Quality Research Methods in Communication | MCC 402

Instructor: Vassilis Vamvakas


Course description

The course aims to introduce students to the conceptualization, design, and difficulties of qualitative research methods used in media and communication studies, including participant observation and digital ethnography, depth interviews, focus groups,  historical analysis, discourse, thematic, visual and content analysis.

Course objectives

  • Develop an attitude of exploring inquiries, innovation and creativity, concerning the fields of journalism and popular culture
  • Develop critical thinking skills to assess ideas, acquiring research skills, synthesizing knowledge across disciplines and applying academic knowledge to personal experiences throughout the media world.
  • Develop research abilities through implementing qualitative methodological tools for investigating either the production/content of  mediated messages or the audience responses to them.

Learning outcomes

  1. Familiarize with the logic, design, and pitfalls of qualitative research in media and communication
  2. Apply general principles of qualitative analysis to accomplish and evaluate research in media and communication
  3. Associate major techniques of qualitative analysis to concrete research topics of interest.

Class/Learning activities

Lectures, group work, in-class presentations, literature study, written assignments.


Type of work Description Hours
Lectures Thirteen 3-hours lectures 39
Independent study Study of compulsory and optional literature 40-45
In Class presentation review essay (2000 words)

analyzing selected works

in qualitative

media/communication research

Research Choice of a research subject and a methodology to apply 20-25
Written assignments full-length research essay

applying appropriate

qualitative research methods (3000 words)

Total workload 254-289


Type of assessment Learning outcome Impact on final grade Date of assessment
Participation in group work and discussion 1-2 20% Regularly
In Class presentation 1-2 30% 8th-12th week
Written assignment (essay) 2-3 50% 12th week

Required Reading

  1. B. Jensen & N. W. Jankowski (Ed.). (1991). A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research. London: Routledge
  2. Babbie, (2013). The basics of social research (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning

Recommended reading

  1. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Ed.) (2017). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (5thEdition). Sage Publishing

Rose, G. (2001). Visual Methodologies. London: Sage Publications

Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway, Genevieve Bell (2017). The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. NY: Routledge

  1. Bloor, J.Frankland, M. Thomas, K. Robson, K. Stewart (2001). Focus Groups in Social Research. London: Sage
  2. P. Gee An introduction to discourse analysis : theory and method (2011). NY : Routledge.
  3. Merrigan & C. L. Huston, (2008). Communication research methods. Oxford University