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Research methods in media, culture and creative cities

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Thursday 19:00 – 21:50

Lecture venue

Course description

This course looks at different ways of researching media, culture, and creative cities. It examines the whole research process, starting from research methodology, to research design, sampling and methods used, to data collection, data analysis and report writing. Various research methods will be introduced, including questionnaire survey, content analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, in-depth interview, oral history, reception studies, semiotic analysis, and visual studies. Key debates in research methodology such as generalization, representation, and reflexivity will be discussed. Students will learn the methods for analyzing the media, cultural industries and their products, studying audiences and consumers, tapping people’s identity, charting broader cultural trends, and examining the cultural environment of creative cities.

The course helps students put theory “to work” and trains students to become independent researchers who are well-informed at both the theoretical and methodological levels. The knowledge and skills learnt will contribute to the work on the capstone project.

Course learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the key concepts and debates surrounding research in the field of media, culture and creative cities, including how the different methodological approaches have emerged; what research questions they are able to answer; and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
  • Become familiarized with qualitative and quantitative methods such as participant observation, interviews, surveys, and content analysis for data collection.
  • Identify and address a research problem.
  • Work in teams to carry out a small-scale research project.
  • Analyze and present data addressing practical research problems in the field of media,
  • culture and creative cities.
  • Synthesize theory with practice and acquire the tools required to be an independent researcher.


Class/guest lecture attendance and participation10%
Group project (part 1) – reflective journal20%
Group project (part 2) – creative presentation20%
Final report of a small-scale individual or group research project50%

Required reading

Booth, W., Colomb, G. and Williams, J. (2008) The Craft of Research (3/e). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Stokes, J. (2013) How to Do Media and Cultural Studies. London: Sage.

Recommended reading

Brennen, B.S. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods for Media Studies. New York and London: Routledge.

Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., Mackay, H. and Negus, K. (1997), Doing Cultural Studies: the story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage, pp.1-40.

Fielding, N. (2001), Researching Social Life (2nd ed.). Edited by Nigel Gilbert. London: Sage.

Hansen, A. and Machin, D. (2013), Media and Communication Research Methods. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jensen, K. B. (2012), A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies. Edited by Klaus Bruhn Jensen. London: Routledge.

Tonkiss, F. (2004), Researching Society and Culture (2nd ed.). Edited by Clive Seale. London: Sage.

吳俊雄、呂大樂、馬傑偉(編)(2006)《香港、文化、研究》 香港:香港大學出版社。

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Office opening hours adjustment