Core Module Information
Module title: Mass Communications Research Methods

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: JAC09126
Module leader: Pauline Miller Judd
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Humanities

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

Description of module content:

This module develops your understanding of mass communications research methods, building on knowledge you have developed in prior modules. You will develop your ability to investigate mass communications media as both cultural and social phenomena, within the broader frameworks of content and textual analyses, history, theory, anthropology, archives, and policy, amongst others, identifying and utilising a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. You will learn how to frame a question and determine the appropriate methodologies to begin to answer the question. You will also learn appropriate data collection methods and the means to analyse and organise this data, both in hard copy and including relevant software packages. Further, you will develop a deep and practical understanding of regulations and policies that shape research, such as research integrity and ethics, data protection (GDPR), informed consent, and intellectual property law.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Construct a research question for a mass communications research project
LO2: Determine appropriate research methodologies to address a mass communications research question and draw up a research plan
LO3: Examine the relationships between methodologies, including between qualitative and quantitative methodologies
LO4: Engage in appropriate research practices, including using appropriate technologies
LO5: Demonstrate awareness and cognisance of regulations and policies that shape mass communications research.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Pauline Miller Judd
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module uses seminar classes, screenings, audio-visual presentations, one-to-one tutorials, structured research projects, an oral presentation, computer software tutorials, and group discussion to provide a variety of independent and group learning activities. The VLE is used to present the syllabus, offer access to readings and other relevant resources, host students’ annotated bibliographies, and enable further discussion and collaboration outside of class hours. The required readings, students’ class preparations, and class debates draw out key concepts, theories, methodologies, and questions about mass communications research (LOs 1-3). The structure and delivery of the weekly syllabi demonstrates to students how the lecturer(s) develops and undertakes a research project, develops research questions, and establishes research programmes to answer research questions (LOs 1-3, 5). This process forms part of the weekly discussions. The class presentations allow students to initiate a research project and present their provisional research to the class (LOs 1-5). These presentations are followed by class discussions about the presentation to provide peer review. By contributing to these discussions on colleagues’ research, students help presenters see their presentations from another’s perspective, and also improve their knowledge of the subject area. This helps both presenters and the other students improve their abilities to define their research questions and methodological approaches (LOs 1, 2, and 5). Ultimately, this pedagogical approach helps students to recognise that research is not a solipsistic process and to learn how to work collaboratively and effectively on research projects.

Formative Assessment:
This module contains three approaches to formative exercises and feedback. First, you are expected to read required readings before the seminar class, discuss the works read, and ask questions about both these works and more broadly about the subject matter. These discussions are student-led, with the module leader moderating discussion and providing necessary clarification. Lecturing is kept to a minimum. These discussions provide immediate peer and lecturer feedback on your understandings of the subject matter. Second, the presentation, while formally assessed, includes opportunities for peer and lecturer feedback during the class, again providing immediate feedback on both the presenter’s comprehension of the subject matter and her or his approach to the research topic. Further written and verbal feedback is available from the lecturer shortly after the presentation, with all students receiving feedback no later than week 12. Third, you will discuss your draft of your final essay with the module leader in week 12, while the project is near to completion but still in development. This provides you with feedback that you can consider for your final submission. You are welcome to discuss your research and drafts at any point in the module during the module lecturer’s office hours.

Summative Assessment:
This module has three summative assessments. (1) Each student will undertake an oral presentation. You will select a topic from the weekly syllabi, between weeks 5-11 inclusive, and present on that topic in the class the topic is scheduled. Presentations are 15 minutes (a quarter of an hour) in length. You will develop both a research question and a research project to answer the research question. This project must contain both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Following the presentation you will field questions from your colleagues and the module lecturer about your research. (2) The 3000 words essay, due at the end of week 13, provides you with the opportunity to consider peer feedback and class discussions relevant to your project, expand your research, and develop your empirical analysis skills and critical reasoning and writing skills to produce a well-defined, rigorous, and detailed argument. This essay requires you to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods, and discuss all concerns relevant to research integrity and regulation raised by your research project. (3) You will be assessed also on your contribution to class discussions. This element of assessment includes your contributions to discussions of student presentations and to readings from the weekly syllabi. Attendance will therefore be indirectly assessed through your presence in the room to discuss readings and presentations. Your participation mark will be based on not only the amount you participate, but also the quality of your contributions. Class preparation is therefore essential for your participation mark also. The class discussions, presentations, and essays all establish core research skills required to undertake both academic and practical research projects in your Honours year. All assessments in this module thus function collectively as formative assessments for BA4 modules. One-to-one feedback on your presentation is available a week after your presentation. Essays will be marked in weeks 14 and 15 and will be returned with extensive comments in both the margins of the essay and on a separate comment sheet.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Seminar 39
Independent Learning Guided independent study 161
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Oral Presentation 25 1, 2, 3, 4 11 HOURS= .25
Essay 65 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13 , WORDS= 3000
Discussion/Participation 10 3, 5 13
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
JAC09126 Mass Communications Research Methods