What is Media Research?


Initially I found the question “what is media research?” to be quite straightforward. Originally I thought it was just that, researching media. I also found the question to not be just vague but quite ambiguous in a sense that it could be interpreted in many different ways. After searching through readings and online articles I found it to be more than just that.

Berger (2014) exclaims that we are ALWAYS researching even if we don’t realise it. Ever wanted to buy a new car? I bet you did some research on what was the best. Ever needed to buy a new phone? I’m sure you searched to find out what suited your needs. This is all research but we may not recognise it. There is though the difference between every day research and scholarly research. Berger (2014) describes scholarly research as being “more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness”. There is an extensive process to scholarly research and the process goes as follows (McCutcheon, 2015):

  1. Observation
  2. Data gathering
  3. Theory
  4. Hypothesis
  5. Further data gathering
  6. Data analysis
  7. Deduction

When talking in terms of media research, this category encompasses numerous subjects, as the field is extraordinarily wide and multidisciplinary (McCutcheon, 2015). These subjects range from hip-hop to art film to reality TV to comics. Media research is usually looked at in terms of qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data is data that can’t be measured. It looks at aspects of texts including its properties, degree of excellence and distinguishing characteristics (Berger, 2014). Quantitative on the other hand looks at numbers and measurements although this type of research can be narrow, as many literary texts cannot be counted.

The media topic I am most interested in is music. Music is something I am passionate about and therefore find interesting to research. I think this could be a great media outlet to talk about and research as there are many websites dedicated to music knowledge, reviews and news. Music articles are great to look at in terms of researching qualitative and quantitative data e.g. one may count the success of an album to be in its album sales (quantitative) or one may count the albums success to be through its lyrics and sound (qualitative). Another topic that I would be interested in looking at is documentaries such as those from Louis Theroux. These short documentaries show clear evidence of primary research and generally have the layout of how the research process takes place, starting with a hypothesis and coming to a conclusion. Other TV shows such as Myth busters would be a great to look at. It shows a great deal of research throughout and there is also the clear presence of the research process, alike to Theroux’s documentaries.

Who knows, I may change my mind on what I find interesting to research. But for now, wish me luck.


Berger, A 2014, ‘What is research?’, Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32.

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘Lecture 2: What is media research?’ PowerPoint slides, BCM210, University of Wollongong, 11th March 2015

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