Advanced Methods of Research in Media & Communications (including Qualitative & Quantitative Analysis)

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Pollyanna Ruiz (STC.S214) - Michaelmas Term

Dr Ellen Helsper (STC.S119c) - Lent and Summer Term


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/PhD in New Media Innovation and Literacy and MPhil/Phd in Media and Communications. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

i. Principles of Research in Media and Communications: a series of lectures offered by media and communications staff in MT. The lectures will normally cover the following topics central to research design across the social sciences, with a specific emphasis on their application to media and communications contexts: the general nature of research as social inquiry, interviewing, discourse analysis, content analysis, visual analysis, survey design/questionnaires, case studies, ethnography and participant observation, as well as research ethics.
ii. Principles of Social Research: A series of ten three-hour workshops (each comprised of two x 1.5 hour sessions) offered by media and communications staff in LT. Students are required to participate in all ten basic and specialist workshops.
iii. Principles of Social Research Analysis: Students have to take at least one statistics course offered by the Methodology Department. MY551M Introduction to Quantitative Analysis and MY552L Applied Regression Analysis are automatically included when you register for the standard MC5M2 course. (Students are permitted to substitute these for a more advanced quantitative or qualitative course offered by the Methodology Department as long as at least one statistical course is included in the course, with the approval of the MC5M2 course convenor and subject to timetabling constraints.)


i. Principles of Research in Media and Communications: Lecture (one hour) x 10 MT; Lecture on Writing Methodological Critiques (one hour) x 1 LT.
ii. Principles of Social Research: Workshop (three hours) x 10 LT (each comprised of two 1.5 hour sessions).
iii. Principles of Social Research Analysis: MY551M: Lecture (two hours) x 9 MT; Computer class (one hour) x 9 MT; MY552L: Lecture (two hours) x 9 LT; Computer class (one hour) x 9 LT.

Formative coursework

i. Principles of Research in Media and Communications: All students are expected to complete advance readings and submit one essay of 1,500 words in week 9 of MT.
ii. Principles of Social Research: All students are expected to complete advance readings and submit workshop assignments.
iii. Principles of Social Research Analysis: Most statistics courses require weekly assignments. The qualitative analysis courses vary in their formative assessment.

Indicative reading

Adams, R. C. (1989) Social Survey Methods for Mass Media Research, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Alasuutari, P. (1995) Researching Culture, Sage; Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Bauer, M. W. & Gaskell, G. (Eds) (2000) Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound: A Practical Handbook, Sage; Bell, A. and Garrett, P. (eds.) (1998) Approaches to Media Discourse, Oxford: Blackwell; Burton, D. (2000) Research Training for Social Scientists: A Handbook for Postgraduate Researchers, Sage; Deacon, D. et al. (1999) Researching Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis, Oxford University Press; Dillman, D.A., Smythe, J.D. & Christian, L.M. (2009) Internet, Mail, and Mixed-mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (3rd edition). John Wiley & Sons; Flick, U. (1998) An Introduction to Qualitative Research, Sage; Hansen, A. et al. (1998) Mass Communications Research Methods, Macmillan; Habermas, J. (1997) Knowledge and Human Interest, Polity; Jensen, K. B. & Jankowski, N. (Eds) (1991) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communications Research, Routledge; Kent, R. (1994) Measuring Media Audiences, Routledge; Krippendorf, K. (2004) Content Analysis: An introduction to Its Methodology (2nd edition), Sage; Robson, C. (1993) Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner Researchers, Blackwell; Rose, G. (2011) Visual Methodologies (3rd edition). Sage; Schroeder, K., Drotner, K., Kline, S., Murray, C. (2003) Researching Audiences. London: Arnold; Silverman, D. (Ed) (2010) Doing Qualitative Research (3rd Edition), Sage; Vis, F. & Thelwall, M. (January, 2014) Researching Social Media, Sage; Webster, R. P. (1985) Basic Content Analysis, Sage; Yin, R.K. (2013) Case Study Research: Design and Methods (5th edition), Sage.

No one book covers the entire syllabus; students will be expected to read widely in appropriate journals and books, and a list of references will be provided at the start of the course and in advance of the workshops. In Lent Term students will be provided with examples of journal articles in which the discussed research methods are applied.


1. Coursework: One written assignment of either 5,000 or 7,000 words to be submitted in ST, depending on the MY courses selected (66%).
2. One two-hour examination in ST relating to Quantitative Analysis MY551 and one two-hour examination in ST if another statistics course is taken (see Methodology Department course guides) (34%).

Note: Summative assignments differ depending on the components of the methodological training taken by the students. PhD students have to pass all components of MC5M2.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2012/13: 2

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills