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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5630M Communication and Public Opinion

30 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Julie Firmstone

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module explores the relationship between communication and public opinion by asking: How does media content influence people’s view of certain issues and what are the limitations of the power of media effects? The module combines theoretical discussion with hands-on research experience through a small-scale empirical project that provides students with the opportunity to experience first-hand the problems and excitements of empirical public opinion research.


This course has the following objectives:
-To examine the way in which media and communication shapes public opinion
-To interrogate how public opinion affects politicians and public policy making in a range of arenas
-To explore the empirical methods of survey research and ways of measuring for media effects

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module you will be able to:
- describe and critically evaluate theoretical explanations of the relationship between the media and public opinion, including media effects, on citizens’ attitudes and political behaviour;
- design, conduct and evaluate a survey project on a chosen issue from domestic or international politics and report the empirical results in a professional manner;
- understand basic functions of the software programme SPSS and be able to employ it for data processing;

Skills learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
4. Academic Writing: the ability to write in a clear, concise, focused and structured manner on the way in which the media influences the general public, that is supported by relevant scholarly evidence in the field.
5. Critical Thinking: the ability to weigh up different arguments and perspectives on the relationship between the media and public opinion, using supporting evidence to form opinions, arguments, theories and ideas.
6. Teamwork: communicating and working with others. The ability to work in small groups to plan, research, and explain, in both written and oral form, an academic case study.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours272.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored through participation in seminar discussion and through formative feedback on group presentations. One seminar session is devoted to feedback on survey projects. The first essay will be submitted mid-semester with feedback provided before the Easter Break.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentGroup critical evaluation essay 1 x 2000 - 2,500 words30.00
AssignmentProject Report 1 x 4,000 - 4,500 field project and report70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/05/2024 09:20:42


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