Media Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

This sample media research paper features: 2800 words (approx. 9 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 13 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

The term media refers broadly to the range of tools that humans have used throughout history to communicate with each other about a shared reality. The most common reference is to the set of modern technologies – from the printing press to the Internet – which facilitate communication across space, time, and social collectives.

Academic Writing, Editing, Proofreading, And Problem Solving Services

Get 10% off with 24start discount code, history of the concept of media.

The Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED) notes that while classical Latin medium referred to some middle entity or state, in postclassical Latin and in British sources from the twelfth century onward, medium and media also came to denote the means of doing something. On the one hand, a medium could be understood as a more or less incidental presence, linking natural phenomena of this world and some metaphysical realm. On the other hand, a medium can serve as an intentional instrument of human action in a modern sense. In the latter respect, the OED distinguishes two conceptions – medium as an artistic modality, material, or technique; and medium as a channel of mass communication – both of them from the mid-nineteenth century. This was the period when a general idea of communication took hold (Peters 1999), partly in response to new technological means of communication with important social and aesthetic implications, from telegraph and telephone, to film, radio and, later, television. It was not until the 1960s, however, that media came into general use as a term covering diverse technologies and institutions, most commonly in the sense of mass media, communicating from one center to a mass of dispersed and anonymous receivers.

Media Research Paper

Three Disciplinary Roots of Concepts

Each media concept implies a particular understanding of the basic communication model of sender, message, and receiver. The first concept, articulated in Lasswell’s paradigm (Lasswell 1948) – who says what, in which channel, to whom, with what effect – approached the medium as a neutral conduit for the dissemination of information of all kinds. In order to assess the effects and implications of a given medium, such as a newspaper or a radio station, scholars might focus their attention on the strategies of the sender, the selectivity of the communicated message, the reach of the medium in question, or the susceptibility of the receivers to particular ideas. A great deal of subsequent work has questioned Lasswell’s focus on separate stages of communication, as associated with separate forms of media analysis. In fairness, Lasswell further emphasized the function of media as mechanisms of surveillance at a macro-level. Media are means of monitoring a society as well as its surroundings with a view to self-protection, self-regulation, and long-term stability. In this regard, media can be understood in social scientific terms as a particular set of institutions in society.

The second variant was stated in the mathematical theory of communication. Its basis was Claude Shannon’s research and development regarding the physical and technological conditions for the transfer of signals in telephone systems. A number of the insights were presented in a joint publication with Warren Weaver (Shannon & Weaver 1949), and it was this volume that influenced a good deal of theory development on media. In fact, Shannon was addressing the material aspects of how to design a communication system. In its popularized form, however, the underlying model of engineering was applied to humans as a description of social interaction. Although such applications have regularly been criticized as metaphorical and imprecise, the model has remained an important part of the heritage of communication theory. This may be due, in part, to the obvious point that media are concrete vehicles whose affordances and constraints condition their potential role in human communication. The attempt to account for media as material technologies with social implications has continued to occupy communication researchers.

The third concept derives from humanistic perspectives on media as aesthetic means of expression and as carriers of cultural and historical meaning. Rooted in centuries of rhetorical and hermeneutic scholarship, this discursive media concept received an influential formulation in Roman Jakobson’s (1960) model of communication. While carrying an outward resemblance to the models of Lasswell and Shannon and Weaver, Jakobson’s model grew out of literary theory, highlighting the various communicative functions of different linguistic and aesthetic choices by authors. Jakobson further made a distinction between the channel (what he termed contact – the material relation, such as book, newspaper, or Internet) and the code (the modalities or forms of expression, such as speech, writing, music, moving images, etc.). Compared to both Lasswell and Shannon and Weaver, however, Jakobson stayed entirely within the boundaries of the text or message, calling for an immanent analysis of how communicative functions manifest themselves in concrete textual structures, and bracketing the social contexts and uses of, for instance, literature or advertising. Much humanistic scholarship, accordingly, has approached media as forms of expression that are externalized and available for study in the form of discourses.

An Interdisciplinary Concept of Media

Particularly since the 1980s, much media research has been characterized by efforts at combining and integrating these concepts as dimensions within some form of theoretical systematic. A common position is that all three perspectives are necessary, and none of them sufficient, for a scientifically valid and socially relevant field of media studies. Interdisciplinary research and debate has explored not least the relationship between social sciences (media as institutions) and humanities (media as discourses) (for overview, see Jensen 2002b). Until recently, there appears to have been relatively less theory development devoted specifically to the interrelations between media as material technologies and media as institutions and discourses – despite the wealth of research on new media technologies as well as a growing interest in the distinctive affordances of different media technologies and their historical uses. Digitization has provided an impetus for reconsidering how, concretely, the materiality of media shapes, and is shaped by, culture and society.

The individual media can be understood as characteristic configurations of the human potential for communication at a given historical time. These configurations are organized along three dimensions – materials, modalities, and institutions – as identified in the three conceptions of a medium.

Media are physical materials which – in a particular cultural shape – enable forms of communication that previously had not been possible. Sound recordings, from the late 1800s, made possible the preservation of parts of the cultural heritage that until then had disappeared into the air. From the 1910s, recorded sound became mobile with the introduction of portable gramophones. And, from 1979, media users wearing a Walkman were able to create soundscapes that were at once mobile and private.

It is through specific forms of expression and experience that media enable human communication – language, music, moving images, etc. These modalities, on the one hand, are grounded biologically in the human senses. On the other hand, modalities have been subject to millennia of differentiation and cultivation. In modern media technologies, the modalities have entered into shifting and evolving genres – from novels and radio serials, to music videos and virtual worlds.

Institutions

Media, finally, constitute distinctive institutions in society: through media, individuals and collectives can describe and reflect upon themselves as well as the rest of society. Media and other social institutions have jointly reproduced each other under changing technological and cultural circumstances. Print and electronic media extended cultures in space and sustained nation-states over time; nation-states and international treaties regulate the legal limits of public communication and the economic bases of each new medium. Television, for example, was developed as a consumer good for the home, financed by advertising or license fees, even though the material technology might have been framed socially on the model of cinema as a public or community activity.

In comparison with other meaningful cultural artifacts and social arrangements – from interior decorating to business transactions – the media that constitute the objects of analysis in media and communication research, are distinguished by their programmability, being uniquely flexible resources for the articulation of information and communicative interaction as part of an ongoing social structuration (Giddens 1984).

Whereas programmability is most commonly associated with the various levels of the digital computer, other communication platforms also lend themselves to combinatorial configurations. First, the modalities of media amount to semiotic registers of language, music, images, etc., allowing for an immense repertoire of genres and discourses, and engaging the human senses in selective and culturally conventional ways. Thus, media make possible the rendering of and interaction with worlds past and present, real and imagined. Second, the technologies of media provide the material substratum of such representations, not as fixed conduits, but as resources for accomplishing particular social and aesthetic ends. Third, media communicate to, about, and on behalf of social institutions, which, again, are shaped and reshaped through communication. As combinatorial systems, media and societies can be said to mutually program each other – a notion that, for example, systems theory has elaborated and formalized. The degrees of freedom that condition this entire process, in three dimensions, help to account for the relative indetermination of the structures and outcomes of mediated communication, and continue to challenge research on the question of what difference the media make.

Media of Three Degrees

The coming of digital media has stimulated renewed research interest in the duality of mediated and nonmediated communication. For one thing, ordinary human conversation, while nonmediated by technologies, is mediated by aural–oral modalities, in addition to body language, broadly speaking. For another thing, computer-mediated communication – email, chat, online gaming – often carries a stronger resemblance to interpersonal than to mass communication. In order to assess the implications of digital media as emerging social and cultural institutions, much ongoing work has begun to address the interrelations between different media types (Bolter & Grusin 1999; Manovich 2001; Lievrouw & Livingstone 2002). One explanatory framework would distinguish between media of three degrees (Jensen 2002a).

Media of the first degree can be defined as the biologically based, socially formed resources that enable humans to articulate an understanding of reality, for a particular purpose, and to engage in communication about it with others. The central example is verbal language, or speech, as constitutive of oral cultures and subcultures – additional examples include song and other musical expression, dance, drama, painting, and creative arts generally, often relying on mechanical techniques such as musical instruments and artistic or writing utensils as necessary elements. Importantly, such media depend on the presence of the human body in local time–space. While one might identify (spoken) language, or the human voice, as the medium, it is helpful to differentiate between, for instance, speech and song as media with reference to their different modalities, sharing the same material substratum, but commonly addressing different social institutions, contexts, and practices.

Media of the second degree come under the classic definition by Walter Benjamin (1936/1977) of the technically reproduced and enhanced forms of representation and interaction which support communication across space and time, irrespective of the presence and number of participants. Whereas Benjamin emphasized photography, film, and radio, media of the second degree range from early modern examples, including the standardized reproduction of religious and political texts by the printing press, to television and video. The common features are, first, one-to-one reproduction, storage, and presentation of a particular content and, second, radically extended possibilities for dissemination across time and space. These technologies had important consequences for major social institutions – from the breakup of the Catholic church to the rise of the nation-state. Also, modalities from media of the first degree were refashioned. In radio talk shows, conversation took on new conventions, just as acting styles were adapted from the theater stage to cinema and television.

It is debatable whether manuscripts, which fix speech, drawing, music, and other human communication in a stable format, should be considered a separate media category, partly in view of their epochal significance. In historical perspective, Meyrowitz (1994, 54) suggested that its comparatively inefficient forms of reproduction and distribution made handwriting a transitional cultural form. For a systematics of media, and from the perspective of media and communication research as a field, it can be argued that the production of manuscripts, like other media of the first degree, is embodied and local, laborious and error-prone; that their distribution is commonly selective rather than public, within established institutions, as supported by oral commentary; and that the constitutive role of handwriting in the reproduction of cultural tradition and social institutions has been taken over by media of the second degree.

Media of the third degree are the digitally processed forms of representation and interaction. Digital technology enables reproduction and recombination of all media of the second degree on a single platform: computers, thus, can be understood as metamedia (Kay & Goldberg 1977/1999). The central current example is the networked personal computer, although this interface, like that of mobile telephones, is likely to change substantially as technologies are adapted further to the human senses, and integrated into both common objects and social arrangements. Whereas classic mass media, such as illustrated magazines and television, combined modalities to a considerable degree, the scale and speed with which digitalization facilitates their incorporation and reconfiguration suggests that digital media may represent a qualitative shift from media of the second degree that is comparable to the shift from first-degree to second-degree media. The media types have not replaced each other – they recirculate the forms and contents of shifting cultural traditions in social contexts. They do, however, offer distinctive and ascending degrees of programmability in terms of adaptable technologies, differentiated modalities, and institutions transcending time, space, and social collectives.

The Double Hermeneutics

The development both of the concept of media and of media studies indicates that media are understood in historical context. The modern, general concept of communication was, in part, a response to nineteenth-century analog technologies (Peters 1999); current debates about the concept of media may be a response to twentieth-century digital technologies. This interplay of social and conceptual changes has been called a double hermeneutics (Giddens 1984): changing social realities challenge research to deliver new interpretations and explanations – which, in turn, may change society, for example, through the design and regulation of media.

Bibliography:

  • Benjamin, W. (1977). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In J. Curran, M. Gurevitch, & J. Woollacott (eds.), Mass communication and society. London: Edward Arnold. (Original work published 1936).
  • Bolter, J. D., & Grusin, R. (1999). Remediation: Understanding new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Jakobson, R. (1960). Closing statement: Linguistics and poetics. In T. A. Sebeok (ed.), Style in language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Jensen, K. B. (2002a). Introduction: The state of convergence in media and communication research. In K. B. Jensen (ed.), A handbook of media and communication research: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies. London: Routledge.
  • Jensen, K. B. (ed.) (2002b). A handbook of media and communication research: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies. London: Routledge.
  • Kay, A., & Goldberg, A. (1999). Personal dynamic media. In P. A. Mayer (ed.), Computer media and communication: A reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 111–119. (Original work published 1977).
  • Lasswell, H. D. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. In L. Bryson (ed.), The communication of ideas. New York: Harper, pp. 32 –51.
  • Lievrouw, L., & Livingstone, S. (eds.) (2002). Handbook of new media: Social shaping and social consequences. London: Sage.
  • Manovich, L. (2001). The language of new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Meyrowitz, J. (1994). Medium theory. In D. Crowley & D. Mitchell (eds.), Communication theory today. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Peters, J. D. (1999). Speaking into the air: A history of the idea of communication. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Shannon, C., & Weaver, W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

More Media Research Papers:

  • Visual Images In The Media Research Paper
  • Violence And Media Research Paper
  • Media Portrayals Research Paper
  • Media Use and Gratification Research Paper
  • Media Planning For Advertising Campaigns Research Paper
  • Cultivation and Media Exposure Research Paper
  • Media Economics Research Paper
  • Science And The Media Research Paper
  • Media Policy and Regulation Research Paper
  • Media Convergence Research Paper
  • Printing as a Medium Research Paper
  • Photography as a Medium Research Paper
  • Radio As Medium Research Paper
  • Publishing As Medium Research Paper
  • Public Sphere And The Media Research Paper
  • Mass Media Research Paper
  • Uses of Media Research Paper
  • Media Literacy Research Paper
  • Media Imperialism Research Paper
  • Media Events Research Paper
  • Media Ethics Research Paper
  • Media Effects on Children Research Paper
  • Media Effects Research Paper
  • Media and Social Movements Research Paper
  • New Media for Learning Research Paper
  • Media and History Research Paper
  • Media and Child Development Research Paper
  • Talk Show In Media Research Paper

ORDER HIGH QUALITY CUSTOM PAPER

media research paper example

Logo for M Libraries Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

2.3 Methods of Researching Media Effects

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the prominent media research methods.
  • Explain the uses of media research methods in a research project.

Media theories provide the framework for approaching questions about media effects ranging from as simple as how 10-year-old boys react to cereal advertisements to as broad as how Internet use affects literacy. Once researchers visualize a project and determine a theoretical framework, they must choose actual research methods. Contemporary research methods are greatly varied and can range from analyzing old newspapers to performing controlled experiments.

Content Analysis

Content analysis is a research technique that involves analyzing the content of various forms of media. Through content analysis, researchers hope to understand both the people who created the content and the people who consumed it. A typical content analysis project does not require elaborate experiments. Instead, it simply requires access to the appropriate media to analyze, making this type of research an easier and inexpensive alternative to other forms of research involving complex surveys or human subjects.

Content analysis studies require researchers to define what types of media to study. For example, researchers studying violence in the media would need to decide which types of media to analyze, such as television, and the types of formats to examine, such as children’s cartoons. The researchers would then need to define the terms used in the study; media violence can be classified according to the characters involved in the violence (strangers, family members, or racial groups), the type of violence (self-inflicted, slapstick, or against others), or the context of the violence (revenge, random, or duty-related). These are just a few of the ways that media violence could be studied with content-analysis techniques (Berger, 1998).

Archival Research

Any study that analyzes older media must employ archival research, which is a type of research that focuses on reviewing historical documents such as old newspapers and past publications. Old local newspapers are often available on microfilm at local libraries or at the newspaper offices. University libraries generally provide access to archives of national publications such as The New York Times or Time ; publications can also increasingly be found in online databases or on websites.

Older radio programs are available for free or by paid download through a number of online sources. Many television programs and films have also been made available for free download, or for rent or sale through online distributors. Performing an online search for a particular title will reveal the options available.

Resources such as the Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ) work to archive a number of media sources. One important role of the Internet Archive is website archiving. Internet archives are invaluable for a study of online media because they store websites that have been deleted or changed. These archives have made it possible for Internet content analyses that would have otherwise been impossible.

Surveys are ubiquitous in modern life. Questionaires record data on anything from political preferences to personal hygiene habits. Media surveys generally take one of the following two forms.

A descriptive survey aims to find the current state of things, such as public opinion or consumer preferences. In media, descriptive surveys establish television and radio ratings by finding the number of people who watch or listen to particular programs. An analytical survey, however, does more than simply document a current situation. Instead, it attempts to find out why a particular situation exists. Researchers pose questions or hypotheses about media, and then conduct analytical surveys to answer these questions. Analytical surveys can determine the relationship between different forms of media consumption and the lifestyles and habits of media consumers.

Surveys can employ either open-ended or closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions require the participant to generate answers in their own words, while closed-ended questions force the participant to select an answer from a list. Although open-ended questions allow for a greater variety of answers, the results of closed-ended questions are easier to tabulate. Although surveys are useful in media studies, effective use requires keeping their limitations in mind.

Social Role Analysis

As part of child rearing, parents teach their children about social roles. When parents prepare children to attend school for example, they explain the basics of school rules and what is expected of a student to help the youngsters understand the role of students. Like the role of a character in a play, this role carries specific expectations that differentiate school from home. Adults often play a number of different roles as they navigate between their responsibilities as parents, employees, friends, and citizens. Any individual may play a number of roles depending on his or her specific life choices.

Social role analysis of the media involves examining various individuals in the media and analyzing the type of role that each plays. Role analysis research can consider the roles of men, women, children, members of a racial minority, or members of any other social group in specific types of media. For example, if the role children play in cartoons is consistently different from the role they play in sitcoms, then certain conclusions might be drawn about both of these formats. Analyzing roles used in media allows researchers to gain a better understanding of the messages that the mass media sends (Berger, 1998).

Depth Interviews

The depth interview is an anthropological research tool that is also useful in media studies. Depth interviews take surveys one step further by allowing researchers to directly ask a study participant specific questions to gain a fuller understanding of the participant’s perceptions and experiences. Depth interviews have been used in research projects that follow newspaper reporters to find out their reasons for reporting certain stories and in projects that attempt to understand the motivations for reading romance novels. Depth interviews can provide a deeper understanding of the media consumption habits of particular groups of people (Priest, 2010).

Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis involves examining the styles used in media and attempting to understand the kinds of messages those styles convey. Media styles include form, presentation, composition, use of metaphors, and reasoning structure. Rhetorical analysis reveals the messages not apparent in a strict reading of content. Studies involving rhetorical analysis have focused on media such as advertising to better understand the roles of style and rhetorical devices in media messages (Gunter, 2000).

Focus Groups

Like depth interviews, focus groups allow researchers to better understand public responses to media. Unlike a depth interview, however, a focus group allows the participants to establish a group dynamic that more closely resembles that of normal media consumption. In media studies, researchers can employ focus groups to judge the reactions of a group to specific media styles and to content. This can be a valuable means of understanding the reasons for consuming specific types of media.

2.3.0

Focus groups are effective ways to obtain a group opinion on media.

Wikimedia Commons – CC BY-SA 3.0.

Experiments

Media research studies also sometimes use controlled experiments that expose a test group to an experience involving media and measure the effects of that experience. Researchers then compare these measurements to those of a control group that had key elements of the experience removed. For example, researchers may show one group of children a program with three incidents of cartoon violence and another control group of similar children the same program without the violent incidents. Researchers then ask the children from both groups the same sets of questions, and the results are compared.

Participant Observation

In participant observation , researchers try to become part of the group they are studying. Although this technique is typically associated with anthropological studies in which a researcher lives with members of a particular culture to gain a deeper understanding of their values and lives, it is also used in media research.

Media consumption often takes place in groups. Families or friends gather to watch favorite programs, children may watch Saturday morning cartoons with a group of their peers, and adults may host viewing parties for televised sporting events or awards shows. These groups reveal insights into the role of media in the lives of the public. A researcher might join a group that watches football together and stay with the group for an entire season. By becoming a part of the group, the researcher becomes part of the experiment and can reveal important influences of media on culture (Priest).

Researchers have studied online role-playing games, such as World of Warcraft , in this manner. These games reveal an interesting aspect of group dynamics: Although participants are not in physical proximity, they function as a group within the game. Researchers are able to study these games by playing them. In the book Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader , a group of researchers discussed the results of their participant observation studies. The studies reveal the surprising depth of culture and unwritten rules that exist in the World of Warcraft universe and give important interpretations of why players pursue the game with such dedication (Corneliussen & Rettberg, 2008).

Key Takeaways

  • Media research methods are the practical procedures for carrying out a research project. These methods include content analysis, surveys, focus groups, experiments, and participant observation.
  • Research methods generally involve either test subjects or analysis of media. Methods involving test subjects include surveys, depth interviews, focus groups, and experiments. Analysis of media can include content, style, format, social roles, and archival analysis.

Media research methods offer a variety of procedures for performing a media study. Each of these methods varies in cost; thus, a project with a lower budget would be prohibited from using some of the more costly methods. Consider a project on teen violence and video game use. Then answer the following short-response questions. Each response should be a minimum of one paragraph.

  • Which methods would a research organization with a low budget favor for this project? Why?
  • How might the results of the project differ from those of one with a higher budget?

Berger, Arthur Asa. Media Research Techniques (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998), 23–24.

Corneliussen, Hilde and Jill Walker Rettberg, “Introduction: ‘Orc ProfessorLFG,’ or Researching in Azeroth,” in Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader , ed. Hilde Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008), 6–7.

Gunter, Barrie. Media Research Methods: Measuring Audiences, Reactions and Impact (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000), 89.

Priest, Susanna Hornig Doing Media Research: An Introduction (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2010), 16–22.

Priest, Susanna Hornig Doing Media Research , 96–98.

Understanding Media and Culture Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base

Methodology

  • Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples

Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples

Published on July 18, 2019 by Amy Luo . Revised on June 22, 2023.

Content analysis is a research method used to identify patterns in recorded communication. To conduct content analysis, you systematically collect data from a set of texts, which can be written, oral, or visual:

  • Books, newspapers and magazines
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Web content and social media posts
  • Photographs and films

Content analysis can be both quantitative (focused on counting and measuring) and qualitative (focused on interpreting and understanding).  In both types, you categorize or “code” words, themes, and concepts within the texts and then analyze the results.

Table of contents

What is content analysis used for, advantages of content analysis, disadvantages of content analysis, how to conduct content analysis, other interesting articles.

Researchers use content analysis to find out about the purposes, messages, and effects of communication content. They can also make inferences about the producers and audience of the texts they analyze.

Content analysis can be used to quantify the occurrence of certain words, phrases, subjects or concepts in a set of historical or contemporary texts.

Quantitative content analysis example

To research the importance of employment issues in political campaigns, you could analyze campaign speeches for the frequency of terms such as unemployment , jobs , and work  and use statistical analysis to find differences over time or between candidates.

In addition, content analysis can be used to make qualitative inferences by analyzing the meaning and semantic relationship of words and concepts.

Qualitative content analysis example

To gain a more qualitative understanding of employment issues in political campaigns, you could locate the word unemployment in speeches, identify what other words or phrases appear next to it (such as economy,   inequality or  laziness ), and analyze the meanings of these relationships to better understand the intentions and targets of different campaigns.

Because content analysis can be applied to a broad range of texts, it is used in a variety of fields, including marketing, media studies, anthropology, cognitive science, psychology, and many social science disciplines. It has various possible goals:

  • Finding correlations and patterns in how concepts are communicated
  • Understanding the intentions of an individual, group or institution
  • Identifying propaganda and bias in communication
  • Revealing differences in communication in different contexts
  • Analyzing the consequences of communication content, such as the flow of information or audience responses

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

media research paper example

  • Unobtrusive data collection

You can analyze communication and social interaction without the direct involvement of participants, so your presence as a researcher doesn’t influence the results.

  • Transparent and replicable

When done well, content analysis follows a systematic procedure that can easily be replicated by other researchers, yielding results with high reliability .

  • Highly flexible

You can conduct content analysis at any time, in any location, and at low cost – all you need is access to the appropriate sources.

Focusing on words or phrases in isolation can sometimes be overly reductive, disregarding context, nuance, and ambiguous meanings.

Content analysis almost always involves some level of subjective interpretation, which can affect the reliability and validity of the results and conclusions, leading to various types of research bias and cognitive bias .

  • Time intensive

Manually coding large volumes of text is extremely time-consuming, and it can be difficult to automate effectively.

If you want to use content analysis in your research, you need to start with a clear, direct  research question .

Example research question for content analysis

Is there a difference in how the US media represents younger politicians compared to older ones in terms of trustworthiness?

Next, you follow these five steps.

1. Select the content you will analyze

Based on your research question, choose the texts that you will analyze. You need to decide:

  • The medium (e.g. newspapers, speeches or websites) and genre (e.g. opinion pieces, political campaign speeches, or marketing copy)
  • The inclusion and exclusion criteria (e.g. newspaper articles that mention a particular event, speeches by a certain politician, or websites selling a specific type of product)
  • The parameters in terms of date range, location, etc.

If there are only a small amount of texts that meet your criteria, you might analyze all of them. If there is a large volume of texts, you can select a sample .

2. Define the units and categories of analysis

Next, you need to determine the level at which you will analyze your chosen texts. This means defining:

  • The unit(s) of meaning that will be coded. For example, are you going to record the frequency of individual words and phrases, the characteristics of people who produced or appear in the texts, the presence and positioning of images, or the treatment of themes and concepts?
  • The set of categories that you will use for coding. Categories can be objective characteristics (e.g. aged 30-40 ,  lawyer , parent ) or more conceptual (e.g. trustworthy , corrupt , conservative , family oriented ).

Your units of analysis are the politicians who appear in each article and the words and phrases that are used to describe them. Based on your research question, you have to categorize based on age and the concept of trustworthiness. To get more detailed data, you also code for other categories such as their political party and the marital status of each politician mentioned.

3. Develop a set of rules for coding

Coding involves organizing the units of meaning into the previously defined categories. Especially with more conceptual categories, it’s important to clearly define the rules for what will and won’t be included to ensure that all texts are coded consistently.

Coding rules are especially important if multiple researchers are involved, but even if you’re coding all of the text by yourself, recording the rules makes your method more transparent and reliable.

In considering the category “younger politician,” you decide which titles will be coded with this category ( senator, governor, counselor, mayor ). With “trustworthy”, you decide which specific words or phrases related to trustworthiness (e.g. honest and reliable ) will be coded in this category.

4. Code the text according to the rules

You go through each text and record all relevant data in the appropriate categories. This can be done manually or aided with computer programs, such as QSR NVivo , Atlas.ti and Diction , which can help speed up the process of counting and categorizing words and phrases.

Following your coding rules, you examine each newspaper article in your sample. You record the characteristics of each politician mentioned, along with all words and phrases related to trustworthiness that are used to describe them.

5. Analyze the results and draw conclusions

Once coding is complete, the collected data is examined to find patterns and draw conclusions in response to your research question. You might use statistical analysis to find correlations or trends, discuss your interpretations of what the results mean, and make inferences about the creators, context and audience of the texts.

Let’s say the results reveal that words and phrases related to trustworthiness appeared in the same sentence as an older politician more frequently than they did in the same sentence as a younger politician. From these results, you conclude that national newspapers present older politicians as more trustworthy than younger politicians, and infer that this might have an effect on readers’ perceptions of younger people in politics.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles
  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Thematic analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias
  • Social desirability bias

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Luo, A. (2023, June 22). Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 30, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/content-analysis/

Is this article helpful?

Amy Luo

Other students also liked

Qualitative vs. quantitative research | differences, examples & methods, descriptive research | definition, types, methods & examples, reliability vs. validity in research | difference, types and examples, "i thought ai proofreading was useless but..".

I've been using Scribbr for years now and I know it's a service that won't disappoint. It does a good job spotting mistakes”

Research Paper

Category: media research paper examples.

Media Research Paper Examples

Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry, such as print media, publishing, the news media, photography, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), and advertising.

The term “medium” (the singular form of “media”) is defined as “one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.”

Browse media research paper examples below.

Criminal Justice Research Paper

Star Trek Research Paper

Star Wars Research Paper

Star Wars Research Paper

Vinyl Recordings Research Paper

Vinyl Recordings Research Paper

IMAGES

  1. 38+ Research Paper Samples

    media research paper example

  2. Research Paper Sample Pdf About Social Media

    media research paper example

  3. 👍 Structure of research paper. Structure of a Research Paper: Tips to

    media research paper example

  4. (PDF) A Research Paper on Social media: An Innovative Educational Tool

    media research paper example

  5. Impact of social media on youth research paper pdf

    media research paper example

  6. Sample Of A Journal Article Review Apa Style

    media research paper example

VIDEO

  1. How to write a research paper

  2. Research in media communications reflection video

  3. In the know: What is Media Research? Check the main #MediaRewards feature for #ios phones

  4. Step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper

  5. Aspects of Social Change

  6. Incorporating Sources into Your Research Paper

COMMENTS

  1. Media Research Paper - Research Paper Examples - iResearchNet

    Media Research Paper. This sample media research paper features: 2800 words (approx. 9 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 13 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help.

  2. A Quantitative Study of the Impact of Social Media Reviews on ...

    An all-encompassing definition of social media is “Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010 p.61). Successful social media platforms today

  3. The Role of Social Media Content Format and Platform in Users ...

    The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. First, we introduce the background of the study, namely, the role of social media and users’ engagement. Second, we introduce the conceptual model and hypotheses of the study. The research context in which the study is conducted is then presented, followed by an overview of the study design.

  4. Qualitative and Mixed Methods Social Media Research: A Review ...

    Examples of the convergent parallel structure, involving data from people and content, illustrate how this combination has been applied in social media research. For example, quantitative and qualitative data from Facebook posts were combined with interview data from students who interacted with social media while in study abroad programs .

  5. THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MENTAL HEALTH: A MIXED-METHODS ...

    THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MENTAL HEALTH: A MIXED-METHODS RESEARCH OF SERVICE PROVIDERS’ AWARENESS Sarah Nichole Koehler Bobbie Rose Parrell Follow this and additional works at: https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/etd Part of the Clinical Psychology Commons, and the Social Work Commons Recommended Citation

  6. 2.3 Methods of Researching Media Effects – Understanding ...

    Research methods generally involve either test subjects or analysis of media. Methods involving test subjects include surveys, depth interviews, focus groups, and experiments. Analysis of media can include content, style, format, social roles, and archival analysis.

  7. An introduction to digital media research methods: how to ...

    This paper argues that the techniques by which users interact with data in social media, particularly categorisation and semantic tagging, can be applied to a broad range of humanities research ...

  8. Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples - Scribbr

    Content analysis is a research method used to identify patterns in recorded communication. To conduct content analysis, you systematically collect data from a set of texts, which can be written, oral, or visual: Books, newspapers and magazines. Speeches and interviews. Web content and social media posts. Photographs and films.

  9. Social Media in Research - San José State University

    where referencing a social media post may especially fit the purpose of your research. For example, a post may be an appropriate source in the following scenarios: 1. Your research is about people’s opinions, and you’re citing a post as an example. 2. You’re analyzing social media as evidence of online trends or people’s use of these ...

  10. Media Research Paper Examples - EssayEmpire

    Media Research Paper Examples. See our collection of media research paper examples. These example papers are to help you understanding how to write this type of written assignments. Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry ...