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Practical Research Methods for Media and Cultural Studies

Making People Count

Maire Messenger Davies, Nick Mosdell

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Many very intelligent people don't like dealing with numbers. Similarly, many gifted scientists are not especially interested in studying people and their cultural behaviour. In this book, we argue that being interested in people and their cultures, and helping students and others to use numbers to pursue these interests, are not mutually exclusive. Research methods are becoming an increasingly important requirement for students of all kinds. But many students, particularly those in the humanities, struggle with concepts drawn from the social sciences and find quantitative and statistical information inaccessible and daunting. Nonetheless, such concepts are found in nearly all areas of society, from market research and opinion polls to psychological studies of human behaviour. This book aims to provide a simple guide to the process of conducting research in the humanities, with special reference to media and culture, from the planning stage, through the data gathering, to the analysis and interpretation of results: 'planning it', 'doing it' and 'understanding it'.

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Contents

SECTION ONE: DESIGN: 'PLANNING IT'
1. Introduction
2. What do you want to know? The research question
3. Choosing a method
SECTION TWO: EXECUTION: 'DOING IT'
4. Sampling
5. The practicalities: 'the six Ps'
6. Instrument design: the questionnaire
7. Content analysis
8. Piloting
9. Special audiences: work with children
SECTION THREE: ANALYSIS: 'UNDERSTANDING IT
10. Data analysis
11. Presenting results
12. Information for teachers
13. Conclusion
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES
APPENDICES.

About the Author

Marie Messenger Davies is Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster.

Nick Mosdell is a Lecturer at the School of Journalism in the Media & Cultural Studies Department, Cardiff University.