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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



Extensive, well-structured, and eloquently written, the second edition of Jane Stokes' How to Do Media and Cultural Studies is an indispensable introduction to the theories, practices, and methods of media and cultural analysis. Students wanting to attain an understanding of how to present their work and how they might come to know and do media and cultural studies must read this book.
John Armitage
Professor of Media, Northumbria University

This no nonsense, up-to-the-moment text cuts-to the-chase about how to conduct a research study. Jane Stokes effortlessly and expertly takes the reader by the hand and walks them through the principles, methods and practices of executing 'good' media and cultural studies. If any book can relieve anxieties about actually doing research this is it. Accessible, informed, incredibly useful.
Professor Simon Cottle
School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University

This is the best book available for students facing up to the challenge of writing a dissertation about media and communication. Jane Stokes introduces a wide range of methods for researching audiences, industries and texts, and guides the student through detailed discussion of well-chosen case studies and examples.
Graham Meikle
University of Stirling

One of the subjects I teach addresses Cultural Industries, a field in which I found this book to be an important asset.

Professor Pedro Pereira Neto
School of Sociology and Public Policies, ISCTE - Inst of Soc Sci & Bus Studies
January 31, 2016

Ok text, but too basic for a graduate level course. I will consider adopting it for my new BA level course in cultural analysis.

Dr Kjetil Rødje
Media, Cognition & Communication Dept, University of Copenhagen
May 26, 2015

This introduction is both comprehensive and carefully updated. It helps to orient students in contemporary anthropology as well as in media studies to orient in the immense output of literature in this field in the last decades.

Dr Eckehard Pistrick
Ethnomusicology, M. Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
March 12, 2015

Stokes' work is the prescribed text for our students in their Advanced Research Project at the honours (4th year) level. Here they conduct their own quantitative or qualitative research from selecting a topic of interest to them, to formalising their year long study in a portfolio which includes the theoretical framework and data analysis. Stokes allows our students a firm footing in their approach to the investigation of Media Studies and its varied elements, offering them an easy to understand background into which their own research may be organised. This book is a good choice for students at the honours level.

Dr Mark Kirby-Hirst
Department of Communication Science, University of South Africa
January 5, 2015

Absolutely essential to anyone doing cultural and media studies, and ideal for my post-graduate students. Recommended for the following courses: COM4809 (mini-dissertation) and COM4802: Media Research Methodology.

Professor Beschara Karam
Department of Communicatin Science, University of South Africa
August 12, 2014

Jane Stokes offers a comprehensive look at quantitative and qualitative methods. This second edition of How to Do Media and Cultural Studies provides an inclusive overview of the methodological perspectives used by media scholars. This book is a great introduction for students at both graduate and undergraduate levels. It is one of the best books that is available for the readers who want to understand phases of research and design projects.

Dr Sermin Tag Kalafatoglu
Department of Cinema and Television, Ordu University
June 6, 2014

A good outline for undergrads on practical media and journalism courses who need to enhance their academic writing skills

Miss Hilary Scott
Arts - Media, English & Culture, University of Northampton
March 7, 2014

A useful addition to any library, this text presents a clear and accessible account of the process of doing media research. The book will prove to be a very handy resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students preparing to engage with media research from a cultural studies perspective.

Dr Alexander Channon
School of Education (Avery Hill), Greenwich University
November 11, 2013

A very useful work for a multiple pathway degree programme. Topics are addressed in an accessible style with helpful guidance towards and through other academic studies.

Ms Diane Charlesworth
lincoln school of media, Lincoln University
October 28, 2013

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