Documentary Film, History, Theory and Practice: Working with the real, 30 credits

Dokumentärfilm, historia, teori och praktik: Att gestalta med verkligheten, 30 hp


Main field of study

Culture and Media Production

Course level

First cycle

Course type

Single subject course


Mike Jarmon

Course coordinator

Mike Jarmon


Jonas Johansson, Studievägledare

Mike Jarmon, Kursansvarig

Ulrika Sund, Administratör

ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
Single subject course (Half-time, Weekends) Autumn 2022 202234-202323 English Norrköping

Main field of study

Culture and Media Production

Course level

First cycle

Advancement level


Entry requirements

General entry requirements for undergraduate studies   
English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska 6) 
Exemption from Swedish

Intended learning outcomes

Intended learning outcomes

  • After completion of the course the student shall be able to demonstrate knowledge about documentary cinema and its societal contexts, from a historical developmental view through to recent film examples, with a focus on the artistic production.
  • use of typologies of documentary modes of representation as laid out in film theory, and apply the knowledge to films seen and to films made.
  • use methods developed within cultural research to describe and interpret cultural conventions for documentary narration.
  • compare and judge research-based and practice-based methods for documenting and structuring content.
  • apply ethical considerations in documentary productions.
  • evaluate relevant source critical considerations for documentary productions.
  • display ability to search, assemble, evaluate and review information for a set problem.
  • make use of digital technologies for production of linear as well as non-linear narration within the field of film documentary.
  • demonstrate and apply professional knowledge of the digital production work-flow used in documentary film making, recording, narrating, editing and dissemination.
  • judge and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a production’s process. 

Course content

The aim of the course is to combine the development of a documentary film project with a research-based knowledge of conventions and styles of documentary films. The course content is generated through an interplay throughout the course between theoretically substantiated production work and the study of productions based on cultural, social and media theoretical aspects. The course is organized around a project that involves fact based content and IT-based technologies for audio, video and space. 

Teaching and working methods

Teaching will consist of lectures, screenings, seminars, workshops and supervision where students actively contribute with oral presentations and discussions.


The forms of examination include mandatory written assignments and active participation in seminars and workshops. The main examination of the course consist of development of a production log and a documentary film project, from pitch to final film proposal, and the production of a video related to the subject chosen. The production proposal and log should include reflections on ethics, source criticism methods, documentary film style and conventions for narratives. 

The final grade of the course is based on the final production proposal. 

Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course’s study guide. 

If special circumstances prevail, and if it is possible with consideration of the nature of the compulsory component, the examiner may decide to replace the compulsory component with another equivalent component.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it.

If the coordinator has recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

An examiner may also decide that an adapted examination or alternative form of examination if the examiner assessed that special circumstances prevail, and the examiner assesses that it is possible while maintaining the objectives of the course.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.


Three-grade scale, U, G, VG

Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.

If special circumstances prevail, the vice-chancellor may in a special decision specify the preconditions for temporary deviations from this course syllabus, and delegate the right to take such decisions.


Institutionen för kultur och samhälle
Code Name Scope Grading scale
EXA1 Examination 7.5 credits U, G, VG
EXA2 Examination 7.5 credits U, G, VG
EXA3 Examination 7.5 credits U, G, VG
EXA4 Examination 7.5 credits U, G, VG

Regulary literature


Michael Rabiger, Courtney Hermann, (2020) Directing the Documentary 7 New edition Routledge

ISBN: 9780367235574

Nichols Bill, (2017) Introduction to documentary 3 Rev ed Indiana University Press

ISBN: 9780253026859

Winston, Brian, Vanstone, Gail, Chi, Wang, (2017) The act of documenting: documentary film in the 21st century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.,

ISBN: 9781501309175

Additional literature


Nichols, Bill, (2010) Introduction to documentary. [Elektronisk resurs] 2nd ed. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2010.

ISBN: 0253222605, 0253355567, 9780253222602, 9780253355560


Litteraturlistan uppdaterad: 2021-06-24

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