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Media and Communication Research Methods

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

Fifth Edition

December 2018 | 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
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

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


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


Further Reading

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


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


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


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


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


Further Reading

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


Problems With Interview Material

Interviews: Applications and Exercises


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


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


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


Further Reading

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


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


Obtaining Random Samples

Evaluating Survey Accuracy

Surveys: Applications and Exercises


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


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


The Problem of Interpretation

Statistics and Problems Caused by Definitions

Statistics: Applications and Exercises


Further Reading

16. Nineteen Common Thinking Errors
Common Fallacies


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


Further Reading

Name Index
Subject Index
About the Author

it offers individual chapters for all types of qualitative research (semiotic, discourse, rhetorical, etc)
it also includes chapter exercises and examples

Professor Danianese Woods
Communication Dept, Southern Utah University
March 31, 2021

Excellent Research textbook

Dr Samuel Osunde
Mass Communications Dept, Mississippi Valley State Univ
October 21, 2019

For instructors

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