Media research is more than it implies; simply researching the media and its resources. To put it simply, research means ‘to search for, to find’ and is, in the end, looking for information about something(Berger, 2014). Media research in an investigation and there are a wide variety of methods used to gather information. We conduct interviews, surveys and questionnaires to find out what our media consumers prefer. To be able to properly access all of this new found data, we have to utilise the research process. There are many steps to this process. The research process includes observation, initial data gathering, theory formulation, hypothesis formulation, further data gathering, data analysis and deduction. These steps allow information to be fully processed and simplifies the final decision making process.
As discussed in the lecture, research can be broken down into many different categories and sub-categories. Some of the most common ones we use are everyday, scholarly, qualitative and quantitative. Everyday research informs us of the personal decisions we make everyday. Although this is the most common and most used form of research, it is often flawed. This is due to most of the things we do being subjected to common sense. Our choices are often casual and selective. Scholarly research is ‘more systematic, objective, careful and concerned about the correctness and truthfulness’ (Berger, 2014) when compared to everyday research. Its main focus is on knowledge about the real world, as opposed to personal knowledge. This form of research can be further split into qualitative and quantitative research categories.
Qualitative research refers to facts which are found through surveys, sampling, questionnaires and data analysis. It includes popular culture case studies, philosophies of communication, analysis of literature and text, and criticisms of the media. Quantitative research is the ‘numbers, magnitude and measurements’ (Berger, 2014) that are associated with the media.
The act of researching is almost second nature to us, as almost everything involves a bit of research. No matter what we do, we are exposed to all kinds of hot topics and news-worthy stories. Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few, provides you with ‘trending topics’. By simply clicking/ looking through each individual category, we are exposing ourselves to media, and are ultimately researching by reading up on it. I am interested to see how trending topics on social media effects what we deem as important news. The area of the media I am choosing to research is popular culture and the continuous changes associated with it (popular trends/ trending topics feature on social media sites).
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