Close study products (CSPs)

In addition to the broad coverage of all nine media forms, students must engage in the in depth study of at least one audio-visual, one print and one online social and participatory media form. Each in depth study will link the specified media form to all four areas of the theoretical framework.

AQA will publish a list of products that students must study on the secure area of the AQA website on 1 June preceding the start of the course. These are the Close Study Products (CSPs). The CSPs will be reviewed annually. The newspapers will be updated every year in order to ensure that the stories students are covering do not become too outdated. Other products will be refreshed periodically.

You must ensure that you download a new CSP booklet every year in June in order to ensure that your students are studying the correct products as questions in the exams will relate to these products.

AQA will provide information about how to access the CSPs in the CSP booklet that can be downloaded from the secure area of the AQA website.

The Close Study Products (CSPs) will address the requirement that students engage with products which:

  • possess cultural, social and historical significance
  • reflect and illuminate the theoretical framework underlying the study of media together with the theoretical perspectives associated with them
  • illustrate a full range of media products in terms of perceived quality, form and structure
  • provide rich and challenging opportunities for interpretation and in-depth critical analysis, enabling students to develop a detailed understanding of how the media communicate meanings and how audiences respond
  • cover different historical periods and different global settings
  • be intended for different audiences
  • demonstrate emerging, future developments of the media
  • cover examples of media students would not normally engage with
  • at least one media product produced before 1970
  • at least one media product produced for a non-English speaking audience
  • at least one media product produced outside the commercial mainstream
  • at least one media product targeting, or produced by, a minority group.

The focus of study is not the products themselves but, rather, the theoretical framework and contexts of media. Exam questions will focus on the theoretical framework and contexts of the media but students will be expected to answer with reference to, or analysis of, relevant CSPs. These products should be seen as a vehicle for the delivery of the specification, rather than products to be 'learned' in detail.

It is essential that students study all of the CSPs, but it is advised that they are supplemented by further examples of age appropriate media products in order to develop a full knowledge and understanding of the contexts of the media and the theoretical framework.

Where a television programme is set as one of the CSPs, AQA will specify the episode that students should study in depth. Students should develop an outline knowledge of the series to place narrative, plot and genre elements of the specified episodes in context. Please see the Close Study Product booklet for more information about what students need to be familiar with in terms of the television series.

For this course, online, social and participatory media and video games will be linked. There will be some independent online, social and participatory media products and some independent video games but sometimes these two media forms will be linked and video games will be studied alongside associated online, social and participatory media products. Please see the Close Study Products booklet for more information.