We are back! Well, by we I mean me, for another year of blog posts, thumping fingers on keyboards and fits of University stress in all its profound glory! And who wouldn’t want all that, again; and again, and now with my double degree, again.
Nevertheless, here we are, amidst an exciting new semester of media theories, concepts and practicality. This semester, this blog site will be devoted entirely to BCM210, or Research Practices In Media and Communication. Was that an expression of curiousness that you just displayed on your face, puzzled at what this research in media and communication could possibly be?
Well it’s a good thing you have asked, because the rest of this post will delve into this wonderful world of Media Research. Research can be simply defined as “to search for, to find” (Berger, 2014) So if your favourite TV show suddenly disappears from the Foxtel TV guide, it’s most likely due to media research findings that show only you and a handful of others watched Sharknado.
As also mentioned by Berger, if someone wants to purchase an item (say an airline ticket), then the potential buyer will conduct their own methods of research, whether through reviews, airline websites or travel agents; the potential consumer will always do their best to research all aspects.
Now, to the boring bit. Concepts and theories. The research process is a long, arduous journey that can shift in it’s finding’s in a moments notice. That’s why it is important to constructively break each method down to understand the collective whole.
1. Observation- This is the ability to observe and delve deeper into the top layers of something, i.e. social media discussion of Hilary Clinton is more negative than positive.
2. Initial Data Gathering- Discuss your options, potential avenue of sources and conduct a literature review. Is this something already done? What sources will be the most reputable?
3. Theory and Hypothesis Formula- A theory is a system of idea that explains something – a hypothesis is a question that is tested using evidence to prove or disprove a theory. i.e. Theory- Hilary Clinton is losing credibility leading up to 2016. Hypothesis- Is the negative discussion on Hilary Clinton due to her private email controversy? Or is it just rampant media talk?
4. Questioning Process- Researchers must structure their questions in a way that best reflects their topic/query.
5. Further Data Gathering- Once researchers have a hypothesis, the next step is gathering relevant data. The two types of data gathering are Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative involves numbers, magnitude and measurements, however it can be too narrow and not count everything. It also focuses on the audience and statistics. Qualitative focuses on media text qualities, evaluations, pop culture and the philosophy of communication.
6. Data Analysis- Test and analyse the significance of the results. For example, the number of negative articles about Clinton over the last week, in contrast to positive ones. Also, the reasons behind each subjective reason why.
Deduction- Interpret the conclusions of the data analysis and what it means.
So now that all the nitty and gritty of the research process is covered, allow me to briefly outline what media & communication research is. Media and communication research is within an extraordinarily wide ranging multidisciplinary field. This can vary from who owns the media, who influences it and the influence of technology.
As to the question which Media Research i will be doing, who knows! I am still undecisive as to exactly what i should do, let alone what i may do, so stay tuned UOW!
Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32
McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘What is Media Research?’, powerpoint slides, BCM210, UOW, viewed 11.3.15.