There are 19 set academic ideas and arguments for A Level Media Studies which are outlined in Section 5e of the specification and my blog article explores how they will be assessed and the essentials skills that students will need.
Your students are only expected to be familiar with the ideas outlined in relation to each theorist in the specification, and will only be required to refer to theory in the in-depth studies on News and Long Form Television Drama.
They should be able to identify and understand the key ideas of each theorist, and be aware of which area of the theoretical framework (representations, media language, audiences, and industries) they relate to.
They will be required to apply their knowledge and understanding of media theory to analyse media products and evaluate theoretical ideas in relation to the media forms.
In the News section your students may be asked to refer to a relevant theorist in their analysis of unseen sources. This style of question is exemplified by question 1 of the SAM and Practice Paper (request interchange account access) for Media Messages.
Top band responses will include ‘precise and relevant reference’ to theory, demonstrating accurate knowledge and the ability to apply theory in relation to the focus of the question.
Question 4 in the SAM and Practice Paper demonstrates the style of question in which students are required to evaluate academic ideas in relation to the media form of print or online news.
The key focus of this style of question is considering how useful the theoretical ideas are in relation to the specific media form, with reference to the set products studied used to support points made.
There will be two questions in the LFTV Drama section of the Evolving Media paper, and students should be prepared to refer to academic ideas in either question.
As question 3 is a synoptic question students will be rewarded for referring to different areas of study, including the set academic ideas.
Making reference to theorists from two or more different areas of the theoretical framework is one effective way for students to demonstrate synoptic understanding.
Question 3 may include a specific instruction for students to refer to relevant theory along the lines of the equivalent question in the AS Media Studies exam (question 4) which directs students to ‘refer to relevant academic ideas and arguments in your analysis’.
If there is no explicit direction to refer to theory students will still be rewarded for discussing relevant theoretical ideas in their response, so we would suggest students are prepared to always make reference to theory in this question. Finally question 4 will require students to evaluate the ideas of a specific theorist in relation to the media form of LFTV drama.
For further guidance on this topic a factsheet on Academic Ideas and Arguments can be downloaded from our website, along with a resource offering suggestions on applying academic ideas to LFTV Drama, and teaching activities for academic theory and LFTV drama.
You can also sign up for an upcoming webinar exploring the use of academic ideas in A Level Media Studies.
If you have any questions about the use of the set academic ideas in A Level Media Studies please do share your comment below or get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also keep in touch by following us on Twitter @OCR_Media_Film or sign up to receive email updates on Media Studies.
John Hibbert – Media and Film Studies Subject Advisor
John Hibbert has worked at OCR since April 2018 and is Subject Advisor for Media and Film Studies. Prior to joining OCR John taught a range of Media and Film Studies qualifications in secondary schools, and was a head of department for the last eight years. Predictably, in his spare time he is a keen filmgoer, and in addition enjoys reading and listening to 80s heart throb Jon Bon Jovi.