COM115 Media Audiences & Public Opinion (8)

This subject focuses on the various theoretical approaches to understanding and analysing media audiences and the formation of public opinion. The subject considers who/what is meant by the terms 'audience' and 'public'. Audience measurement techniques and developments will be examined in light not only of their effectiveness but also for their broader cultural meaning. The subject will also provide a critical context for understanding media audiences by examining a number of audience research theories such as effects studies, reception theory and ethnography.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2019.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Communication and Creative Industries

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Understand how the media industries measure their audiences.
  • Differentiate between concepts of the public and the audience.
  • Outline the different audience research methodologies.
  • Identify and evaluate how media texts are structured - in relation to the formation of public opinion.
  • Understand the complex ways in which audiences produce meanings for media texts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research and present a written discussion.


This subject will cover the following topics:

Developments and problems in audience research. Effects theory. Ethnography. Reception theory. Television and radio ratings methods. Narrative in news and current affairs. Audiences and talk-back radio. Spin and public opinion. Media representations and public opinion.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 334 733 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2019 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: September 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.