IMMJ 5011 Critical Analysis and Reflection

The written component of your third and final theory module (IMMJ 5011Critical Analysis and Reflection) is the dissertation: an in-depth critical review of your final project.

The dissertation is a development of the research proposal from the previous assignment (IMMJ 4013). Like your previous research proposal, the dissertation sits alongside the practical work you develop for your practice based module and explores that work on a conceptual and theoretical level. The dissertation is developed through written feedback and tutorial support throughout the term and relies heavily on the self-directed study from the student. 

Students will formulate their own reading with reference to their chosen area of research. Via feedback and tutorials, the theory tutor will provide the student with advice and guidance. The student is expected to conduct a literature review at the proposal stage and utilize the indicative reading list constructed for the proposal. The student is expected to maintain awareness of current issues within contemporary practice and interrelated theoretical discourse by making reference to material of secondary and primary source and include a range of up to date material including online (ebooks and journals) multi media, journal, archival and periodical sources.

This module is based on 200 hours study time divided into 16 weeks. Each week students will need to spend approx 12 hours outside of scheduled tutorials on this module.

You will also need to hand in a project form with all theory sections complete. If you have not changed your topic from Term 2, then your Theory Sections including Research Questions, Abstract and Proposal will simply need a revision and update. However, If you have changed the topic and focus from Term 2, you will also need to completely rewrite your project form (both theory and practical sections).

The dissertation will be 5,000 words in length (plus/minus 5%) and presented as a properly sourced and referenced academic paper when you are discussing the contextual/background information. A bibliography in the end of the dissertation is required. Without proper references for the research context, you will not do well. Please consult the guides on referencing that Yan provided in the materials from the research lecture. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Your final paper will discuss:

  • The concepts, context, issues and research that inform your final project
  • Your evaluation of those elements as you conducted your final project
  • What your project taught you about the state of multimedia journalism

It is not an entirely new piece of work. In the first part, it is a development of the research proposal for the topic that becomes your final project. That means you can take the research proposal from the relevant IMJ4013 assignment and revise and improve that in light of previous tutor feedback, with proper referencing as before. That section might make up 1/3 of the final paper. But do not just cut and past the old research proposal — it must be revised to reflect earlier comments and additional research.

After that, we are looking for a critical self-analysis of how your project unfolded.

  • In light of your experience doing the final project, what turned out to be the central themes?
  • What decisions (and why) did you have to make about the project’s narrative as you proceeded?

  • What worked and what failed?
  • What did you learn about multimedia storytelling from the things that worked and the things that failed?
  • What conclusions would you draw about your topic — and multimedia storytelling generally — given the way things worked out?

These questions are guides to the analysis and reflection we are expecting. It’s all about putting your experience doing the final project into context.

Your dissertation will need to be underpinned by critical analysis and reflection, it will be assessed on form and content. To demonstrate this your dissertation will need to:

  • Clearly and coherently articulate a critical contextual framework appropriate to the main topic
  • Clearly and coherently articulate a critical contextual framework appropriate to any lesser topics explored
  • Demonstrate a breadth and depth of relevant, credible, diverse research sources
  • Clearly communicate a rigorous interrogation of relevant theoretical material leading to critical reflection
  • Clearly communicate the application/ testing of advanced research and study skills to an extended research field underpinned by critical analysis.
  • Be underpinned by focus and arguments which are clear and coherent and reflect the analytical/critical/reflective nature of the module
  • Evidence extensive research, underpinned by appropriate methodologies
  • Include analysis, interpretation and reflection that is lucid, Insightful and effectively communicated
  • Use prose that is objective, coherent, and free of significant errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Use ??? referencing (Yan TK – which referencing system?)

Deadlines:

Research questions: May 19
Project form & Part 1 of dissertation: June 2
First draft for the dissertation: July 10-16
Second draft: August 4

Final Submission: August 19, midnight Beijing time

Want more guidance between now and August?

If you have any questions, you can email Yan to arrange a Skype tutorial on your project and the written assessment, and we will sort out a mutually convenient time. It is up to YOU to request assistance. The last date for consultation with me will be (TBC) August – but, please, don’t leave it until the last day to seek advice!

GUIDANCE NOTES:

Important advice:

First and foremost, do not leave the research and writing of your dissertation to the last minute. If you do this you will certainly fail. Your research, reflections, and analysis will impact your practice and so it is essential to work on the dissertation at the same time as the practical work.

The research and reflection required for the dissertation are designed to enhance your critical engagement with your chosen field. The research undertaken should directly inform the practical work and so cannot be left until after the practical work is done. In turn, the practical work will inform the research and critical engagement with the students chosen topic.  In summary, the relationship between the practical work produced for IMJ5010 and the dissertation produced for IMJ 5011 are symbiotic.

Your research questions are critically important and this is where you should start, you will likely need to adjust these a little from your previous research questions but they may remain essentially the same. This all depends on how relevant they are to the current focus. You should ensure that they are approved early on by your theory tutor. You may also decide to add one or two as you go along as needed. You will need to find your own sources to investigate your research questions, however, Yan and practical tutors may also suggest relevant reading as required.

As well as researching your chosen subject matter you’ll also need to return to the key research questions discussed in the first two terms and critically apply any relevant points to your own work:

  • Visual Storytelling and the Global Imagination (Representation)
  • Transformations in the Media Economy
  • Losing Control over Distribution
  • Business Models
  • Narrative, Journalism, and Story
  • Aesthetic and Cinematic Journalism
  • Storytelling Platforms
  • Ethics in the Media Economy

For example, a student working on a story involving the transgender community would necessarily need to undertake broad research on transgender issues and also best media reporting practices for covering LGBTQ communities to ensure that they represent their subjects in an ethical manner that is fair, accurate and inclusive. The student should outline what they learned and how it impacted their practice.

For another example, a student covering a new type of elderly care would necessarily need to look at issues of elderly care and a growing genre of journalism called ‘Solutions Journalism’. Solutions stories highlight answers to problems rather than focusing on an issue or problem itself. But the reporting methodology must be as rigorous as any other story. To do this the student would need to read and reflect on the rising trend of solutions journalism and explore best practices. The student should outline what they learned and how it impacted their practice.

For another example, a student may choose to tell their story in a non-linear format. Or choose to tell parts of the story on other platforms. Or choose to film a short form web documentary in an observational style. The student would need to research other practitioners and outlets producing similar work as well as research surrounding issues and outline what they learned and how it impacted their practice.

For a final example, a student producing a piece of ‘gaming journalism’ on the topic of water scarcity would need to research the topic of water scarcity – and they would also need to research gaming journalism, (forms, outlets & platforms, business models, ethical implications etc).

As you can see it’s a lot about researching to ensure you make considered choices throughout your practice and are able to explain those choices.

Structuring your dissertation:

You will see from the guidelines your project will include:

  • the concepts, context, issues and research that inform your final project
  • your evaluation of those elements as you conducted your final project
  • what your project taught you about the state of multimedia journalism

You can think of these sections as roughly 3 equal parts to help structure the main body of your dissertation:

  • Introduction: (approx 400 words)
  • The concepts, context, issues and research that inform your final project: (approx 1,400 words)
  • Essentially this is your research proposal
  • Be sure to include relevant and credible research and evidence for your topic
  • Be sure to include a rigorous interrogation of critical discourse surrounding your central topic
  • Be sure to include reflective summary leading to hypotheses or conclusive insight based on original lines of inquiry
  • Your evaluation of those elements as you conducted your final project: (approx 1,400 words)
  • Essentially this is a critical reflection on your final project
  • Be sure to include and outline how your research impacted your practice and shed light on your practice
  • Be sure to include, in light of your experience doing the final project, what turned out to be the central themes
  • Be sure to include the decisions (and why) you had to make about the project’s narrative as you proceeded

  • Be sure to include what worked and what failed?
  • Be sure to tie in some of the 8 research questions (Representation, business models, ethics etc)
  • What your project taught you about the state of multimedia journalism: (approx 1,400 words)
  • Essentially this is a critical reflection on what your project says about the state of multimedia journalism today
  • What did you learn about multimedia storytelling from the things that worked and the things that failed?
  • What conclusions would you draw about your topic — and multimedia storytelling generally — given the way things worked out?
  • Be sure to tie in some of the 8 research questions (Representation, business models, ethics etc)
  • Conclusion: (approx 400 words)

Note:

you don’t need to analyze every single part of the topic or your project. Avoid shallow analysis of too many points and aim for a deeper analysis of several of the most important points. Choose several of the most important and noteworthy areas and observations to analyze and expand on in greater detail. 

Divide major points into seperate paragreaphs. Each major idea should have it’s own paragraph. For the really key points of course you’ll need to expand your discussion, analyses, and observations into several paragraphs.

Plagerism

Just in case you need a refresher. Spend half a day re-reading the guidelines.

 

Advertisements