Well I’m back again, and for the beginning of this 5 part blog series in my Research Practices in Media and Communication Course, we’ve been asked to look at Media Research in general and the concept of research itself. We as everyday citizens and University students are exposed to and ourselves undertake in research almost everyday. This is due to the fact that the basis of all research is simply asking a question. When reflecting on my usual day at Uni, there will be several instances where research is necessary to complete a certain task. For example, after a very long summer break over the Christmas holidays I had naturally forgotten where most of the buildings at UOW were (embarrassing, I know) so in order to find out where the buildings where for my lectures and tutorials I simply opened the Lost on Campus application on my phone, looked up the building numbers and found where they were on the campus map. This may seem like an over simplified version of what research is but it’s a good example of how we as students are researching and finding out new information everyday. This research can range from small-scale topics such as my example mentioned to scholarly research through the UOW Library’s databases such as Summon to find journal articles for assignments. This type of research however, is highly systematic and objective with less emphasis on statistical data that can be associated with quantitative research.
So return to the original question “what is media research” it is important to distinguish between the two types of research methods in media and communications research: quantitative and qualitative.
When referring to quantitative research, this is the type that involves the “numbers, magnitude and measurement.”(Berger,2014) of media research. Quantitative research counts data, processes that data collected and describes and derives a theory form the evidence in order to analyse it. An example of quantitative research in the modern media landscape is the role of the media research company Neilson who released a report/review on the Australian online landscape, which provided a detailed analysis of statistical data collected by the company from the month of August in 2014.
Looking at qualitative research we can see that the word “quality” hides in it’s name, suggesting that this type of research will involve evaluation of a certain text in the media, judging the text’s distinguishing characteristics and degree of excellence.(Berger, 2014)
Theory aside, now its time for me to tell you which aspects of the media that I would like to research during this course in order to further my understanding of the media research topic itself.
As a conscious member of this vast online media landscape, and as a result of the influence of other media subjects I’ve studied at UOW, I have developed a growing interest in the ethics of reporting human suffering, and ethics in reporting in general. A particular case that has interested me is that of the media coverage of the execution of American journalist James Foley by ISIS. This may be the inner budding journalist in me talking but I’m the opinions of others on the crude and disrespectful manner that several newspapers both online and print publicised the pictures and close-ups of Foley’s execution on their publications for the world to see. Not to go too in depth into this topic but I would be very interested to research A. Differing opinions/reactions to this topic and B. the ethics involved in publishing these pictures against the wishes of James Foley’s grieving family. Of course there are other interesting aspects of reporting in an ethical manner.
That’s just a taste of what’s to come. Thanks for reading 🙂
NB: all sources used have been hyperlinked throughout the post.