SSST Subjects

PS410 Political Communication


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA in Political Science and International Relations

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code



Module coordinator

Dr Sabina Čehajić-Clancy


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • Political communication is a discipline that lies at the interface of many social sciences. It focuses on complex relationships that exist between media and public opinion.
  • The main goal of this course is to teach how political opinions and actions are influenced by mass media. The course will discuss elements of bias in communication ranging from priming to stereotyping. It will then move towards communication effects ranging from re-shaping cultural norms to social media effects.
  • Finally, the course will discuss ways in which the news shape public perceptions of the political world, campaign communication and how public opinion affect the manner in which public official govern.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Understanding the process of communication
  • Formation of political opinions and actions
  • Elements of persuasion in communication
  • Priming • Stereotyping in communication
  • Audience attitudes in tastes and standards
  • Changing behaviour in society through mass media
  • Social media effects on political opinions and actions
  • Social media: best and worst practices
  • Political campaigns (strategies and tactics)
  • Personalization of political campaigns (how, why and the effects)
  • Political candidate perception

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30 1 hour 30 hours
Tutorials 15 2 hours 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 110
Total Contact Hours 90
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Final Exam 1 3 hours 50% Week 17/18
Mid-semester test 1 2 hours 15% Week 8
Presentation plus short thought paper 1 30 minutes and 1000 words reflection paper 15% By week 14/ongoing
Essay 1 3000 words 20% By week 15

Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Display detailed and coherent understanding of the process of communication
  • Critically review current ‘state of art’ communication effects, devise and articulate sustained arguments
  • Demonstrate critical knowledge of the how political opinions and actions are influenced by campaigns and media
  • Describe and comment on important research findings in the field of political communication and campaigns

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • . Lectures (ILO:1-4)
  • Course readings and class discussions (ILO:1-4)
  • In-class individual presentations on assigned readings followed by short thought paper (ILO:1-4)
  • Individual consultancy with students as needed (including detailed feedback on their work) (ILO:1-4)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Mid-term exam (ILO:1-3)
  • Essay and in-class presentations (ILO:1-3)
  • Final Exam (ILO: 1-4)

Practical Skills:

  • Ability to analyse communication concepts and theories in a critical and independent manner
  • Communicate appropriate academic insights in a clear and informed manner
  • Identify forms of communication and exercise appropriate judgement as to its use and effectiveness

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Tutorials and lectures (PS: 1-3)
  • Individual assignments (PS: 1-3)
  • Set group exercises (PS: 1-3)

Assessment Strategy:

  • . Individual presentation (PS: 1,3)
  • Short thought paper (PS:2)
  • Essay (PS:2,3)
  • Exams (PS: 1-3)

Transferable Skills:

  • . Presentation skills
  • Clarity of oral argument
  • Written communication skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Course readings and class discussions (TS:1-4)
  • Lectures (TS:1,4)
  • In-class presentation (TS:1-4)

Assessment Strategy:

  • mid-term exam (TS:1-4)
  • Essay (TS:1-4)
  • In-class presentation (TS:1-4)
  • Final Exam (TS: 1-2)

Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Hodkinson, P., (2010). Media, Culture, and Society. Sage Publications
  • Hook, D., Franks, B., & Bauer, M., (2011). The Social Psychology of Communication, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Trent, J., Friedenberg, R., & Denton (2011), Political Campaign Communication. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Supplementary Materials

  •  Bennett, W., (2011).
  • Herman, E., Chomsky, N.,(1998), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Vintage
  • McQuail D., (2010).
  • Robinson P., (2002), The CNN Effect: The myth of news, foreign policy, and intervention. Routledge
  • Theaker, A., (2011),

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : November 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee

Date approved by School Board of Study

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee

Date of Annual Review


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