subversion of Factuality Manchester University Press Primo search Ward (2006) Documentary: The Margins of Reality Wallflower Press Primo search Winston (1995) Claiming the Real BFI Primo search Winston (2002) Lies, Damn Lies and Documentaries BFI Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5