Short Documentary: Research and Production (853P4B)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module focuses on the methods, processes and research techniques involved in the development of documentary projects from initial concept to distribution, with close analyses of how the different stages of a production are related and may be planned. You will learn how to identify original sources and subjects with a view to creating a distinctive style and approach through practical exercises and the shooting of pilot material. You will study and undertake the development process in relation to acquiring a critical understanding of the markets and other exhibition possibilities for projects from galleries and festivals to the web and television. You will look at how to locate and utilise archives, contributors, interviewees, performers, locations and facilities. Key areas to be explored include scripting, budgeting, scheduling, copyright and contracts, with reference to contemporary and historical examples. You will also look critically at a range of production methods and ways of working through looking both at case studies of specific productions and companies. You may undertake short optional placements as part of your research for this unit.


15%: Lecture
77%: Practical (Practical, Workshop)
9%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.