How to do China Studies Research Taking Media Studies as Example

How to do China Studies Research Taking Media Studies as Example

Spring 2015
Zhejiang University



Assoc.Prof. LI  Hongtao

College of Media and International Culture
Research Area:Media sociology, media in Greater China

Course Assessment

1.Students are required to finish the readings before class and actively participate in class discussion (30%);
2.Based on what they have learned from this course, students are required to develop a research proposal (5 pages, single spaced) at the end of the class, which specifies the topic, research questions, literature, research design, and references (70%). 

Course Schedule

Week 1: Researching media industries
Summary: Who are journalists or movie producers? How do gatekeepers process information? How does a particular media organization or industry respond to new technology? What is the trajectory of Chinese press reform since 1978? In this lecture, we will discuss the opportunities and challenges provided by selected approaches (archive research, discourse analysis, interviews, ethnography) to research, and offer some case study examples.

Week 2: Researching Texts/Representations
Summary: How did U.S. and Western European media cover the Israel-Gaza conflict? What are the dominant and alternative frames about terrorism on U.S. newspapers? How do Chinese netizens debate about the government’s anti-corruption campaign on social media? What kind of stereotypes about women, working class and ethnic minorities are being produced by mainstream movies and TV dramas in China? In this lecture, I will first give a brief introduction on framing theory and then use several case studies to illustrate the major research methods, i.e., content analysis and discourse analysis.


Week 3: Researching media audiences
Summary: What are the most offensive words in the media for people from various backgrounds? Who uses media and culture? How and why? In this lecture, I will use four case studies (two of them are about Chinese media) to illustrate how to do media audience studies. The research methods being discussed include surveys and interviews, focus groups, ethnography, and oral history.


Week 4: Media and collective memory
Summary: In this lecture, I will first give a brief introduction to the theories of collective memory and then use my own research (how U.S. elite press commemorate Tiananmen and Berlin Wall as key foreign events; how Chinese party organs (re) construct Nanjing Massacre as a cultural trauma) to illustrate how to do research in the area of media/mediated memory. The research methods being discussed (i.e., content analysis and discourse analysis) could also be used to investigate media representation of other events or issues and media texts in general.


Copyright © 2010 Zhejiang University. All rights reserved.   Tel: +86-571-87981209    Office hours: Mon. to Fri. 9:00-17:00