Module Identifier TFM0830  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor Martin J Barker  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay 1 x Critical Reflection on Practice, 2,500 words33%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay 1 x Developed Research proposal, 2,500 words34%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay 1 x Critical Review, 2,500 words33%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. understand and utilise a range of methods in the pursuit of grounded knowledge in understanding audiences and reception processes
2. evaluate different kinds of research for the security of their evidence, and the strengths and limitations of the methods used to acquire the evidence
3.   consider critically their implicit conceptualisations of their `object of research? and their ethical and political implications


Indicative sessions might include:
1. Revisiting what we know
2. Questions of method: Straw Dogs
3. Models of knowledge
4. Radway's Reading The Romance vs Hartley's Reading Groups
5. Asking questions / getting answers
6. Issues of interviewing
7. Practising interviewing
8. Reviewing practice
9. Designing a dissertation
10. Quantitative/qualitative
11. Quantitative research on `meaning'
12. Reception research
13. Historical reception research: sources and approaches
14. Historical reception research: Neil Blackadder'r work
15. Discourse analysis
16. 'Interpretive communities'
17. When is audience research `ethnographic'?
18. Debating the value of `ethnographic research'
19. Research ethics: why is our field `political'
20. Ethical principles for audience studies


to ground students in a range of methods used in the researching of audiences and reception, with particular emphasis on qualitative traditions to enable them to evaluate the strengths and limits of each of these methods, to appreciate the practical tasks they impose, to consider critically both their implied definitions of the `object of research' and the ethical and political issues they raise to lay the foundations necessary for the kinds of research that students may wish to undertake for their dissertations

Brief description

The module will explore issues of formulation of research questions, the grounding of these within traditions of research and theory, and effective modes of presentation of research findings. Students will encounter and evaluate a wide range of methods of research which have been utilised in the study of audiences and reception, most notably: observation; interviews; focus groups; content analysis; discourse analysis. A case study of a major research issue, for instance of the Disney Corporation, will be developed in order to highlight issues of sources of information, and applicable modes of research. Teaching and learning will be by a mixture of closely-investigated case-studies of published research, the consideration of cases of possible research (considering possible methods of investigation, associated issues of relations between investigators and research subjects, and ethical questions arising therefrom), and the carrying out of small research exercises subsequently discussed and evaluated.

Module Skills

Subject Specific Skills A considerable emphasis is placed in this module on combining ways of approaching and grasping methods of research: the close consideration of examples of the uses of methods; and the designing, conducting and evaluation of both processes and outcomes of their use. The module also gives experience of the division of labour and of collaboration in the conduct  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Background
Ang, Ien (1991) Desperately Seeking The Audience London: Routledge
Billig, Michael (1998) Talking of the Royal Family London: Routledge
Budd, Richard W., Robert K. Thorp & Lewis Donohew (1967) Content Analysis of Communications NY: Macmillan
Deacon, David et al (1998) Researching Communications London: Arnold
Fielden, Ned L (1998) Internet Research: theory and practice Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co
Mackay, Hugh et al (2001) Investigating the Information Society London: Routledge
Morgan, David L (1997) Focus Groups as Qualitative Research London: Sage
Ruddock, Andy (2000) Understanding Audiences London: Sage
Schroder, K et al (2003) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method, Pratice London:Arnold
Silverman, David (1998) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method, Practice London: Sage
Van Zoonen, Liesbet (1994) Feminist Media Studies London: Sage
Wasko, Janet (2001) Dazzled By Disney? Leicester: Leicester UP


This module is at CQFW Level 7