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Media and Communication Research Methods
An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Fifth Edition


January 2019 | 488 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This step-by-step introduction to conducting media and communication research offers practical insights along with the author’s signature lighthearted style to make discussion of qualitative and quantitative methods easy to comprehend. The Fifth Edition of Media and Communication Research Methods includes a new chapter on discourse analysis; expanded discussion of social media, including discussion of the ethics of Facebook experiments; and expanded coverage of the research process with new discussion of search strategies and best practices for analyzing research articles. Ideal for research students at both the graduate and undergraduate level, this proven book is clear, concise, and accompanied by just the right number of detailed examples, useful applications, and valuable exercises to help students to understand, and master, media and communication research. 

 



 
Preface to the Fifth Edition
 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
Round Up the Usual Suspects

 
Applying the Focal Points Model to Media

 
How I Became a Man Without Quantities

 
Data Man Versus Data-Free Man

 
Kinds of Questions Researchers Ask

 
Conclusions of a Man Without Quantities, Who Is Also a Practicing Theoretician

 
Introduction: Applications and Exercises

 
 
PART I. GETTING STARTED
 
1. What Is Research?
We All Do Research, All the Time

 
Scholarly Research Is Different From Everyday Research

 
Cultural Studies and Research

 
Nietzsche on Interpretation

 
Problem of Certainty

 
Diachronic and Synchronic Research

 
The Way the Human Mind Works

 
Overt and Covert Oppositions

 
Thinking, Fast and Slow

 
Quantity and Quality in Media Research

 
Media and Communication

 
Why a Book That Teaches Both Methodologies?

 
Considering Research Topics

 
What Is Research? Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
2. The Research Process
Search Strategies

 
Sources of Information

 
How to Read Analytically

 
Critical Thinking

 
Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987

 
Doing a Literature Review

 
Primary and Secondary Research Sources

 
Searching on the Internet (or “Find the Info If You Can!”)

 
Using the Internet to Conduct Research

 
Analyzing Methodology in Research Articles

 
The Research Process: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
PART II. METHODS OF TEXTUAL ANALYSIS
 
3. Semiotic Analysis
Saussure’s Division of Signs Into Signifiers and Signifieds

 
Semiotics of Blondeness

 
Semiotics and Society

 
Peirce’s Trichotomy: Icon, Index, and Symbol

 
Allied Concepts

 
Michel Foucault on Codes and Cultural Change

 
Marcel Danesi on Codes and Culture

 
Clotaire Rapaille on Culture Codes

 
Semiotics in Society: A Reprise

 
Syntagmatic Analysis of Texts

 
Paradigmatic Analysis of Texts

 
Applications of Semiotic Theory

 
Paul Ekman on Facial Expression

 
Semiotics: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
4. Rhetorical Analysis
Aristotle on Rhetoric

 
Rhetoric and the Mass Media

 
A Brief Note on the Communication Process

 
Certeau on Subversions by Readers and Viewers

 
Applied Rhetorical Analysis

 
A Miniglossary of Common Rhetorical Devices

 
Other Considerations When Making Rhetorical Analyses

 
A Sample Rhetorical Analysis: A La Mer Advertisement

 
Rhetorical Analysis of the Visual Image

 
Images in Narrative Texts

 
Gangsta Rap and American Popular Culture

 
Rhetorical Analysis: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
5. Ideological Criticism
Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia

 
Defining Ideology

 
Marxist Criticism

 
Roland Barthes on Mythologies

 
The Problem of Hegemony

 
The Base and the Superstructure, False Consciousness, and the “Self-Made Man and Woman”

 
Post-Soviet Marxist Criticism

 
Society of the Spectacle

 
Basic Ideas in Marxist Criticism

 
A Marxist Interpretation of the Fidji “Snake” Advertisement

 
John Berger on Glamour

 
Identity Politics

 
Feminist Criticism of Media and Communication

 
The Social Conception of Knowledge

 
Phallocentric Theory: The Physical Basis of Male Domination

 
Political Cultures, the Media, and Communication

 
Pop Cultural and Media Preferences of the Four Political Cultures

 
Marxist Perspectives on Social Media

 
A Preview of Critical Discourse Analysis

 
Ideological Criticism: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
6. Psychoanalytic Criticism
Freud’s Contribution

 
Smartphones and the Psyche: Applying the Theories of Erik Erikson

 
Smartphones and the Self

 
Neuropsychoanalysis: Freud and Neuroscience

 
Jungian Theory

 
Psychoanalytic Criticism: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
7. Discourse Analysis
Defining Discourse Analysis

 
Teun A. van Dijk on Discourse Analysis

 
Spoken and Written Discourse

 
Styles and Written Discourse

 
Political Ideologies and Discourse Analysis

 
Critical Discourse Analysis

 
Advertising and Critical Discourse Analysis

 
Multimodal Discourse Analysis

 
Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis

 
Fashion and Discourse Analysis

 
A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of an Advertisement

 
Discourse Analysis: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
PART III. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS
 
8. Interviews
The Prisoner Interviews Number Two

 
What Is an Interview?

 
Four Kinds of Research Interviews

 
Why We Use Interviews

 
How to Interview People

 
Kinds of Questions

 
Questions Investigative Reporters Ask

 
The Structure of Conversations and Interviews

 
Transcribing Recorded Interviews

 
Making Sense of Transcribed Interviews

 
Coding

 
Problems With Interview Material

 
Interviews: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
9. Historical Analysis
What Is History?

 
History as Metadiscipline or Specialized Subject

 
Is History Objective, Subjective, or a Combination of the Two?

 
The Importance of Fernand Braudel

 
Kinds of Historical Research

 
The Problem of Writing History

 
The Problem of Meaning

 
Historical Periods

 
Baudrillard and Jameson on Postmodernism

 
Postmodernism and Historiography

 
The Historical and the Comparative Approach

 
History Is an Art, Not a Science

 
Doing Historical Research

 
Historical Analysis: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
10. Ethnomethodological Research
Defining Ethnomethodology

 
Garfinkel’s Ingenious and Mischievous Research

 
Norbert Wiley’s Interesting Perspective on Harold Garfinkel

 
Using Ethnomethodology in Media and Communication Research

 
Metaphors and Motivation

 
Love Is a Game

 
Humorists as Code Violators

 
Techniques of Humor

 
Ethnomethodology and the Communication Process

 
Ethnomethodological Research: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
11. Participant Observation
Defining Participant Observation

 
Significant Considerations When Doing Participant Observation

 
A Case Study of Participant Observation: Readers of Romance Novels

 
Problems With Participant Observation

 
Benefits of Participant Observation Studies

 
Making Sense of Your Findings

 
Writing Up a Participant Observation Study

 
An Ethical Dilemma

 
Ethics and Research Involving Humans

 
Participant Observation: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
PART IV. QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS
 
12. Content Analysis
Defining Content Analysis

 
Why We Make Content Analyses

 
Methodological Aspects of Content Analysis

 
Aspects of Violence

 
Advantages of Content Analysis as a Research Method

 
Difficulties in Making Content Analyses

 
Content Analysis Step-By-Step

 
Content Analysis: Applications and Exercises

 
A Cautionary Note From Denis McQuail

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
13. Surveys
Defining Surveys

 
Kinds of Surveys: Descriptive and Analytic

 
The VALS Typology Survey

 
Methods of Data Collection

 
Advantages of Survey Research

 
Problems With Surveys

 
Surveys and the 2012 Presidential Election

 
Surveys and the 2016 Presidential Election

 
A Note on Media Usage Surveys: Shares and Ratings

 
Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Survey Questions

 
Writing Survey Questions

 
Making Pilot Studies to Pretest Surveys

 
Conducting Online Surveys

 
Samples

 
Obtaining Random Samples

 
Evaluating Survey Accuracy

 
Surveys: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
14. Experiments
Everyday Experimentation

 
Defining Experiments

 
The Structure of an Experiment

 
The Hawthorne Effect

 
Advantages of Experiments

 
Disadvantages of Experiments

 
The “Black Rats” Case and Experimental Fraud

 
A Checklist on Experimental Design

 
What’s an Experiment and What Isn’t?

 
Ethics and the Facebook Experiment

 
Experiments: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
15. A Primer on Descriptive Statistics
Levels of Measurement

 
Descriptive Statistics

 
Measures of Central Tendency

 
Measures of Dispersion

 
The Normal or Bell-Shaped Curve

 
The Problem With Ratings

 
A Cautionary Note on Statistics

 
Using Statistics to Support a Claim

 
Statistics and Comparisons

 
Data on Media Use in America

 
Smartphones

 
The Problem of Interpretation

 
Statistics and Problems Caused by Definitions

 
Statistics: Applications and Exercises

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
PART V. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
 
16. Nineteen Common Thinking Errors
Common Fallacies

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
17. Writing Research Reports
Keeping a Journal

 
A Trick for Organizing Reports

 
Outlines, First Drafts, and Revisions

 
Writing Research Reports

 
The IMRD Structure of Quantitative Research Reports

 
Writing Correctly: Avoiding Some Common Problems

 
Academic Writing Styles

 
A Checklist for Planning Research and Writing Reports

 
Conclusions

 
Further Reading

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Name Index
 
Subject Index
 
About the Author

Excellent Research textbook

Dr Samuel Osunde
Mass Communications Dept, Mississippi Valley State Univ
April 18, 2019
Key features
NEW TO THIS EDITION:
  • A new chapter on discourse analysis (Chapter 7) defines discourse analysis and offers multiples examples for its application.
  • Expanded coverage of the research process offers students new search strategies and best practices for analyzing research articles. 
  • A new discussion of binary oppositions and culture helps students to better understand semiotics.
  • An expanded discussion of social media keeps students engaged with different perspectives of social media, including discussion of the ethics of Facebook experiments.
  • A new discussion of Gangsta Rap encourages students to rhetorically analyze American popular culture.
  • A new discussion of Foucault codes and cultural change helps students better understand the methods of textual analysis.
  • Several new topics connect key concepts to current events, such as William Dutton on the Cambridge Analytica scandal and an Iranian scholar on mistakes made by pollsters for the 2016 election.
  • New insights from experts in the field feature personal correspondence on the personality of the ethnomethodologist Harold Garfinkel and by a psychiatrist on addiction and the relationship between young people and their cell phones.
KEY FEATURES: 
  • Comprehensiveness: From opening discussions on the nature of research to thorough treatment of the methods of textual analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods, and writing up research, breadth of coverage is the hallmark of this text.
  • Humor: Chapter-opening conversations with the author’s “Grand Inquisitor” (who poses questions about the nature of research), numerous cartoons, and references to student life use lively humor to make the material approachable and accessible.
  • Applications and exercises: In each methods chapter, applications and exercises allow students to practice and apply what they’ve learned.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3: Semiotic Analysis

Chapter 5: Ideological Criticism


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