Assessment: IMJ4011 Advanced Research and Study Skills

ADVANCED RESEARCH AND STUDY SKILLS – IMJ4011 Advanced Research and Study Skills – ASSESSMENT 2016-17

The assessment for the Term 1 theory module – IMJ4011 Advanced Research and Study Skills – consists of two 1000-word essays. Both essays are tied to the class seminars and readings and each require some outside investigation, so make sure you research more readings and sources beyond those provided on the reading list. Even though these papers are short, they should still each have the three basic components of an academic essay:

  1. An introduction which clearly states a thesis.
  2. A body which develops the thesis, with one argument per paragraph, and several points of evidence supporting each argument.
  3. A conclusion which does not simply summarise the thesis, but draws a conclusion about what you discovered through your exposition.

Please carefully read the requirements for each assignment and general guidelines below.

Assignment 1:

Write a 1000-word essay to critically analyse an English language multimedia story drawn from the multimedia stories you’ve read between Week 4 and Week 9 (17 Oct—20 Nov).

  • Draft Version Deadline: 20th November 2016 midnight Beijing Time – email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 
  • Final Submission Deadline: 4th December 2016 midnight Beijing Time -email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 


This assignment is designed to encourage you to read and critically evaluate multimedia news stories on a regular basis. As an international programme, the majority of the multimedia journalism stories you consume should be produced by international media outlets. However, we also strongly encourage you to regularly read Chinese multimedia stories, and be aware of the development and trends in multimedia and visual journalism  in China.

Select an English-language multimedia news story you’ve read in the span of six weeks and analyse it. Develop an effective thesis statement, and use evidence from the story and your research to support the thesis. While you may need to describe the project, the essay should not simply be a description of a successful / unsuccessful multimedia project. Try thinking more of “how” and “why,” and be critical.

Possible thesis’ could be drawn from: the reporting process, presentation (design), interactivity of the project, the producer’s different choice of medium for each part of the story, the story’s presentations across screens and platforms (desktop, mobile, social platforms), and the audience engagement element in the story (if any)… but don’t limit yourself to the ones mentioned here.

We recommend keeping a news diary, taking notes of your thoughts and evaluation on what works and what doesn’t for a multimedia work each week.

Assignment 2:

Write a 1000-word essay on one of the 8 topics we have discussed during the term. Your paper’s thesis will be drawn from one of the 8 topics discussed in this term’s theory module. Select one topic you want to explore in depth, and find one case study / example to base your argument around. Make sure you research more readings and sources beyond those provided on the reading list and in class.

  • Draft Version Deadline: 27th November 2016 midnight Beijing Time – email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 
  • Final Submission Deadline: 4th December 2016 midnight Beijing Time -email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 


Choose from one of the following subjects, and organise your argument around a specific case, example, or image.

  • Visual Storytelling and the Global Imagination – media representation of the Majority World, imagined geography, stereotype
  • Transformations in the Media Economy – the revolutions in the media economy, historical perspective, contemporary dynamics
  • Losing Control over Distribution – the rise of social platforms, the shift of distribution from publishers to platforms, distributed content, the danger of losing control over distribution
  • Business Models – the traditional model of advertising and circulation, subscription and paywall, new sources of income such as native advertising, donation, non-profit funding, crowdfunding, etc.
  • Narrative, Context and Story – storytelling, narrative structures, status of documentary, the importance of context and the future of context
  • Aesthetic and Cinematic Journalism – issues of representation given new storytelling possibilities, the ethic of visualising human suffering
  • Storytelling Platforms – latest experiments with story structures and presentation, new tools for multimedia storytelling, the relationship between forms and contents
  • Ethics in the Media Economy


Your essays need to be the product of research/reading beyond the readings already provided on the course. This means you will need to conduct bibliographic research for new readings. 

Although there is no fixed number, an essay of this length is likely to need approximately a dozen sources in its bibliography. Amongst these sources, your essay will need to cite at least one book and one academic journal article in addition to other items. This means, therefore, that web-based writings are not sufficient by themselves. 

What we are looking for above all else is evidence of your ability to construct and support an argument by offering a critical analysis of the chosen area.


If you want guidance on note-taking, basic essay writing skills and citation formats, check out the guides (both audio and printed) at

You can also reach out to your tutor Yan Cong for consultation at yancongphoto(at)gmail(dot)com.  But don’t leave it till the last minute. You will usually get the feedback within 72 hours.


  • Length: 1000 words, +/- 10%. The word count excludes captions, bibliography, and references.
  • Citation: Your essay needs to be properly referenced, using the Harvard system of citation. This means you must acknowledge the sources of every quote and idea (even if not quoted directly) that you use. There are a number of resources detailing the Harvard or author/date citation system – see the information at or one from Monash University at It is important to note that when you do use web sources they have to be referenced using this style as well – almost all web sources have recognisable authors, places of publications and dates of publication, and these details are all important to recognise and note. 
  • Use of imagery: Essays can include images as supporting material for the points in the essay. Plate or Figure should be used and a Plate list included with information on author, date, title and source in Harvard citation. Imagery must be of good quality and appropriate size. 
  • Font: Arial 12 pt should be used. Double line spacing for the main text.
  • Quotations of fewer than five lines are included in the text using quotation marks and double spacing. Quotations of longer than five lines should be single line spacing indented from the margin (no quotation marks are then needed) and referenced using the Harvard system.
  • Page numbers must be included.
  • Bibliography. Every source, which has contributed to the essay (including those are not cited), has to be included in the bibliography, and the format is Harvard citation.


Save as PDF, send to before deadline. Late submissions automatically fail. We run all assignments through a plagiarism checker and any cases of plagiarism automatically fail. Students found guilty of plagiarism will be subject to University disciplinary procedures. Penalties for plagiarism include having to repeat assessments or even being suspended from their course in serious cases. – See more here

Assessment Criteria


Focused research with depth and breadth. Evidence of reading beyond course materials. Evidence is consistently applied via references, image analysis, bibliographic citation, scholarship and context. 


Consistent and detailed scholarship coupled with accurate interpretation of appropriate theoretical discourse. Degree to which breadth and depth of appropriate discourse is evident. References, quotations and imagery underpin the accurate interpretation of the critical discourse.


Standard professional academic format (detailed above). Harvard citation methods applied consistently. Use of imagery, referencing, bibliography, and quotations are meticulously used and accurate. Care and attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling, word processing and a high standard of production are in evidence. Word count is accurate.


A logical structure and coherent focus progresses the discussion that leads to well-argued points and clarity of theoretical debate and analysis. A cohesive and coherent conclusion communicates the potential of the main body of the essay. The essay topic is rigorously interrogated and clearly communicated throughout the essay using text and imagery (the latter where appropriate for the argument).