What is research?

Being a student in a degree focused on studying the media, and in a subject titled ‘Research Practices in Media and Communication’, I believe I’m stating the obvious in saying I will be undertaking some form researching associated with media and its presence in society.

But first we must understand the role research in day to day life.

As outlined by Berger (2014), research means to search for, or to find. I believe that this encompasses a large proportion of day to day activities, such as seeking menu prices of a new restaurant or relevant bus times. But these don’t have anything to do with scholarly or media research, which is completely different. Furthermore, as stated by Berger (2014), there are contrasting differences between every day research and scholarly research, with the latter being more objective, systematic and more concerned with truthfulness than every day research. I believe this to be true as when I research information about brands for my marketing assignments, these characteristics are evident.

With the State election looming, I have heard countless advertisements on the radio about each party’s plans and visions in conjunction with the other party’s slander of these proposals. After undertaking research on the privatisation of the electricity sector, I have gained a greater understanding of the present situation and what happens if each party is elected. But this isn’t what I heard on the radio. It was lies. This links to something I have previous interest in, and I think is a necessary thing for people to realise when it comes to digesting news and politics. The use of dramatization and making events sound worse (or better) than they actually are is an important issue in today’s day of the internet and social media being a major source of news and current affairs for many Australians. News is readily available to everyone so it is necessary for it to be somewhat accurate. I think it would be interesting to research the ways news is reported and the spin placed by media outlets to fabricate a story whether to sway opinions as part of an agenda or for other reasons. There are enough examples of this seen in recent months that you could write a book, so I believe it is an interesting idea to undertake research about. With such a huge presence in mass media, the dramatisation and sensationalism has the power to completely shift focus on a topic and persuade opinions in an opposite direction, so I think it would be interesting to see how this does affect every day people and their thoughts on contentious topics, such as terrorism, for example.

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

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