“Because of the way the human mind works, we are, in a sense, always doing research” – (Berger 2014, p. 31)
From this quote by Arthur Berger, we can gather an idea that research is conducted on a daily basis by each and everyone one of us. Even tho it may not be as obvious that we are partaking in this process of research, we are unconsciously utilising some form of research when considering products to buy, where to eat, what university to study at etc. We are as a society, always searching for contemporary information in which improves our day-to-day lives as well as the choices and decisions we make.
This brings us to the question of: ‘What is media research?’
Berger defines research simply as “research means looking for information about something” (2014, p. 14). As viewers and consumers of media, we would use research as a systematic process to ‘answer questions that interest us or problems that we would like to solve’ (Berger 2014, p. 15). There are many levels of research, two of which being ‘systematic’ and ‘everyday’ research. There are major differences between these two types of research, with ‘systematic research being more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned with correctness and truthfulness than everyday research’ (Berger 2014, p. 15). Both these two types of research are used to inform consumers of media on topics of interest.
A particular area of media research that I am interested in and am currently undertaking is the topic of health foods, singularly protein supplements. As a male figure in society, and a member of a gym, I am constantly presented with endless advertising of protein powders, each with their own differences and purposes that separate themselves from competition. I have now submitted to the idea of buying protein, and am currently in search of a product.
In order to effectively select the ideal protein supplement that works and is suited to my body shape, I would have to use the two main aspects of research, these being ‘Qualitative’ and ‘Quantitative’ research. Qualitative research refers to “collecting, analysing, and interpreting data by observing what people do and say” (Anderson, 2006). Using this research aspect I would read through consumer reviews of products, watch YouTube reviews, read through social media discussions on successful proteins, and read protein descriptions. Quantitative research refers to “counts, measures of things, objective hard data” (Anderson, 2006). I would use this method of research in reading through the measurements of protein in each supplement as well as other ingredients. Through utilising these two forms of media research, I can effectively sought out an ideal protein supplement.
The aspect of media I am interested in researching is health foods and fitness, in special relation to social media’s role it plays in spreading this information and providing forums for those to discuss. I am interested in this aspect of media as I am a fanatic of sports and fitness, as well as I believe that social media plays a crucial role in informing those on fitness, health and sports.
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
< https://tr.uow.edu.au/uow/file/efbbb3eb-460f-4c9c-9a32-bff4e80e1468/1/What%20is%20research.pdf >
Anderson, J.D 2006, ‘Qualitative and Quantitative research’, Imperial COE, Superintendent of Schools,
< https://www.icoe.org/webfm_send/1936 >