MS3: Media Investigation
Coursework – why research is so important
Your essay is going to answer a question, consider an issue or tests a
The essay should have a mixture of your analysis, research from other
sources, with the opinions of other academics and writers. You should
apply their findings and theories to the texts you are analysing.
A starting point of your research should be the key concepts. Your question should focus on one of
So if you are studying representations of teenagers, a good starting point is to identify what
representation as a concept is.
Then you should consider what representations? Are they of a particular gender? So what have
academics considered are important about females and stereotypes? Are there any
representational quotes specifically about female teenagers?
Then focus your search on specifics – look up academic writings about teenagers – find quotes
and reviews about the programmes you are using as your case studies.
What theories are there in the academic textbooks? Can you apply them to your texts?
There are lots of journals and articles through the Athens database, available via First Class.
If you are choosing a TV series, you need to choose 1 or 2 specific episodes which have scenes
and characters relevant to your question. Your analysis should be focused and specific.
Your paragraphs should include the views of academics, your analysis and application of theories.
Your essay may agree with your initial question, offer alternative viewpoints or agree with
You don’t have to come up with a definitive answer – just have a debate around the issues,
offering different interpretations.
Below is an extract from an essay which uses academic writing and the student’s own analysis:
Mulvey’s Male Gaze Theory (1974) suggest that women are filmed
from a male perspective, and are presented as being passive and
objectified. She argues that the position of a woman on screen is fixed
and seen purely through the eyes of a man, regardless of the sex of
the audience. ‘The female body is displayed and filmed for the male
gaze in order to provide erotic pleasure.’ (Mulvey, 2003, pg 85). To
show the progression of the female action hero, I will contrast
Mulvey’s theory to Clover, who suggests the presence of a ‘permeable
membrane’; the idea that it is possible to shift gender of the audience
through a portrayal on screen.
Here There is a second academic view. The student
ells us she is going to compare the theories and use
hem in her analysis.
MS3: Media Investigation
This is how the student analyses the text, Lara Croft.
So here the student is arguing that the stereotypes of female gender are changing
and not as rigid as first thought.
To get top marks – you need to show logical and coherent analysis,
research and arguments.
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Simon West, 2001) is played by Angelina
Jolie. Through exaggerated features such as hips, breasts and lips
she demonstrates the hyperbolic nature of the female physique
that is used in relation to female action heroes. To avoid her
becoming merely sexualized and passive, she is presented as the
active lead role, and therefore is seen from a different
perspective, other that just an object of sex. The idea that women
can be desexualized when placed into an active role, is one of the
main contributors to the shift in female representation. By taking
on traditionally masculine roles in film, women have begun to
show that portrayals of gender are not set in stone. Judith Butler
suggests stereotypes of gender are coded and learned.
Link to an
academic view from