The research project in this class will be to prepare, analyze, and report a media journal of your habits over a 7-to-10 day period.
The common problem statement for this project is, “Despite a plentiful source of communication channels and messages, people report issues with effective communication. One reason for this may be that people use communication incorrectly or inefficiently. Perhaps a study to determine how each mass communication channel is used will provide information to correct this problem.”
The common purpose statement for this project is, “The purpose of this participant-observer study is to explore personal media use habits and the time spent using each channel.”
Sample: Personal habits, collected over a 10-day period, using an Excel sheet with manual input.
Method: Participant observation
Some background information you may wish to address in the Literature Section includes:
- The types of mass communication channels available.
- Current data about the effects of mass media channels on communication/miscommunication.
- Current perceptions about media use, overuse, abuse by different groups.
To conduct your Research Component you should do the following:
- Block out a period of 10 days where you can log and track your media usage habits in the following general areas: Print, Broadcast, Digital, Other. Include specifics sub-categories under each general area, such as books, newspapers, magazines; TV, cable TV, radio; internet; social media; other media types. Keep track of how many hours you spend engaged in using each media type so that you can identify trends. For those media you do not use, you can log an entry of “zero” hours.
For the Analysis Section you should concentrate on the following:
- Analyze the data from your journal. What does this say about your media use? How do you get your information? How might this affect your access to diverse information? (Review the PPT that discusses some of the things you will want to focus on.)
For the Recommendations Section you should concentrate on answering what you might do now that you know this information.
- Prepare a report (approx 7-10 pages) that includes your original data presented in an Excel chart or Word table (or some other readable format). This report should also include your narrative explaining the data you found, its meaning, and the overall interpretation. What do your findings suggest about your use of media? Periods of non-use? Diversity in channels? (Review the PPT that discusses some of the things you can include here.) Include graphics or tables to illustrate your points.
Prepare your report as a professional document with cover page, table of contents, and relevant narrative and graphics.