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How to Do Media and Cultural Studies

How to Do Media and Cultural Studies

Second Edition

December 2012 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Second Edition of this student favorite takes readers step-by-step through the theories, processes and methods of each stage of research, from how to create a research question, design the project and write it up. It enables students to have a clear sense of how their own work relates to broader scholarship and inspires understanding of why studying the media matters.

Now 20% bigger, new features include:

  • Brand new chapters on the how and why of researching media and culture
  • All new case studies spotlighting the international media landscape
  • Online readings showing you how methods get used in real research
  • Essential new material on ethnography, digital content analysis, online surveys and researching blogs

Perfect for students of all range, How to Do Media and Cultural Studies continues to provide the clearest and most accessible guide to media and cultural studies students embarking on their own research.


Chapter 1. How Do We Know Anything about Anything?
What Is Knowledge?

How Do You Build a Toaster?

Four Ways of Knowing

Ways of Knowing in Oral Cultures

The Impact of Writing on Ways of Knowing

Classical Epistemology and Rhetoric

So, What Makes a Good Argument?

The Modern Way: Seeing Is Believing and the Scientific Revolution

The Revolution of the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The End of the Modern

Post-Modern Ways of Knowing

Chapter 2. Why Do We Do Media and Cultural Studies?
Approaches to Media and Culture before Media Studies

The Industrial Revolution, Modernity, Media and Culture

The Twentieth Century

The Payne Fund Studies

'Why We Fight': Propaganda and World War II

The Frankfurt School

Technological Determinism and the Social Shaping of Technology

The French Influence and Cahiers du Cinéma


Mass Culture Debates in the 1950s

The Founding of British Cultural Studies

The 1960s and Cultural Studies in Academia

The 1970s' Media Education Movement

The Turn to the Reader

Feminist Interventions

Sexuality, the Body and Queer Theory

Post-Colonialism, Identity, Race and Difference

New Media, New Paradigms?

Chapter 3. Getting Started
Getting Started

Designing Your Research Question: Industry, Text or Audience?

The Key Elements of a Research Question

Writing Your Research Question

Reviewing the Literature

Writing Your Project Proposal

Chapter 4. Researching Industries: Studying Institutions and Producers of Media and Culture
What Are the Media and Cultural Industries?

Studying the Media and Cultural Industries

Four Methods for Researching the Media and Cultural Industries

Archive Research

Case Study: Paddy Scannell and David Cardiff, 1991

Case Study: Sue Arthur, 2009

Discourse Analysis

Case Study: John T Caldwell, 2008

Case Study: Chrys Ingraham, 2008


Case Study: Jeremy Tunstall, 1993

Case Study: Stefan Haefliger, Peter Jäger and Georg Von Krogh, 2010

Interviews About The Past

Case Study: Stuart L Goosman, 2005

Ethnographic Research

Case Study: Hortense Powdermaker, 1951

Case Study: Anthony Cawley, 2008

Methods and Approaches Discussed in this Chapter

Chapter 5. Researching Texts: Approaches to Studying Media and Cultural Content
How to Research Media and Cultural Content

Semiotic analysis

Case Study: Barthes, Roland, 1984

Case Study: Richard K Popp And Andrew L Mendelson, 2010

Case Study: Marcia A Morgado, 2007

Content Analysis

Case Study: Glasgow Media News Group, 1976

Case Study: Jeffery P Dennis, 2009

Case Study: James Curran, 2000

Discourse Analysis

Case Study: Kari Andén-Papadopoulos, 2009

Case Study: Alim, H Samy, Jooyoung Lee and Lauren Mason Carris, 2011

Typological Methods of Analysis

Genre Study

Case Study: Jane Feuer, 1982

Case Study: Jessica Ringrose And Valerie Walkerdine, 2008

Auteur Study

Case Study: Thomas Elsaesser, 2011

Star Study

Case Study: Richard Dyer, 1987

Comparison of Research Methods Discussed in this Chapter

Chapter 6. Researching Audiences: Who Uses Media and Culture? How and Why?
Methods Discussed in this Chapter

Why Study Audiences?

Researching Media Effects

The Ethics of Audience Research

Survey Research

Case Study: Ien Ang, 1985

Case Study: Lisa M Tripp, 2010

Case Study: Andrea Millward Hargrave, 2000

Focus Groups

Tim Healey and Karen Ross, 2002


Case Study: Daniel Miller 2011

Oral History

Case Study: Shaun Moores, 1988

Comparing Methods for Researching Audiences

Chapter 7. Getting Finished
Criteria for Assessment

Planning Your Work

The Project Contents

Style Matters

Where to Go from Here



It was too specific for my general cultrual studies course

Professor Ingvill Mochmann
European Unievrsity of Applied Sciences, Cologne Business School, CBS
October 3, 2013

A great resource, providing the kinds of materials necessary to support learning on a fairly general research methods-style module. This book gives an overall perspective on why research matters, and how a research culture can help the undergraduate in their learning experience. It is written in a highly accessible style, and takes care to explain jargon in easily communicable terms.

Dr Greg Singh
Communications, Media and Culture, Stirling University
September 9, 2013

This is an excellent second edition with additional and extended material compared with the previous book. The case studies are very useful.

Dr Barbara Mitra
Media & Cultural Studies, Worcester University
July 22, 2013

This is a welcome update to the first edition, which itself was essential reading for undergraduate students preparing to embark on project work.

Mr Robert Jewitt
Art, Design & Media, Sunderland University
May 31, 2013

An excellent key text for undergraduate students (and tutors) studying Mass Communications/ Media Studies.

All chapters provided good case studies/examples which are written clearly for students at all levels.

Each chapter consists of exercises that not only benefit the students to enhance their understanding but a useful guide for tutors. Tutors can use the exercises as seminar activity. I believe it would encourage students to use the books effectively and use the Further Readings.

Further Reading section consists of good readings and a brief outline of the reading which is extremely useful and encouraging.

A great improvement from the first edition, well done Stokes. Looking forward to the third edition.

Dr Iqbal Akthar
Schl of Media, Critical & Creative Art, Liverpool John Moores University
May 19, 2013

This book is the useful textbook for students to start up the difficulty of writing a research paper about the field of media and communication. As I am a lecturer from Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, the author introduces widely step-by-step methods. It is easy for the students who use English as second language for researching both the study in audiences and industries. I positively recommend this book for guiding the students through the processes of detailed methodologies, discussion and those case studies as examples.
Wang, Tai-Jui
Chinese Culture University

Mr Tai-Jui Wang
Department of Mass Communication, Chinese Culture University
March 12, 2013

This is an accessible and easy to use text, especially for students coming new to the academia of media, communication and cultural studies. It provokes interest, is a concise well planned introduction to the area, yet still has considerable depth.

Mr Robbie Smyth
Journalism and Media Communications, Griffith College Dublin
February 24, 2013

Very good, somewhat too much focussed on Cultural Studies as an ideological project. I'm missing the phenomenological approach.

Mr Jack Post
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University
February 18, 2013

The book is essential for students of all degrees (BA, MA, PhD) of economics of cultural industries and media economics. These fields are not yet very popular in Polish universities, however, taking into account the increasing role of creative industires in the global economy, more and more students choose to study them. The book presents a series of crucial information and tips on how, step by step, analyze media and cultural industries. It is full of very useful case studies which can be examined in courses and seminars.
Setting aside cultural and media references, the text can also be recommended to all students, due to its universal methodological qualities.

Dr Anna Janowska
Institute for International Studies, Warsaw School of Economics
February 15, 2013

Stokes made a very well written book on media studies. (I did not now the first edition.) Her introduction on Theory of Knowledge is one of the most appealing chapters I have read on this subject. Mediastudies is not the same as Journlaism Studies, but the book places journalism studies in a meaningful context. I recommend the book to our librarian and to my thesis students. We are working on a (Dutch) book on Journalism Studies Research, and this book is one of the few books we will recommend in our book for further reading.

Dr Willem Koetsenruijter
Journalism and New Media, Leiden University
February 14, 2013

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