Saturday, September 12, 2009

Significance of Mass Media Research:

Literally every area of the mass media uses research and anyone who works in the media (or plans to) will be exposed to or involved in research. Here, before studying mass media, research, mass media research and significance of mass media research we need to know and understand parents and grandparents of mass media research. So, here is the diagram.

Understanding Different Terms Used Above:

Mass Media:

“The term mass media refers to the organized means for communicating openly and at a distance to many receivers within a short space of time.” (McQuail)


Regardless of how the word research is used it essentially means the same thing: an attempt to discover something (Wimmer & Dominick, 2005). Keeping science in mind, research can simply be defined as scientific method of investigation. The implicit meaning of this sentence is, there are methods of research other than scientific. But in today’s world only scientific methods are given priority.

Mass Media Research: Part of Communication Research:

Mass media research is a part of the communication research. There are some research experts who prefer to term the study as ‘mass communication research’ rather than ‘mass media research’. Though mass communication and mass media are different terminologies, we use‘mass communication research’ and ‘mass media research’ synonymously. Often we use the terminology ‘media research’ only.

We can define mass media research as following:

Mass media research is that part of the communication research, which scientifically studies the process of mass communication and how mass media influence individuals and society.

Up to here we have already been familiar with the terms like mass media, research, communication research, mass communication research and mass media research. Now it’s time for us to dig dip find out the significance of mass media research.

While many people place the task of learning research high on the “Not to Do” list, the reality is that research is probably the only area in mass media that relates to everything. There isn’t a position in any of the mass media that doesn’t conduct or use research.

The first question many people ask about mass media research is, “What types of thing do you research?” It’s a good question. Below given are the examples related to mass media in which research is necessary.

  • Why do people choose to watch one television program over other?
  • How much time do adults 18 to 24 years old spend reading newspapers?
  • Why are newspaper subscriptions declining?
  • Which song should a radio station play?
  • Where do most people go to get local news information?
  • What types of articles are the most popular in your favorite magazine?
  • When is the best time to introduce a new TV program?

Every time you developed a “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” question when dealing the mass media, you have raised a question that can be investigated. And that’s what this discussion is all about- Trying to find out answers to mass media questions and thus the significance of mass media research.

Research in mass media is used to verify or refute gut feelings or intuition for decision makers. Although common sense is sometimes accurate, media decision makers need additional objective information to evaluate problems, especially when they make decisions that involve large sums of money. Mass media research is not limited only to decision-making situations. It is also widely used in theoretical areas to attempt to describe the media, to analyze media effects on consumers, to understand audience behavior and so on. Everyday there are references in the media to audience surveys, public opinion polls, growth projections or status reports of one medium or another, or advertising or public relation campaigns.

Since mass media research can give evaluation of past, status of present and the way to move on in future to a media, it is very important and is significant to mass media.


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.

J.M. Buddenbaum and K.B Novak; Applied Communication Research; Surjeet Publications, Delhi; 2005.


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