Sunday, September 13, 2009

Significance of Mass Media Research

Mass media are defind as media which have their proper program and constitute their own audience. Mass media research, accordingly, deals with the production of programs and the consumption of the audience.( Heiner Meulemann and Jörg Hagenah).Mass media research is a part of the communication research. It does scientific study of mass communication media and how people interact with it as individual and as a group. There are some research experts who prefer to term the study as ‘mass communication research’ rather than ‘mass media research’. Research is scientific therefore it is verifiable, objective, empirical, systematic, cumulative and logical. Every area of the mass media uses research. Every time we raise a “who, what, when, where, why, how” question when dealing the mass media, we have developed an investigative question. Research helps provide answer to these questions. Media professionals have to take instant decisions which should be informed ones and therefore, they need to be involved in research. The mass media research may seek answer to such question as to Which types of advertising are most effective in selling products and services? What are the elements of a successful magazine cover page? What type of format a radio news and current affairs should adopt? Why a current TV serial is not performing as well as expected? why do viewers select one television program over another? Which sections of newspaper do people read most often?
And so on. All research, whether formal or informal, begins with a basic question or proposition about a specific phenomenon. These questions can be answered to some degree with well-designed research studies.
Scientific research is an organized, objective, controlled, cumulative, empirical analysis of one or more variables. Science is a particular state of human mind. We all conduct research everyday. We do this whenever we test a question about anything. Children conduct “research studies” to determine which items are hot and which are cold, how to ride a bicycle and which persuasive methods work best with parents. Teenagers “test” ideas about driving, dating, and working, and adults “test” ideas about family, finance, and survival.
C.S.Peirce, discussed four approaches to finding answers , or methods of knowing: tenacity, intuition, authority, and science.
Quality media is the result of very careful and precise research.There is no area of mass media that hasn’t been affected by research. Mass media use researches to verify or refute gut feelings or intuition for decision making. Research finding and recommendations are used to make credible media products for the audience. Research in any field including mass communication, is a collective human endeavor to discover the truth.

R.D. Wimmer and J.R. Dominick; Mass Media Research An Introduction (Seventh edition); Wadsworth, Belmont; CA 3098.
Nirmala Mani Adhikary; Understanding Mass Media Research; Prashanti Pustak Bhandar, Kathmandu; 2006.