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 one 1200-word literature review, and one 1200-word essay. The essays are tied to the class seminars and readings, and requires 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.


The topic of your literature review and the essay should be drawn from the 8 topics we’ve discussed in Term 1 Theory Module. Your topic doesn’t have to be the ones listed below, but does have to fall into the 8 big topics we’ve covered this term.

  • Visual Storytelling and the Global Imagination – media representation of the Majority World, imagined geography, stereotype
  • Aesthetic and Cinematic Journalism – issues of representation given new storytelling possibilities, the ethic of visualising human suffering
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Narrative, Context and Story – storytelling, narrative structures, status of documentary, the importance of context and the future of context


Literature Review:

Write a 1200-word literature review to explore the topic of your choice. You have to review at least 5 different literature for this assignment.

  • Draft Deadline: 12th November 2017 midnight Beijing Time – email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 
  • Final Submission Deadline: 24th December 2017 midnight Beijing Time -email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 



Write a 1200-word essay on the topic of your choice, preferably the topic you’ve explored in the literature review assignment. Your paper’s thesis will be drawn from one of the 8 topics discussed in this term’s theory module, 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 Deadline: 10th December 2017 midnight Beijing Time – email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 
  • Final Submission Deadline: 24th December 2017 midnight Beijing Time -email to Yan Cong, CC Sharron & Sean. 


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.


  • Put your name and student number before the essay
  • Length: 1200 words, +/- 10%. The word count excludes captions, bibliography, and references.
  • 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).