Module code: SOC2080

Module Overview

This module examines the critical role played by audiences and users in contemporary media-saturated societies. It traces key developments in audience research by focusing on the theme of ‘transformations’ – tracing changes in media environments, audience practices and key debates, disagreements and shifting priorities in the 6 decade long history of audience research. The module considers the cultural, social and economic significance of ‘the audience’ and explores how the concept of the audience has shifted over time. It makes use of international case studies from print to broadcast to digital and mobile technologies and introduces students to a wide variety of methods of audience research. It incorporates the newer, related field of media and digital literacies and emphasizes the continuing relevance of audiences in a changing media environment.

Module provider


Module Leader

DAS Ranjana (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: P300

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Audiences and users in media and communication

  • The long history of audiences: From passivity to activity

  • Television and active audiences

  • Key voices in the field

  • New media and the challenge of changing audiences

  • DIY Audience Research

  • A transformative decade for transforming audiences

  • Mobiles, gaming and the Internet of Things: Where next for audiences?

  • Still a very Western field?

  • Why study audiences? 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 2000 WORD ESSAY 50
Examination 1 HOUR SEEN EXAM 50

Alternative Assessment

Assessment Strategy

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

An essay of 2000 words and a written exam. The essay will be a 2000 word submission developing answers to designated essay questions, outlining and making critical use of  relevant audience research literature, theories and methods. This will involve the application of the relevant lecture content in the module. The exam will assess students’ knowledge and critical analysis of key theories, arguments, paradigms and projects within the field.


Formative assessment and feedback

  • Students will be given feedback during class discussions, and will be given the opportunity for feedback on a plan for their summative essay

Module aims

  • Provide an introduction to a range of theoretical approaches to the study of media audiences and users in the context of transforming media environments
  • Enable students to critically evaluate and analyse audience research methods, concepts, theories and the relevance of audience analysis.
  • Provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools with which to design and conduct their own audience research projects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate and describe the long and short history of audiences and audience analysis including in the digital and datafied age. KC
002 Develop arguments about key paradigms, phases and voices in audience research. KC
003 Critically evaluate, describe and apply theories concepts and methods in the field KC
004 Critically evaluate audience research projects using a range of methods across a range of media platforms, genres and formats. KCT
005 Develop the ability to design and develop an audience/user research project of their own at dissertation level. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Study Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: enable students to engage critically with the module content and reading, encouraging active participation and independent thinking.

The learning and teaching methods include:

11 x 2 hour weekly sessions, integrating lecture, discussion and group activities consisting of 1 hour of interactive lecturing in each session and 1 hour of class discussion and activities in total each week.

• 1 x 2 hour workshop on designing audience research projects 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media, Culture and Society BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.