Designing Methodologies for Media Studies
Required Graduate Methods Course
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media in all its manifestations: as texts, objects, commodities, imaginaries, systems, environments, and so forth. We’ll also consider how media technologies can function as research tools, how media-making can serve as a research method, and how we can creatively employ media to share our research. Because media systems are complex and lend themselves to study from various perspectives, it’s important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, critical, and creative research. We’ll thus inventory a variety of approaches, including qualitative, quantitative, historical, critical, and design methods, as well as approaches drawn from other disciplines and practices. And we’ll see that every stage of the research process – from framing questions to choosing methods for the execution and dissemination of our work – is “designed,” and that research design shapes the meaning, reach, impact, politics, and ethics of our work. The course will include seminar discussions and workshops, guest speakers, and a field trip, enabling us to examine various methods in action. Students will complete several short assignments that lead up to the creation of a proposal for a larger research project, perhaps a thesis, in any of a variety of formats – from a traditional paper to a documentary film to an exhibition.