Module Information

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

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 5,000 word essay  1 x 5,000 word critical essay  60%
Semester Assessment Participation in public forum  1 x Participation in public forum with subsequent evaluative commentary  40%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. engage in an informed and critical way in debates about contemporary research problems and projects, evaluating them in terms of the formulation of research questions, conceptualisation of tasks, and methods of research
2. make valuable connections between past traditions and procedures of research, and contemporary problems and tasks
3. participate in public fora of debate, on topics of live interest and importance
4. design a research proposal, taking note of the expectations of the appropriate Research Councils.


Indicative sessions might include:

  • Current issues around the Web as site of audience activity, as object of research, and as means of research.
  • Locating the state of current thinking and research: advanced bibliographic and other search procedures.
  • Parallel fields of development (this year using the Journal of Consumer Research in order to explore recent developments in the fields of consumer and marketing research).
  • New modes of thinking about audiences (in the first year, using the emergent debate about the relations between `audiences' and `publics' as its topic).
  • `Figures of the audience' within contemporary debates.
  • Researching sensitive topics: the Department's research on responses to filmed sexual violence for the British Board of Film Classification.
  • Carrying audience research into relatively undeveloped areas: areas addressed to be the result of consultation with students.
  • Audience research and current political policy: case studies chosen after consultation with students.


To provide an opportunity for students to engage in debate on current live issues concerning audiences and reception, in both academic and non-academic spheres.

To provide a space within which students are able to encounter and debate with audience research practitioners, from both academic and non-academic backgrounds.

To enable students to explore aspects of audience and reception studies not otherwise developed within the MA Audience + Reception Studies.

Brief description

The primary emphases of this module will be two-fold: (1) a focus on current and emerging issues and topics, and (2) a focus on the ways in which audience and reception studies can potentially make a contribution and a difference to those issues and topics. Because of this, the content will necessarily vary from year to year, as new topics, debates and possibilities are located, and as we seek to address the particular interests of the students taking the module and the MA.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Subject Specific Skills Potentially, a wide range of both generic and subject-specific skills will be developed, and in some cases directly tested, through this module. The generic will include advanced searching abilities and an address to the Internet as a locus and object of research. Subject-specific skills will include critical engagement with the specific contributions that can be made by audience and reception research, to contemporary cultural, political and policy debates

Reading List

Recommended Background
Barker, Martin, Jane Arthurs & Ramaswami Harindranath (2001) The Crash Controversy: Censorship Campaigns and Film Reception London: Wallflower Press Primo search Cumberbatch, Guy et al (1985) Television and the Miners? Strike London: Broadcasting Research Unit Primo search Kitzinger, Jenny (1999) A sociology of media power: key issues in media audience research?, in Greg Philo (ed), Message Received , London: Longman Primo search Kritzinger, J in Philo, G. (ed.) (1999) Mesage Received 'A Sociology of media power:key issues in media audience research' London:Longman Primo search Livingstone, S. (ed.) (2005) Audiences and Publics London:Intellect Primo search Morrison, David et al (1999) Defining Violence: the Search for Understanding Luton: University of Luton Press Primo search Philo, G. and Berry, M. (2004) Bad News form Israel London:Pluto Press Primo search Seiter, Ellen (1999) Television and New Media Audiences Oxford: Clarendon Press Primo search Vorderer,P. and Bryant, J (eds.) (2005) The Psychology of Entertainment NY:Lawrence Erlbaum Primo search Morley, D. and Barker, M. (2006) The Communication Review Debate on the State of Audience Research 9:2 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7