A level Media Studies support site

A level Media Studies support site
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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

G325 Critical approaches

How can you only give 40 min per question at A2?

The exam is 2x30 min and one one hour question

Can you explain the link between coursework and exam at A2?

q.1a is about their progression across their production work and a braod idea like 'pre-production' or 'technology' or 'creativity' is used to stimulate the response

q.1b requires close textual analysis in relation to one or two concepts like 'narrative' or 'genre' of one of their productions

Can we have some bullet point elaboration on areas to explore under the headings?

We'll see what we can provide- it will appear on here when it comes!

can you suggest some talking points for writing about creativity?

This presentation by Mark readman from last year's OCR conference is a really good starting point

what theoretical perspectives should be covered for success with q.1a and b?

They need to understand the concepts that are in the list and be able to apply them. For broader perspectives like say postmodernism, it might be more a case of applying what they learn for q.2 to examples of their work as relevant.

How do students talk about progress over two projects?

They need to have a framework covering the concepts to apply to their work. It would be essential to spend class time going back over their work towards the end of the course and applying new ideas to the analysis of it.

Should examples include dates, director etc


Can they refer exclusively to personal projects?

I think they would find it difficult to answer without reference to their A level work but they would not be penalised for a good answer that looked solely at relevant work outside the course

what is meant by media language?

The way that meaning is made using the conventions of the particular medium and type of media product. A broader category allowing cands to write about elements of semiotics, genre, narrative, design, structure, codes and conventions, time and space, aesthetics, spoken, written and v isual language to name just a few examples. To give one specific example, the use of continuity editing in a film sequence.

How many case studies should students revise?

Can do one theme if you like, must have at least two media and therefore at least two texts

Should they compare web 1.0 and web 2.0 websites as examples?

would probably be hard to find 1.0, but talk about the key differences would be sensible

A2 exam what needs memorising? film, director, dates? how accurate do they need to be?
theorists? date of publication?

Accurate referencing will be rewarded. It is an important skill for HE.

Could we have a medium term scheme of work for G325 for 1/2 units so we can see how to hit all the requirements?

We will try! I think there are already some available from hodder and this one on the OCR site

Q.2 can we focus on censorship? do we have to explore piracy and control of conglomerates? for media regulation

Knowledge of what the regulation practices of different media are is the requirement for this unit, coupled with debates about those regulation practices, so piracy may be relevant but is not at the core of it.

Can we have some examples of A2 sample essays

Not till after the january exams, otherwise you just get essays written by examiners, which are not really 'realistic'

is it correct to assume gender and ethnicity are specific groups for A2?

Not really, but men, women, transgender people, asian british, sub-sahara africans, etc would be...aim to be more specific in the case studies.

One delegate recommended 'headliners' for young people representing themselves as a case study

is it ok to do two British case studies? e.g. youth in British film and tv?

Yes fine

How many texts should we study?

Not too many or they get confused, but it is up to you

Is it ok to refer to texts from other cultures?


If students sit the exam in january, are they at a disadvantage due to having not started A2 production?

Yes insofar as they would have less to write about and less choice

Should we cover more than one topic?

Up to you but I would as there is so much potential for productive crossover between them

Collective Identity topic: do students need to look at institutions within this?

Yes, where relevant. They might for example be looking at collective identity on MySpace, where it would be relevant to consider who owns it and what they want the site to do for their business and how this relates to the collective audience and its identity.

Are there any theories you would recommend for representation of youth in Collective Identity topic?

Writers/critics to consider might include: Stanley Cohen, Angela McRobbie, David Buckingham and Christine Griffin


  1. Theme suggestions -

    The best way of getting a regular stream of ideas for the Critical Perspectives unit is to follow me on twitter (JulianMcDougall - no space). On average I tweet three ideas a week. Also, I make no apology for plugging the A2 Hodder textbook as I wrote 30,000 words there on the theory topics alone. But those aside, here are some suggestions as requested, and these are JUST ideas, not a definitive OCR list. Please refer to the spec in the first instance -

    Media and Collective Identity -
    EITHER a comparison of how the identity of a group of people is partly constructed through media representations across two or more media, or a comparison of two groups, or a study of contrasting types of identity altogether in relation to the media (for example, how our identities are collectively constructed in social networking spaces compared with how feminist cinema constructs meanings about gender.

    A more or less broad study looking at this issue as a debate (ie an idea to be challenged). Obvious examples are local press v global news. Or world cinema. Or diaspora. Or BBC format exporting. Two or more of these.

    Again, any 'case study' across two or more media that lets you 'test out' this idea that we now make our own media. Or a 'we media' example (eg citizen journalism, pirate bay, youtube distribution, social networking communities) set against a more 'traditional' discussion of the media and democracy - eg Nick Griffin on QT, role of the BBC, attempts by media corporations to fight back against free content and downloading.

    Ironically perhaps, this could be the most 'orthodox' in the sense that you can take a film and a TV programme that have been given the label 'postmodern' and say why, as long as you can 'test out' the theory as you go. Or a film maker or musician or ad campaign or media art intervention or anything which allows students to show they understand what 'postmodern' means.

    Examples from more than one media of how the internet has changed things for producers, audiences, society. This theme links with most of the others. An example - BBC and iplayer + Pirate Bay.

    Pretty straightforward but I do really recommend that the Byron reort forms part of this. Eg - attempts to regulate the internet compared with more straightforward film or press regulation. Important - must have grasp of the current situation for the media chosen.

    NB - for all themes, candidates must write about historical detail and predict future developments AT SOME POINT (ie briefly). Contemporary here means in the last 5 years. And the discussion of two media need not be equal, it is OK for one to be the main example and the other to be supplementary.

    Hope this helps but it is really just a fairly arbitrary selection because the point of the unit is that it is open for the broadest range of responses.

  2. Hi, I've posted some resources at

  3. If students were to write about their use of 'Media Language' within production work in the exam.

    How should they approach this question?