‘What Is Research?’ – Hold-up while i google this

And so we enter this subject with our serious faces on, technology in hand and a strong determination to absorb every piece of knowledge there is on media and it’s research elements, however, what we’ve failed to realise until now is that we already know a great deal about it. Like many of us, upon hearing the word ‘research’, images of white coats or men wearing brown suits with leather elbow patches pops up. Public perceptions associate research with uninteresting, complicated and monotonous work, however, it proves to be more that just complex numbers and fancy words. Research is an everyday process that can often occur without us even being aware of it. Consider the hypothetical situations of looking through recipe books to decide tomorrow night’s dinner, browsing the web for inspiration for your next holiday or even flipping through catalogues to find the best deal on an iPhone. These common occurrences come as second-nature and are all associated with research. So what exactly is ‘research’? Taking into account it’s broad and diverse nature, in a literal sense, it means ‘to find or to search for’. However, when considering its definition, it is important to distinguish between scholarly research and everyday research. While everyday research can involve gathering information as well as weighing alternatives and outcomes, Berger defines scholarly research as being ‘more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness than everyday research’ (Berger, 2014) with statistics, numbers and other data held in little regard. In relation to media, we can further define the concept of research into the categories of quality and quantity. Berger suggests that qualitative research involves the identification of properties and characteristics of a particular text including ‘elements of evaluation, judgement and taste.’ (Berger 2014) Quantitative research on the other hand, refers to specific amounts, numbers and measurements. A major limitation of quantitative research however, is that not everything can be counted or measured which, in turn, can be subject to the criticism that the area is too narrow, neglecting what cannot be measured despite its potential importance (McCutcheon 2015). Certainly, both forms of research have their benefits and drawbacks in both scholarly and everyday instances but nontheless continue to improve and develop as time goes on. In regards to my research for the subject of BCM210, i would like to potentially explore the field of stereotypes within music and television. I’ve always had a great passion for music and have always been a firm believer in it’s ability to influence and shape not just an individual’s life in general, but more specifically, their appearance, mannerisms, personality, hobbies etc. I’d like to delve deeper into the varying genres of music, including: rock, pop, hip-hop, indie, country, metal etc, and research how these different genres tend to generate their own, independent set of characteristics amongst the individuals who show a preference to one of these music categories. For example, when thinking of a country music fan, the stereotypical characteristics of cowboys hats, boots, flannelet shirts and utes are prompted in our minds. To continue along the path of stereotypes, i’m interested in how families in comedic television shows are depicted. More and more we find that mothers are stereotyped as ‘naggers’, fathers are ‘lazy’ or ‘lame’ and children are divided into one rebellious and the other a smart ‘goodie-goodie’. References 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 McCutcheon, M 2015, Week 2 What is Media Research?, PowerPoint slides, viewed 3rd April 2015, University of Wollongong, Wollongong

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