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 dimensions. It examines the whole research process, starting with the research design and working through the key components that are fundamental to the research process including formulating research questions, choosing appropriate methodology and the writing up of the research and dissemination thereafter. Various research methods will be introduced, including questionnaires, ethnography, participant observation, interviews and experimental designs.  A particular focus will be given to methodologies that draw upon creative formats such as visual ethnography where film and photography is employed. Key theoretical approaches and concepts in research methodology will be included. In addition to providing an analytical grasp of the issues in relation to these areas, students’ skills will also be developed through exploring their use in the context of ongoing and completed research using real world examples and data.  This practical and applied focus will be complimented by guest presentations from academics who will share their experiences and research with students during some of the sessions.

The aims of this module includes further developing students’ knowledge of research methodologies, to enable them to gain an advanced level understanding of, and expertise in the use of, the key methods that would be useful to draw upon in researching issues typically found in researching creative, cultural and media industries. In addition, students’ skills will also be developed through exploring their use in the context of ongoing and completed research.

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.



Required reading

Stokes, J. (2003). How to Do Media and Cultural Studies. London: Sage.

Recommended reading

Booth, W., Colomb, G. & Williams, J. (2008). From Topics to Questions. In The
Craft of Research (3rd ed., pp. 35 – 50, 51 – 67). Chicago: The University of
Chicago Press.

Bourgois, P. & Schonberg, J. (2009) Righteous Dopefiend. The University of
Chicago Press, Chicago.

Grimshaw, A. (2001) The Ethnographer’s Eye: Ways of Seeing in Anthropology.
Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Collier, J., & Collier, M. (1986). Visual anthropology: Photography as a research
method. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., Mackay, H. & Negus, K. (1997). Introduction. In
Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman (pp.1-6). London: Sage.

Hansen, A. & Machin, D. (2013). The research process. In Media and
Communication Research Methods (pp.13-31). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dewalt, K.M. & Dewalt, B.R. (2002). Participant Observation: A Guide for
Fieldworkers. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.

Negus, K. (1997). The production of culture. In P. D. Gay (Ed.), Production of
Culture/Culture of Production (pp.67-118). London: Sage (w/ Open University).

Banks, M. (2001) Visual Methods in Social Research. Sage, London.

Course co-ordinator and teachers