You are here

Media and Communication Research Methods

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
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

Preview this book

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format: