Researching Audiences and Reception

Subject MECM40003 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.


Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in media and communication, or the Master of Global Media Communication.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


Assoc Prof Ingrid Volkmer


Ingrid Volkmer

Subject Overview:

This subject examines diverse understandings of audiences and introduces research approaches to investigating audience practices and patterns of consumption in a changing media landscape. It provides a detailed understanding of the different ways in which questions of media impact and audience power have been theorised, conceptualised and examined across the history of media research. Students will be encouraged to deepen their understanding of contemporary audience research methodologies from both administrative and critical points of views and to develop critical evaluation skills deployed in relation to these. Approaches examined will include early media effects studies rooted in the behavioural paradigm, and sociological studies of public beliefs and opinion formation, as well as political economy of globalisation and its (re)construction of audiences and approaches inspired by cultural studies that explore audiences as culturally situated and as active sense makers. Students will consider different audiences, media and genres across the course and engage in focused study of selected audiences and processes of reception.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • be able to demonstrate high level of understanding of key studies and major theoretical frameworks deployed in the analysis of media audiences and processes of reception;
  • be able to identify how changing frameworks of analysis and conceptualisation of 'audiences' prompt different questions and forms of analysis deployed in both industrial and academic research and how these have changed over time; and
  • be able to critically evaluate research-based studies of audiences that are inspired by different theoretical frameworks and approaches.

A written audience research proposal of 1000 words 25% (due mid-semester), a 15 minute oral presentation of audience research proposal 15% (due mid-semester), a written audience research report of 4000 words 60% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to understand diverse forms of cultural practices and interactions in relation to historical and social context;
  • be able to demonstrate skills in research and critical evaluation;
  • be able to present ideas in both verbal and written form and in conformity to conventions of academic presentation; and
  • be able to apply effective cross-cultural communication skills in group discussions and everyday interactions.
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Communications (Advanced)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Editing and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Global Media Communication
150 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Publishing and Communications
150 point Master of Marketing Communications
200 Point Master of Global Media Communication
200 Point Master of Journalism
200 Point Master of Publishing and Communications
200 point Master of Marketing Communications
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Media and Communications
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Media and Communications
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Cultural Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Media and Communications
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Media and Communications
Media and Communications
PC-ARTS Media and Communications

Download PDF version.