Media and Communications Research

Subject 100-204 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week , 5 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Completion of 25 points of core Media and Communications subjects and 25 points of optional Media and Communications subjects at first year level.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Sean Cubitt
Subject Overview: Research is a vital activity of media professionals and academics. This subject offers a critical introduction to the fundamental tools for research into media institutions, technologies, texts and audiences. Students will be introduced to the gathering and analysis of data; the principals of researching organisations; various tools for the analysis of audiovisual and verbal texts; the use of archives and databases; and techniques in audience research. they will also be introduced to the ethical and theoretical principles underpinning research methods. The subject will draw on expertise across social science and humanities approaches to media analysis, and will encourage critical awareness of the comparative strengths and weaknesses and appropriate selection of research methods. On completing the subject, students should be able to design and undertake a successful media research project. This subject is designed to introduce students to the major branches of media and communications theory at an intermediate level. It covers approaches drawn from both humanities and social sciences, including medium theory, textual analysis, political economy, and theories of the information society. Key topics include ideology and semiotics, narrative and genre analysis, audiences, media globalisation and new media. Students will be presented with a range of case studies engaging with representations of gender and sexuality, class, race and ethnicity, and will investigate the pressures that contribute to patterns of media stereotyping. Students completing this subject will gain a deeper understanding of the diverse forces shaping the contemporary mediascape, and of the different theoretical traditions underpinning various research methodologies in the field of media and communication.
  • be able to understand a variety of theoretical perspectives that are relevant to the study of media and communications;
  • be able to compare and contrast different approaches, recognising different theoretical concerns and emphases;
  • be able to apply theory in attempting to explain media and communications in the modern world.
Assessment: Reading report (1500 words ) 40% (due mid-semester), a research essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of semester). Students must complete all assignments by the due date and attend at least 80% of classes to be eligible for assessment. Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit 2-weeks after the final due date without an approved special consideration and formal extension will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Recommended Texts:
  • Media Resarch Methods: Audiences, Institutions, Texts (Bertrand, I & P Hughes (2005)) Palgrave, Basingstoke
  • Research Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods on Media and Cultural Analysis (Deacon, D, M Pickering, P Golding & G Murdoch (eds) (1998)) Arnold, London
  • Analyzing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research (Fairclough, N (2003)) Routledge, London
  • Mass Communication Research Methods (Hansen, A, S Cottle, R Negrine & C Newbold (1998)) Macmillan, Houndsmills
  • A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research (Jensen, K B & N W Jankowski (eds) (1991)) Routledge, London
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to demonstrate competence in reading relevant academic literature and in reflecting critically on that body of literature;
  • be able to demonstrate conformity to appropriate forms of written presentation in academic work;
  • be able to demonstrate a general awareness of the role of theory in understanding social life.
Notes: This subject is only available to students enrolled in the BA (Media and Communications), BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Commerce, and BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Laws. Formerly available as 100-204 Media and Communications Theory, students who have completed 100-204 Media and Communications Theory are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications) and Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communication) & Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Media and Communications

Download PDF version.