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Research Methodologies for the Creative Arts & Humanities: Media Analysis

Media Analysis


"The examination, interpretation and critique of both the material content of the channels of media of communication and the structure, composition and operations of corporations that either own or control those media. Media, in this sense, refers to what used to be called the mass media, the means of communication of information to large numbers of people – television, radio and newspapers. It now encompasses multimedia, the electronic networks of communication made available by the Internet."

See Cashmore, 2006 in Jupp, V., & Sage Publications. (2006). The SAGE dictionary of social research methods. London: SAGE Publications.

Media content analysis is a sub-set of content analysis and applies a systematic method to study mass media as texts, including interview transcripts, film narrative and forms, TV programs and content of newspapers and magazines.

"Content analysis operates on the view that verbal behaviour is a form of human behavior, that the flow of symbols is a part of the flow of events, and that the communication process is an aspect of the historical process... content analysis is a technique which aims at describing, with optimum objectivity, precision and generality, what is said on a given subject in a given place at a given time." (Lasswell, Lerner & Pool, 1952)

See Macnamara (2005)

"A convenient way to describe an act of communication is to answer the following questions:

  • Who
  • Says What
  • In Which Channel
  • To Whom
  • With What Effect?"

See Lasswell (1948) in Bryson, L. (1964). The communication of ideas: A series of addresses. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.