“Chercher” the French word meaning ‘to seek’ or better well known by all university students across the globe as… research. That thing you do when you’re wanting to buy a new iPhone 6 only to find out that they bend. Or trying to plan your mid session break to Melbourne enticed by art and coffee to discover that there’s no cheap flights during that time. Or even trying to find out what sort of things your crush is into so you can casually bring them up in conversation. Whether it’s asking your friends or Google questions, if you’re trying to ‘find out more information’ (Berger, 2014) about something chances are you’re researching.
However, asking if your crush likes watching ‘Walking Dead’ isn’t at all scholarly research. Scholarly research is a very ‘systematic and objective’ type of poking and prying, which revolves around ‘correctness and truthfulness’ (Berger, 2014). Ultimately uncovering the truth. Something we can hope to obtain through media research, which is all of the above, applied to aspects of the media, covering mass media, social media, print media, radio, cinema, comics etc, and research into these areas can help us identify links between media, culture, society and individuals.
As identified by Strasburger, there is currently not enough media research, meaning that the problem is ‘important enough to bother with’ (Berger, 2014) and with the ‘effects of the media on children and adolescents’ (Strasburger, 2013) more or less unknown, it provides a space where media research can help fill in the blanks and hopefully minimise risk to those who are vulnerable targets of the media.
Trying to decide on what area of media research I’d like to participate in is more difficult than deciding which Johnny Depp film is the best… basically impossible. The media broadcasts an amplitude of messages through diverse mediums, from individuals to multinational companies, reaching people and places across the globe and are uniquely interpreted.
I’m increasingly fascinated by social media and its power and influence on individuals. An area in which I’d like to explore further is the role of the media influencing personal relationships, for example meeting people on Tinder and the medium’s effect on the audience’s view of hook-up culture.
Something else that I am passionate about is equality and feminism. With the Emma Watson speech on feminism last year, it’s a hot topic which has swept the media and I would be interested exploring various aspects of how it’s influenced people. I believe that all of these fields have the potential to be explored on a deeper level because they are increasingly relevant to our society.
As you can see, I’m constantly engaged and interested by many aspects of the media, society, cultures and people. But before I can decide on a topic of interest, I must first do a hell of a lot of research.
Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32
Strasburger, V.C. 2013, “Spinal Column: Why Isn’t There More Media Research?”, Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 52, no. 7, pp. 587-588