Module code: SOC2088

Module Overview

This module provides students with an overview of key methodological approaches to the study of media and digital communication in society. Students will learn about methods for systematic analysis of a variety of media products including printed texts, such as newspapers and magazines, in addition to television, radio and the Internet. Students will be encouraged to reflect on how these methods of textual analysis complement approaches that focus on audiences or on media production. Research designs for application within media studies will be explored. Students will develop skills in designing and conducting their own media and communications research projects, preparing them for dissertation research and developing transferable skills for careers in media and communications

Module provider


Module Leader

HINE Christine (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The design of research within specific traditions and contexts of media research

  • Analysis of textual and visual content, using qualitative and quantitative methods

  • Analysis of digital artefacts including apps, social media content and websites

  • Analysis of audiences and users using qualitative and quantitative methods

  • Analysis of institutions and of the production of media technologies

  • Reflection on epistemological and ontological bases of research methods

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Short research report 20
Coursework Portfolio of research reports 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have understood how to apply the individual methods, have a critical appreciation of the strengths and limitations of the various methods, and can draw on this knowledge to reflect on how to develop plausible research designs of their own.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Assessment 1 Short research report 20% (addressing LO1) applying one research method to a digital artefact

  •  Assessment 2 Portfolio of research reports 80% (addressing LO1, LO2, LO3 and LO4) together covering research design, data collection and analysis techniques and reflection on strengths and limitations, connection with media research traditions and the comparison between traditional research methods and methods for digital media. Students are urged to produce critical reports which draw on relevant literature. Some reports draw on more than one workshop activity, in order to promote critical comparison. The portfolio is submitted and marked as a single submission and not as separate reports.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students receive feedback within the workshops on their progress with the workshop tasks. An additional opportunity for individual formative feedback on written work is provided by the initial summative assessment. Feedback on Assessment 1 will be designed to give students information on how to improve future reports.

Module aims

  • Enable students to conduct systematic and rigorous research on a variety of different media texts
  • Support students in developing an understanding of the connections between research methods and the traditions of media research
  • Enable students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to media research
  • Develop students¿ ability to reflect on the challenge that digital communications pose for traditional ways of doing media research

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the application of a range of approaches to media research PT
002 Recognise the links between methodological approaches and particular traditions or bodies of media research KC
003 Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to media research in relation to case studies KC
004 Reflect on the challenge to traditional media research methods posed by digital communications C

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Offer students a critical overview of the various methods uses in researching media via lectures. Students expand on this knowledge base through a weekly programme of essential readings supplemented by their choice of background reading.

  • Give students the chance to experience each of the methods in action, through workshop exercises which allow them to carry out research design, data collection and analysis. These workshop activities also provide the grounding for students to develop a critical understanding of the strengths and limitations of the various approaches.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 10 1 hour lectures introducing key topics in researching media

  • 10 1 hour seminars carrying out exercises in research design, data collection and analysis

  •  a final two-hour session drawing together the strengths and limitations of the various approaches and supporting students in finalising their portfolios

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2088

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability - Students will develop a range of transferrable skills including the ability to construct a systematic and rigorous research project in media and communications and to report on research outcomes in a concise and clear manner. The short format of the research reports is designed to support students in developing clear and concise writing suitable for real world contexts

Digital capabilities   - Students will be developing research skills to investigate the properties and consequences of digital communications technologies including apps, website and social media. Students will also be required to engage with digital information technologies (such as Surrey Learn, Surrey Search, Google Scholar) to access and utilise academic and media sources for class tasks and assignments.

Global and cultural capabilities – The module has been designed to draw on both local and global examples to illustrate research approaches and will include reflection on the extent to which research approaches need to be adapted to take account of different global contexts.

Sustainability - Students will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and motivation needed to explore issues of equality, diversity and social wellbeing as they arise in a range of media and digital communication contexts.

Resourcefulness and resilience   - The application of research methods inherently involves adaptation to unique circumstances and emerging challenges. Students will be supported to develop reflexivity and resilience in their approach to research, developing the confidence to make informed decisions in context. 



Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory 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 2025/6 academic year.