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MEDIA RESEARCH

WHAT IS RESEARCH?

Research is an attempt to discover what is not known or search for new knowledge. It is an extension of existing knowledge and information with a new aspect. Research can be very informal or it can be formal. If it is informal, it is not scientific and procedural and with few specific plans. If it is formal, the researcher follows highly defined and exacting procedures. Both procedures can be good or bad, depending on the specific requirements of research problem. The important thing for any researcher (formal research or informal research) to understand is the correct approach to follow to ensure the best results.

MEDIA RESEARCH AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD:-

Scientific research is an organized, objective, controlled, qualitative or quantitative empirical analysis of one or more variables. All research, whether formal or informal, begins with a basic question or proposition about a specific research problem. For example, why do viewers select one television program over another? Which sections of the newspaper do people read most often? These questions can be answered to some degree with well-designed research studies.

METHODS OF KNOWING:-

Researcher and social scientist, Kerlinger (2000) has given four approaches to finding answers or methods of knowingTenacity Intuition Authority Science A Researcher using the method of tenacity follows the logic that something is true because it has always been true. For example, a Store Owner says I dont advertise because my parents did not believe in advertising the idea is that nothing changes and status quo will be continuing. By using method of Intuition or the a priori approach, a person assumes that something is true because it is self-evident or stands to reason.

For example, some creative people in advertising agencies resist efforts to test their advertising methods because they believe they know what will attract customers and for them a scientific research method is a waste of time. The method of Authority promotes a belief in something because a trusted source, such as a parent, a news correspondent, or a teacher, says it is true. Here, the emphasis is on the source, not on the methods the source may have used to gain the information. The scientific method approaches learning as a series of small steps. That is one study or one source provides only an indication of what may or may not be true; The truth is found through a series of objective analyses. It means that the scientific method is self-correcting in that changes in thought or theory are appropriate when errors in previous research are uncovered. The scientific research method may be inappropriate in many areas of life- like in evaluating works of art, choosing a religion, or forming friendships- but it has been valuable in producing accurate and useful data in mass media research.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD:-

There are five basic characteristics or tenets that distinguish the scientific method from other methods of knowing. A research approach that does not follow these tenets is not a scientific approach-

Scientific research is public-

Researchers cannot plead private knowledge, methods, or data in arguing for the accuracy of their findings; Scientific research information must freely communicate from one researcher to another. Researchers also need to save their descriptions of observations or data and their research materials so that information not included in a formal report are available to other researchers on request. Researchers can verify results only if they have access to the original data.

Science is Objective-

Science tries to rule out eccentricities of judgment by researchers. When a study is undertaken, explicit rules and procedures are constructed and the researcher is bound to follow them, letting the chips fall where they may. Objectivity also requires that scientific research deal with facts rather than interpretations of facts. Science rejects its own authorities if their statements conflict with direct observation.

Science is Empirical-

Researchers are concerned with a world that is knowable and potentially measurableEmpiricism comes from the Greek word for experienceThey must be able to perceive and classify what they study and to reject metaphysical and nonsensical explanations of events. Scientists must link abstract concepts to the empirical world through observations, made either directly or indirectly via various measurements tools. Science is systematic and cumulative :- Researcher must use previous studies as building blocks or base for their own research work. A Theory is a set of related propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relationships among concepts. Science is predictive:- science is concerned with relating the present to the future.

ELEMENTS OF RESEARCH-

Concepts and Constructs :- A concept is a term and it tells an abstract idea formed by generalizations from particulars observations or occurrence. Table concept:- The word table is a concept that represents a wide variety of observable objects, ranging from a plank supported by concrete blocks to a piece of furniture commonly found in dining rooms. Typical concepts in Mass Media Research include terms such as advertising effectiveness, message length, media usage, and readability. Concepts are important for two reasons- One, they simplify the research process by combining particular characteristics, objects, or people into more general categories. For example, a researcher may study those families having computers, modems, electronic gizmos. And to describe these families, the researcher categorizes them under the concept of technologically advanced families. And now the researcher has a general term that is more inclusive and convenient to use instead of describing each family of the characteristics that make these families unique. Second, concepts simplify communication among those who have a shared understanding of them. Researchers use concepts to organize their observations into meaningful summaries and to transmit this information to others. For example, researchers how use the concept of Agenda Setting to describe a complicated set of audience and media activities find that their colleagues understand what is being discussed.

So, people must share an understanding of a concept (common concept) in order to for the concept to be useful.

CONSTRUCTS- A construct is a concept that has three distinct characteristics. 1. It is an abstract idea that is usually broken down into dimensions represented by lower-level concepts. In other words, a construct is a combination of various concepts. 2. Second, a construct (as it is abstract) usually cannot be observed directly. 3. Third, a construct is usually designed for some particular research purpose so that its exact meaning relates only to that context in which it is found. 4. For example, the construct involvement has been used in many advertising studies. It is a construct that is difficult to see directly, and it includes the concepts of attention, interest, and arousal or excitement. 5. Researchers can observe only its likely or presumed manifestations. 6. In some contexts, involvements means a subjects involvement with the product; 7. In others, it refers to involvement with the message or even with the medium. 8. Its precise meaning depends on the research context.
The empirical counterpart of a construct or concept is called a variable. Variables are important because they link the empirical world with the theoretical world. Variables are the phenomenon and events that can be measured or manipulated in research. Concepts and Constructs are valuable tools in theoretical research Researchers also function at the observational or empirical level

INDEPENDENT & DEPENDENT VARIABLES:1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Definition of variable is in the context of researcher use in research study. Variables are classified in terms of their relationship with one another. Independent variables are systematically varied by the researcher Dependent variables are observed and their values are presumed to depend on the effects of the independent variables. For example, a researcher is interested in determining how the angle of a camera shot affects an audiences perception of the credibility of a television newscaster. For this, three versions of a newscast are video-graphed- one shot from a very low angle, another from a high angle, and a third from eye level. Groups of subjects (audience members) are randomly assigned to view one of the three versions and complete a questionnaire to measure the newscasters credibility. In this experiment, the camera angle is the independent variable.

9. The experimenter, who selects only three of the camera angles possible, systematically varies its values. 10. So, the dependent variable to be measured is the the perceived credibility of the newscaster. 11. In this, if the researchers assumption is correct, the newscasters credibility will vary according to the camera angle. Here, the values of the dependent variable are not manipulated; they are just observed or measured. 12. The distinction between both types of variables (dependent & independent) depends on the purposes of the research. 13. An independent variable in one study may be a dependent variable in another study. 14. Also, a research work may involve examining the relationship of more than one independent variable to a single dependent variable. 15. In many research studies, multiple dependent variables are measured in a single research study. This type of study is called a Multivariate analysis. DISCRETE AND CONTINUOUS VARIABLES Two types of variables are used in mass media investigation. A Discrete Variable includes only a finite set of values; It cannot be divided into subparts. For example, the no. of children in a family is a discrete variable because the unit is a person. Political affiliation, population, and gender are other discrete variables. A continuous variable can take on any value (including value in fractions like , , etc.) and can be meaningfully broken into smaller subsections. Height is a continuous variable. It is possible to distinguish between one persons height 72.113 inches and another 72.114 inches. Similarly, time spent watching television is another example; it is perfectly meaningful to say that person A spent 3.12115 hours viewing while person B watched 3.12114 hours. The average number of children in a family is a continuous variable; it may be perfectly meaningful to refer to 0.24 of person. When dealing with continuous variables, one should keep in mind the distinction between the variable and the measure of the variable. If a childs attitude toward television violence is measured by counting his or her positive responses to six questions, then there are only seven possible scores- 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. It is possible, that the underlying variable is continuous even though the measure is discrete. As a generalization, most of the measure in mass media research tends to be discrete approximations of continuous variables.

DEFINING VARIABLES OPERATIONALLY1. Research depends on observations, and observations cannot be made without a clear statement of what is to be observed. An operational definition is such a statement. 2. Operational definitions are indispensable in scientific research because they enable researchers to measure relevant variables. 3. In a research study, it is necessary to provide operational definitions for both independent variables and dependent variables. 4. Kerlinger (2000) has given two types of operational definitions of variables- Measured and Experimental. 5. Operationally defining a variable forces a researcher to express abstract concepts in concrete terms. 6. A measured operational definition specifies how to measure a variable. For example,

MASS MEDIA VARIABLES-

PROCEDURES OF RESEARCH- STEPS IN RESEARCH PROCESS Research Process involves many steps to be followed in order to achieve the scientific conclusions for the selected research topics; The typical research process consists of these 8 steps1. Selecting or Defining a research problem (or deciding a research topic) 2. Review of existing research work or literatures and theories, relevant , on selected topic; 3. Developing Hypothesis or Research Questions; 4. Determining an appropriate research methodology and Research design or research type; 5. Gathering or collecting relevant data by the use of research methods and tools selected; 6. Analysis and Interpreting the gathered data by the use of Tabulation, classifications of data by the use of various statistical methods; 7. Deriving conclusions from the analysis of gathered data 8. Presenting the Results in an appropriate formats like Dissertation or Research Report 9. Replicating the research study (when necessary) to extend the knowledge

Sources For Gathering Data for Research Study1. Primary Data-

2. Secondary Data-