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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 28/04/2022 17:22:48

Title of Module: Research Methods

Code: JOUR09001 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Dr Margaret  Hughes

Summary of Module

The Research Methods module offers students the opportunity to critically engage with the practices and principles of journalism and media research. As well as contributing to their own small research community students receive one-to-one advice and guidance on how to develop their own personal research proposal. While designed as a critical foundation for Journalism Dissertation in Year 4, the module equips those concluding their studies at Level 9 with the academic research skills required to develop intellectually sound approaches to research proposal/pitches including areas such as abstract writing and research design techniques. The module includes an analysis of the research process and designing research as well as a review of research methodologies appropriate to study journalism and communication, such as content analysis, surveys and interviews, case studies and action research. The areas covered will include designing a research process, formulating a research proposal, conducting a literature review and examining a range of methodological approaches to academic research including the use of qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection, as well as techniques for content and discourse analysis.

Key areas:

  • Research proposal design

  • Effective research methodologies

  • Abstract writing

  • Hypothesis creation

  • Content and discourse analysis

  • Qualitative and quantitative approaches

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically discuss research processes and practices appropriate to journalism research.

L2. Critically evaluate literature appropriate to journalism research.

L3. Develop a research proposal on a suitable issue in journalism research.

L4. Critically evaluate, discuss and review information from a range of sources.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Demonstrating a critical understanding of the appropriateness of research methodologies.

Demonstrating detailed knowledge of a chosen research design.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Practicing skills of research critique.
Using skills and techniques of research design to produce a research proposal.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Undertaking critical analysis and evaluation of concepts, information and issues.

Critically analysing established research within a literature review.

Analysing information from a range of sources.

Demonstrating critical awareness, scholarship and originality in addressing practical and ethical issues of research.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Using formal presentation formats for research critiques and proposals.
Interpreting and evaluating numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Exercising autonomy and initiative in carrying out research activities at the appropriate level.

Taking responsibility for own work and responsibilities in team approaches and in meeting deadlines.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Teaching will comprise a series of lectures, seminars and practical research workshops with students aligned to group/research communities.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Asynchronous Class Activity18
Independent Study146
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bertand, I. and Hughes, P. (2005) Media Research Methods: Audiences, Institutions, Texts, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods, 4th ed, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Deacon, D. et al (2007) Research Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis, London: Hodder Arnold.

Jensen, K. B. et al (2012) Handbook of Media and Communications Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies, 2nd ed, London: Routledge.

Murray, R. (2011) How to Write a Thesis, 3rd ed, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorDr Kenneth Pratt
External ExaminerDr John Price
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment One (L/O 1,3,4) is a presentation on research proposals (40% of total marks).
Assessment Two (L/O 2,3,4) will be driven by individually assigned tutors to guide/advise on full research proposal completion. (60% of total marks).
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck mark check markcheck mark400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of practical work check markcheck markcheck mark600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.