Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 15 x 2-hour seminars (which may occasionally incorporate lectures) and a tuturial with each student enrolled
Other Film screenings linked to content


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Essay on a particular research tradition  (4000 words)  60%
Semester Assessment Dissertation proposal (3000 words)  40%
Supplementary Assessment In the event of failure on the first assignment, a student will be required to resubmit the essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment In the event of failure on the second assignment, a student will be required to resubmit the proposal  40%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Critically evaluate, compare and demonstrate understanding of the different theoretical traditions within film studies;
2. Make connections between theoretical approaches and methods within film studies;
3. Formulate research questions and think about the appropriate theories and methodologies to draw on to enable effective, focused and productive research;
4. Understand the primary requirements for putting together and writing a dissertation.


  • To introduce students, at an advanced level, to a range of critical and conceptual approaches to the academic study of film.
  • To investigate and evaluate different practical methods by which students can themselves undertake independent research.

Brief description

THis course will examine advanced approaches to the study of film and outline practical ways that students may undertake their own, independent research. It will thus stress particular traditions within film studies, including the critical analysis of different approaches that have proven influential within historical moments, and then go on to introduce students to broad types of research methodologies. It will encourage students to critically evaluate these ways of analyzing film and to think about what particular approaches they need to adopt for their independent dissertation, which the course will increasingly focus upon as it progresses.


Possible topics include:

  • Humanist approaches to film
  • Structuralism and post-structuralism
  • Screen theory and its legacy
  • Cognitivism
  • The 'empirical' turn within recent film studies
  • The historical study of film
  • Audience and reception studies
The course will also provide sessions on how best to make use of information resources both within the University and at the National Library of Wales, and individual consultations with students regarding their dissertation proposal.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to discussions and relate their own research progress orally in seminar gropus, as well as present their dissertation plans orally.
Improving own Learning and Performance Throughout the module, students willl be asked to critically reflect on their own readings/viewings, as well as how their own research is progressing.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use the web and the numerous e-learning resources within the library throughout the course. As at undergraduate level, students are expected to submit all written assignments in typescript.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop research skills, presentation skills, engage in group work, and develop their writing skills. These attributes will feed into their development as individual 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' questioning how (i.e what are the appropriate methodologies) to access the kinds of research questions appropriate to their chosen topic. By problematizing the perception of what constitutes 'good research', the students will have to think differently about their dissertations, and how they are going to achieve this.
Research skills This element is developed in two ways: through students' own investigations into existing materials; and through a particular focus on preparation for doing their own dissertations.
Team work Although group work is not directly assessed, it is intended that students work together in seminars in order to make the best possible use of these sessions. To aid group activity, the module co-ordinator also encourages students to utilise the blackboard environment, specifically the message board, to discuss issues beyond those covered in lectures or seminars.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Anderson, J. and M. Poole (1998) Assignment and Thesis Writing John Wiley Primo search Berry, R. (2000) The Research Project: How to Write It Routledge Primo search Bordwell, D. and N. Carroll (eds) (1996) Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies University of Wisconsin Press Primo search Braudy, L. and M. Cohen (eds.) (2004) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings Oxford University Press Primo search Chapman, J., M. Glancy and S. Harper (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 W. Buckland (2002) Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis Arnold Primo search Grieveson, L. and H. Wasson (eds.) (2008) Inventing Film Studies Duke University Press Primo search Hollows, J. and M. Jancovich (eds.) (1995) Approaches to Popular Film Manchester University Press Primo search Jensen, K.B. and N. Janowski (eds.) (1991) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research Routledge Primo search Lapsley, R. and M. Westlake (2006) Film Theory: An Introduction Manchester University Press Primo search Miller, T. and R. Stam (eds.) (1999) A Companion to Film Theory Blackwell Primo search Miller, T. and R. Stam (eds.) (2000) Film Theory: An Anthology Blackwell Primo search Staiger, J. (2005) Media Reception Studies New York University Press Primo search Stokes, J. (2003) How to do Media and Cultural Studies Sage Primo search Street, S. (2000) British Cinema in Documents Routledge Primo search Turabian, K. (1996) A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations University of Chicago Press Primo search Waretnberg, T.E. and A. Curran (eds.) (2005) The Philosophy of Film: Introductory Texts and Readings Blackwell Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7