3GJ303 Research Methodology

All versions:
3GJ303 (2024—2025)
3GJ303 (2023—2024)
3GJ303 (2022—2023)
3GJ303 (2021—2022)
3GJ303 (2020—2021)
3GJ303 (2019—2020)
3GJ303 (2018—2019)
3GJ303 (2017—2018)

Course code: 3GJ303

Course name: Research Methodology

Semester: Autumn

Location: Kristiansand

Academic year: 2018–2019

Language: English

Credits: 10 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: No

Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the MA Programme in Global Journalism

Relevance within study programme

GJ 303 Research Methodology is a mandatory course in the MA Programme in Global Journalism at NLA University College and normally takes place at the end of the first semester of the programme.


The course intends to prepare the student for a small-scale research project such as an MA thesis. The course offers an historic and thematic overview of common methods within media and journalism research. The student will also gain insight as to how these methods may practically be applied in a research project.

As an area of research, Global Journalism is part of journalism studies which in turn belongs to the wider field of media and communication research. Methodologies within media and communication research draw on theories from various disciplines and are rooted in both the humanities and the social sciences.

Due to the programme–s focus on Global Journalism, research topics are likely to demand field research in foreign cultures and societies. Thus, ethnographic methods within the anthropological field will constitute a key area of the course. Ethnography plays a particularly prominent role within cultural studies which has achieved a significant position in journalism and media research globally.

The course also introduces other key methods within media research, and effort is made to ensure that the student may acquire essential knowledge of a variety of research approaches. Research ethics is emphasized as a crosscutting theme throughout the course.

Learning outcomes descriptors


The student:

  • can explain key methods within journalism and media research, both qualitative, quantitative and combined approaches
  • can explain the philosophical foundation of major methodological approaches


The student:

  • is able to critically assess relevant methodological approaches for a research project within journalism studies
  • can evaluate potential methods for a specific research project in Global Journalism

General competence

The student:

  • is able to prepare a small-scale research project within journalism studies on a theoretical level
  • can reflect ethically on the choice of a research method and in the carrying out and reporting of the research project


GJ 303–1: General issues in media and communication research

a) Research history

Research history is introduced with particular emphasis on traditions within media and communication research.

b) Quantitative and qualitative approaches

The classic distinction between quantitative and qualitative approaches is explored, as is the combination of the two approaches in actual research.

c) Globalizing media research

This part of the course considers the reorientation towards globalization in media research.

GJ 303–2: Methods in journalism and media research

Common approaches in journalism and media research are explored. The following methods are paid particular attention to: content analysis, discourse analysis, reception analysis, ethnographic method, media production studies, qualitative interview methods, survey studies, and comparative research. All methods are situated within Global Journalism research in the course, and the students are introduced to peculiar strands of research foci within the scholarship of different continents.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching is delivered as lectures and seminars. The lectures are organized over approximately five weeks with four lecture hours every week, totalling 20 lecture hours. The seminars are mainly student-led and last for approximately two hours each week.

As part of the course, students are required to produce a first draft proposal of a potential MA thesis project which they will embark on in semesters 3–4.


240 to 300 hours.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory components

Lectures in GJ 303 are not compulsory, but students are encouraged to be present in order to create a fertile learning environment. The written exam and the assignment are compulsory. The draft proposal is a coursework requirement and hence is compulsory (final course grade will not be given without an accepted draft proposal).

Final assessment

The assessment of GJ 303 comprises two parts:

  • 4000 word written assignment entailing critical evaluation of relevant research contributions (51 % of the final grade)
  • 4 hour written exam (49 % of the final grade)

Permitted aids under examination

1. Written assignment: All. 2. Written exam: None

Grading, examination

Both parts shall be individual work and are assessed according to the standard A–F grading system. One final grade is given for the course.

Assessment language




Course evaluation

Annually course evaluation in accordance with the quality assurance system for NLA University College. Students may also give their feedback on the course in the student group/ in class.

Available for Course Students



Total reading: Approx. 810 pp.

GJ 303-1: General issues in media and communication research

a) Research history


  • Bryman, Alan (2016) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 1-5 (1-120)
  • Williams, John J. (2004) Towards a critical research methodology in journalism: Interrogating methodological assumptions. Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies 25(2): 257-293.

b) Quantitative and qualitative approaches


  • Bryman, Alan (2007) Barriers to integrating quantitative and qualitative research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1(1): 8-22.
  • Bryman, Alan (2016) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chs. 7-13 (147-306); chs. 17-23 (373-568); and chs. 26-27 (619-660).

c) Globalizing media research


  • Thussu, Daya K. (ed.) (2009) Internationalizing media studies. London: Routledge. (1-31 and 254-307).
  • Löffelholz, Martin (ed.) (2008) Global Journalism research. Theories, methods, findings, future. London: Blackwell. (3-27 and 285-294).

GJ 303-2: Methods in journalism and media research


  • Harrington, Walt (2003) What journalism can offer ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry 9(1): 90-104.
  • Löffelholz, Martin (ed.) (2008) Global Journalism research. Theories, methods, findings, future. London: Blackwell. (91-142).
  • McMillin, Divya C. (2007) International media studies. London: Blackwell. (134-178).
  • Murphy, Patrick D. and Marwan Kraidy (2003) Towards an ethnographic approach to global media studies. In Patrick D. Murphy and Marwan Kraidy (eds.), Global media studies: Ethnographic perspectives, 3-20. London: Routledge.
  • National Committees for Research Ethics in Norway (2006) Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, law and the humanities. Available from https://www.etikkom.no/Aktuelt/publikasjoner/Guidelines-for-research-ethics-in-the-social-sciences-law-and-the-humanities/ (37 pp.)