Media and Communications Research

Subject MECM20001 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3
Total Time Commitment: 102


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 100-204 Media and Communications Research
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr David Nolan


David Nolan
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.


Students completing this subject will:

  • 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). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
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 potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students successfully completing this subject will:

  • 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 also 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 and Communications)
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications) & Bachelor of Commerce
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Media and Communications
Media and Communications
Media and Communications

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