Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 15 x 2 hours presentations within seminars
Practical 5 x 2 hours (design & rehearse as a group a particular method of research)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word critical analysis of selected empirical research  33%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word evaluation of research practice  33%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word research project/dissertation proposal  34%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. understand the central principles, and key achievements, of the audience and reception studies traditions, and explore specific pieces of research in detail for the ways in which they relate to these, evaluating their strengths and limitations;
2. carry out and evaluate specific research practices, measuring their own practices against a critical literature;
3 conceive and design a piece of research within audience and reception studies, proposing an appropriately framed research question and coupling this with achievable methods of research.


The aim of the module is to provide a rich, advanced grounding to students in the questions, methods and achievements of the twin traditions of audience and reception studies, as they have emerged over the past 25 years from within the broad remit of cultural studies. The module is designed across two semesters particularly in order to enable students to combine critical examination of sources and overviews with rehearsals of a number of the methods, in order to gain experience of each and to understand their respective strengths and limitations. The forms of assessment for the module also enable it to act as specific preparation for the MA Dissertation.

Brief description

The module combines encounters with a considerable number of specific pieces of research within audience and reception studies, spanning a range of media and cultural practices (including film and television, books and other forms of reading, and theatre and performance), and examinations of the range of methods typically used by researchers (observation, interview, focus group, questionnaire, reception sampling) and kinds of analysis used (focusing on methods of analysis of forms of audience talk ), with rehearsals (usually conducted as groups) which can be subsequently critically evaluated


The module will be taught through a basis of two-hour seminar sessions across the year (punctuated by occasional short lecture-presentations). On particular weeks, students will work in groups, typically, to carry out a piece of research practice (for instance, organizing and conducting a focus group, returning the following week to a discussion of the strengths and limitations of their own practices, considered in relation to the critical literature.
Typical sessions might be:
1. What are audience and reception studies?
2. Comparing Elizabeth Long, Janice Radway and Jenny Hartley on 'reading groups'
3. Key Concepts (1): "Identity and Memory"
4. Practice Week: Conducting a Focus Group
5. Reviewing the Focus Group Practice
6. Key Concepts (2): "Interpretive Communities"
7. Designing and Using Questionnaires
8. Practice Week: Designing and Using a Questionnaire
9. Reviewing the Questionnaire Practice
10. Reception studies: looking at Staiger, Klinger et al
11. Practice Week: Doing reception studies
12. Reviewing the Reception Studies Practice
13. The concept of the 'live audience'
14. Practice Week: Conducting observations
15. Reviewing Observation Practice
16. Key concepts (3): discourse analysis and 'talk'
17. Practice week: Doing Discourse Analysis.
18. Alternatives to 'talk' - new creative methods
19. Fact, Fiction and Modality in audience research
20. Audience Research, its Ethics and Politics

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication The is developed through a range of coursework where effective communication is crucial
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will constantly be encouraged to think critically about their own development and progress in the module
Information Technology This is developed through the use of electronic information sources and use of data analysis software (depending on the nature of the topic)
Problem solving This is developed through students¿ questioning of appropriate methodologies and problematizing the nature of research
Research skills This is developed through students¿ own investigations and in preparation for the dissertation
Subject Specific Skills General ability to link understanding of concepts and methods within audience and reception studies
Team work This is developed through seminar work and coursework

Reading List

General Text
(2001 (Various p) Discourse as data :a guide for analysis /[edited by] Margaret Wetherell, Stephanie Taylor and Simeon Yates. SAGE in association with the Open University Primo search (2003.) Researching audiences /Kim Schr der ... [et al.] Arnold Primo search (2004.) Social research methods :a reader /Edited by Clive Seale. Routledge (c2008.) Watching the Lord of the rings :Tolkien's world audiences /Martin Barker & Ernest Mathijs, editors. P. Lang Primo search (1992.) Women viewing violence /Philip Schlesinger ... [et al.]. British Film Institute Primo search Ang, Ien. (1996.) Living room wars :rethinking media audiences for a postmodern world /Ien Ang. Routledge Primo search Blackadder, Neil Martin (2003.) Performing opposition :modern theater and the scandalized audience /Neil Blackadder. Praeger Primo search Buckingham, D (1983) Reading Audiences: Young People and the Media, Manchester University Press Primo search Hartley, Jenny. (2001.) Reading groups /Jenny Hartley ; a survey conducted in association with Sarah Turvey ; illustrations by Ros Asquith. Oxford University Press Primo search Hills, Matt (2002.) Fan cultures /[by] Matt Hills. Routledge Primo search Kuhn, Annette. (2002.) An everyday magic :cinema and cultural memory /Annette Kuhn. I. B. Tauris Primo search McConachie, B (2009) Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating in the Theatre Palgrave Macmillan Primo search Mikkelsen, Nina. (c2005.) Powerful magiclearning from children's responses to fantasy literature /Nina Mikkelsen ; foreword by Laurence Yep. Teachers College Press Morgan, David L. (c1997.) Focus groups as qualitative research / David L. Morgan. 2nd ed. Sage Publications Primo search Radway, Janice A. (1987, c1984.) Reading the romance :women, patriarchy and popular literature /Janice A. Radway. Verso Primo search Ruddock, Andy (Dec. 2000) Understanding Audiences:Theory and Method SAGE Publications, Incorporated Primo search Schlesinger, Philip (1998.) Men viewing violence /Philip Schlesinger ... [et al.]. Broadcasting Standards Commission Primo search Schrøder, Kim Christian (1994) Media, Culture & Society Audience semiotics, interpretive communities and the ¿ethnographic turn¿ in media research¿ 16:2, pp.337-47 Primo search Stacey, Jackie. (1994.) Star-gazing :Hollywood cinema and female spectatorship /Jackie Stacey. Routledge Primo search Staiger, Janet. (c2005.) Media reception studies /Janet Staiger. New York University Press Wetherell, Margaret (2001 (2005 prin) Discourse theory and practice :a reader /Margaret Wetherell, Stephanie Taylor and Simeon J. Yates. SAGE in association with the Open University Primo search Boughtwood, D (2005.) Participations: on-line Journal Desiring to the thin: interrogating the media¿s relationship to eating disorders through audience research 3 Primo search Harper, S and Porter, V. (1996) Screen Moved to tears: weeping in the cinema in postwar Britain 37:2 pp. 152-73 Primo search Pursehouse, M (1991) Cultural Studies from Birmingham Looking at The Sun: into the nineties with a tabloid and its readers 1, pp. 88-133 Primo search Smith, C (2002) Journal of Mundane Behavior They're ordinary people, not aliens from the planet sex!: the mundane excitements of pornography for women 3:1,


This module is at CQFW Level 7