MP6048 - Media and Society Case Studies

What will I learn on this module?

This module will provide a space to familiarize yourself with the case study as a tool for the investigation of social, economic, cultural, and technological phenomena connected with phenomena that reflect on the role of media in contemporary societies.

Whether your interests lie in how people from ethnic minorities or standards of beauty are represented in advertising, videogames or film, on how companies tap on influencers to market their products, or how Twitter is used by journalists to cover breaking news or by television viewers to discuss their favourite shows on TV, this module will offer you a mix of knowledge, reference materials and guidance to choose, plan, conduct, and write a case study for your assessment.

A key component of the module will involve the study of iconic case studies, such as The Disney Company’s evolution from a national animation workshop to a global media conglomerate, to Russia’s use of information agencies such as Sputnik International to deliver propaganda to audiences all over the world, and the BBC’s problematic use of the journalistic principle of balance. Lecturers delivering this module may vary their selection of case studies to reflect on the latest developments, ensuring they will be of interest to students enrolled.

The module will be a valuable experience to learn aspects of the research process you could apply for writing essays, under- and postgraduate dissertations, whilst providing you with skills you could apply in a variety of professions such as journalism, marketing, public relations, and policymaking. Part of the core knowledge and skills that you will be expected to develop for this module will involve you in familiarising yourself with the extensive array of Northumbria University’s digital resources. You will then be expected to use electronic repositories of data, reference, archive, and multimedia materials, such as LexisNexis, WaybackMachine, Box of Broadcasts, and EBSCO, among others, to research the original content required to develop your own case study.

How will I learn on this module?

Your learning will be supported by tutor-led lectures in which definitions, findings from research, approaches to identifying and gathering primary and secondary sources of information will be discussed. These discussions will enable you to identify how media impacts society, and vice versa, and ways to reflect on these dynamics in written, oral, and digital forms. In lectures and seminars, your attention will be drawn to the characteristics, formats, structures, vocabulary, and referencing systems used for planning, developing, and writing case studies of media and society, so you'll be equipped to meet this module’s learning objectives. Weekly team, and independent activities will be embedded within the taught sessions to verify your understanding, which you will further demonstrate by raising relevant questions, observations, and arguments to come up with ideas for case studies. In seminars, you will be able to discuss the key themes covered in lectures and make presentations based on public discussion, industry/policy developments, ongoing events, and research findings, which you will have identified to complement the material from lectures and to support your progress toward the design of your own case study of media and society.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is organised for you to work with essential and additional reading materials and sources of information. In this context, books and journal articles will be included on the module’s main reading list. Through these scholarly materials, you will become familiarised with theoretical explanations, definitions of concepts, and findings of studies that, combined, should help you develop an understanding of the state of the art regarding the relationship between media and society. Lectures will also be partly dedicated to identifying primary and secondary sources of information, from authentic documents to corporate and industry reports, to media outputs available in public and proprietary databases. With examples of case studies that reflect on the relationship between media and society and the workings of the cultural industries, you will be capable of visualising the link between media production, distribution, and consumption processes and their impact in social, political, economic, and technological developments. To advance your learning, the module will require you to participate in individual and collective activities through which you'll be able to test your understanding of lectures, reading material and seminar discussions. Your tutor will create individual and group spaces for you to express doubts, raise questions, give feedback to your peers and advance ideas. These activities will thus pave the way toward the design and completion of your own assessed case study. Your tutor will take moments during seminars to provide you with feedback enabling you to keep track of your conceptual and practical progress in the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• KU1: You will use the case study as a tool via which to formulate an appropriately sophisticated investigation of social, economic, cultural, and technological processes that reflect on the media/society nexus (both as an intellectual problem and as practical understanding of the creative industries sociocultural, political, and economic relevance)

• KU2: You will draw upon the transferable skills you have developed to-date in order to reflect on the structure of case studies and their potential to complement various dimensions of academic planning, research, and writing processes

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• IPSA1: You will demonstrate your confidence in identifying appropriate primary and secondary sources, evaluating their significance, constructing research questions, and formulating solutions to complex problems

• IPSA2: You display your confidence in challenging ideas, negotiating problems, accounting for divergent perspectives, and working independently and as part of a team.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will be able to display the attitudes and skills needed to engage and work constructively, sensitively and ethically in conjunction with people from various socio-cultural backgrounds and with divergent skill-sets

How will I be assessed?

To prepare you successfully to undertake the summative assessment(s) on this module, formative assessments will be set by the module team. These may take the form of in-class tasks or projects, developmental activities undertaken between classes, or learning exercises/activities set over a longer period. Feedback (written and/or oral) will be provided to help you learn from, reflect on, and develop in light of these formative assessments.

You will be assessed on the basis of a 2,500-word multiple-small-scale case study. Your choice of a unit of analysis of relevance to investigate media/society dynamics will be justified in strategic terms based on actual and updated evidence obtained from a multiplicity of primary information sources. Case studies discussed in class will enable you to look at a variety of examples illustrating a trend within a particular sociocultural context, an industry, a professional practice, or an event of cultural significance that is “viral” or “is trending”. You will use your own case study for drawing comparisons between individual instances of mediated communication which would serve you to establish differences that account for the complexities within a given media process. Your assessment will be based on criteria commensurate with what is expected from third-year undergraduate students. This includes the extent to which your manuscript reflects that you worked hard developing a problem of study, and that your selection of the instances of investigation (i.e., one or two units of analysis) is/are justified and useful to enhance understanding of the studied phenomenon. Your familiarity with relevant literature will also determine your mark. In this context, your conceptual framework and concepts will be informed and defined by a small selection of authors linked to your problem of investigation. The quality of your research will also be central to your final mark. Your background will consider multiple dimensions informed by news articles and analysis, as well as by information from statistics, official reports, information from companies and institutional websites. Finally, the structure and presentation of your module will have a significant bearing on your assessment’s outcome.

You will also be assessed on the basis of 3 electronic quizzes . Following varied question formats, this battery will test you on your understanding of lectures as well as require you to conduct guided online research to identify primary sources of information and answers through which you will be able to complete the assignments. In completing your quizzes you will be assessed both in a summative and formative way, as the reading and researching procedures required to complete them will be at the heart of the activities required for your to work towards your final case study.

You will receive formative feedback from your tutor, who will make observations about your participation in taught sessions, about your interest in the themes discussed in lectures, your constancy in tackling the set reading material and in interacting intellectually with your peers. You should consider these forms of engagement as important to keep track of your progress in the module.

Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days, although you will be able to keep track of your success in completing your quizzes as you go. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your research/methodological skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development.





Module abstract

In this module you will be familiarized with the nature of case studies as a tool to investigate and reflect critically about the role of communication media in cultural, social, economic, political, and/or technological processes in contemporary societies. This module will confront you with the latest theoretical perspectives and concepts, research findings, primary/secondary information sources and examples to reflect on a range of media processes such as: a) the meaning and significance of media content; b) the cultural or creative industries that produce it; c) the policies thar regulate it; d) the infrastructures and technologies that support and channel it; d) and the ways in which people engage with it. You will learn about the aforementioned processes by attending lectures in which an overview of key theories and concept definitions will be used to reflect on societal developments illustrated by iconic case studies. Lectures will reflect on conceptual frameworks including theories about social representations, convergence/participatory culture, mediatization, and digital divides, among others, as a way to establish how the influence that media content and messages, the industries and actors that produce, use, or consume them, can be situated within processes that illustrate the role of media in society. This module will provide a suitable environment for you to discuss your opinions, which will be informed by your continuous reading effort and engagement with multimedia materials which will be the point of departure for you to advance your understanding of media and society, and to thrive in your summative assessment.

Course info

UCAS Code P305

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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