During your Media Studies course you will be required to learn how to communicate in a variety of different genres. Learning to identify these genres, their audiences, styles and conventions, and to adapt your writing style in accordance with them, will be essential to your progress. If you are aiming to achieve high grades, the first and foremost of these genres to master is academic essay writing.
From film to Facebook, landlines to laptops, and television to tablets, life in the twenty-first century is increasingly dominated by a wide variety of new media. Media studies is a discipline that concerns itself with the form, content, production and effects of various kinds of media, with a special (but not exclusive) focus upon the so-called ‘mass media'.
Drawing upon both the humanities and the social sciences, researchers in media studies may employ methods and theories from disciplines as diverse as communication studies, critical theory, sociology, cultural studies, literary theory, political science, anthropology, film theory, information theory, aesthetics, gender studies and rhetoric. Whenever working in such a rich, interdisciplinary field, it is crucially important not to lose site of the basics.
Crucial to understanding media and communication of all kinds is to take into account the target audience, and this is no less the case when it comes to academic essay writing. The ‘end consumer' of your university assignments will be your lecturers, tutors and examiners, and they will expect you adhere to the rigorous standards and conventions of academic scholarship.
Most of the writing you will be required to submit on your media studies course will take the form of argumentative or thesis-based essays. Rather than merely summarising the ideas of others, this means that you will be expected to articulate a clear, coherent position of your own, and to back it up with carefully reasoned arguments and appropriate evidence. It is this emphasis upon objective inquiry, critical thinking and rational argumentation and that makes academic writing different from that of most other genres.
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