A2 Film studies coursework:
The Small Scale Research project
What is a small scale research
It is made up of two items:
1. A research catalogue (approx 1000 words). This consists of
all the research you have used to answer your question/
topic…films, academic books, magazine articles, internet
articles, reviews, interviews, DVD commentaries
2. A presentation script (approx 1500 words) This takes the
form of bullet points, notes and needs to be visualised by
the reader. It’s what you would say if you were doing the
presentation to a group of people. Your script needs to
make reference to your catalogue throughout.
See the example to help you understand.
What is the SSRP?
• It is designed to develop your research skills.
• It will be based on ONE focus film and reference 2 other
• It will fit under one of the following topics:
• Star/ performer
• Auteur (in it’s broader sense)
• Social, political and cultural studies
• Gender issues
• Technology (Let’s go through these in a bit more detail)
A consideration of star/ performer or performance as a
significant element of making meaning. The investigation may
focus on a particular star or group of performers.
The characteristics of Helena Bonham Carter’s performance
across different directors.
This context sees genre as a structuring and encoding device
that positions the audience expectation of a film text.
The shaping of the gangster genre by the films of Martin
Becoming Cult: A study into how films are branded ‘cult’
Any individual who leaves a ‘signature’ (production/ meaning)
on a film. Could also consider the collaborative auteur (two or
more- eg Scorcese and De Niro. Could also be the ‘institutional’
auteur (eg studio) eg the comedies of Ealing Studios are a good
example of this.
Consistent themes in the films of Christopher Nolan
Wes Anderson as an auteur
Social, political and cultural
Allows the investigation of the context of production.
Exploration of white collar crime on Wall Street
Representation of social class in British film
Did 9/11 change the way villains in Marvel films are
Allows the study of gendered films or gendered film making.
Issues of sexuality, gender, representation can be explored
either singularly or through a comparative approach.
Representation of women in James Bond films
Kathryn Bigelow’s approach to the contemporary horror film.
Representation of drag in film 1930 to present day.
Maybe explored through diverse approaches including analysing
the representations within a film and issues around those
making a film.
Growing up in black, urban American: Representations of life in
How sport films reflect the social situation in America.
The changing representation of young black men in British film.
Engages with issues of industry that may have come up at AS.
Production contexts such as issues around finance, producing,
law, regulation, distribution, exhibition and governmental
influence over film making are all valuable areas.
Disney’s influence on Pixar studio films
This contexts encompasses all the constructional devices in
cinema, from production through to distribution and exhibition
methods. This could be the introduction of surround sound, the
implication of digital exhibition, the development of CGI in
The development of CGI in animation and it’s impact on
Your initial ideas…
Now we have gone through the frameworks you
might find you have a couple of ideas for one/ two
or more of them.
Jot them down on the sheet (with possible films?)
You don’t have to stick to them- they are just early
Lesson 2: Refining your ideas/ topic
You are going to spend the lesson today thinking a bit more
carefully about the topic you are most interested in researching.
You can use the internet (there might also be books in the
cupboard in S8) to help you.
Today you need to try and decide:
1. A topic and possible title
2. 3 films and why you have chosen to use them.
3. A general outline/ plan about how you might structure your
Lesson 3: Referencing different
types of research
You will learn how to research material using a variety of
• Theoretical research- uses the research completed by others.
This may be: reading other people’s theories, watching
documentaries, visiting websites.
• Empirical research- this is based on observation or
experiment. This may be: preparing and distributing a
questionnaire, watching an audience when they are watching
• Primary research- you are active in forming a piece of original
research (interviews, focus groups, questionnaires)
• Secondary research- any research that someone else has
completed (books, articles, documentaries, websites)
You can use these research methods to
gain different types of information
Quantitative: These findings will be centred on numbers. For
example, it will be how many people think Uma Thurman in Kill
Bill is a positive female representation.
Qualitative: These findings are based on quality, detailed
content. For example it could be a quote from someone about
Uma Thurman. The someone could be an academic, a
respondent in your focus group or questionnaire.
How to reference research (see
How to research key, relevant
Last lesson we learnt how to reference research material. Why is
it VITAL that you do this?
Today we are going to understand HOW to research. So how to
select key, relevant material that will help you answer your
specific question/ topic.
Using the contents page
Where would you go
to find about:
1. Economic migrants
in British film?
2. An essay about
Use the INDEX page
Where can you find
out something about
How about The
Onceyouhavefoundthe right page/ chapter/
You don’t have to read the whole thing.
You need to skim and scan to select the relevant material for
your topic. Some of it won’t be important.
Highlight the relevant information so it stands out on the page.
You can also annotate the margin to help you.
Read/ skim page 1 of the Fight Club essay and answer the
1. How is Marla Singer described?
2. How does the narrator’s opinion of Marla change during
Select and highlight the relevant information.
Creating your own mini research
project in groups.
Task 1. Use the research material I have given you to skim and
highlight relevant information to help you answer the given topic title.
Group 1: The characteristics of Helena Bonham Carter’s performance
across different directors. (Star/ performer)
Group 2: Representations of the black male in British film (Ethnicity)
Group 3: The representation of women in contemporary horror films
Group 4: Richard Linklater (Auteur study)
Ext: Have a go at
material you use
Mini research project cont…
Task 2: Add to the research you collected last lesson! Use other
research methods, for example the internet, books, magazines,
your own quantitative research to prepare a power point
presentation, annotated catalogue and presentation script
based on your topic title (see the sheet to help you work
You have 4/5 lessons to complete this task.
Task 3: Present your research project to the class.