Analytical Reading and Writing

Analytical Reading and Writing

Question 1: (400 words)blankImagine you are analysing YouTube for a music magazine, or as part of a PR or advertising campaign. YouTube has inconsistent and contradictory enforcement of policies regarding copyright infringements, especially since so many would-be famous musicians perform covers of popular songs from already-famous artists. What are some of the problems associated with YouTube when it comes to the illicit use of other artists’ songs? Find both articles by commentators, and say, blog posts by musicians themselves. Are there any ways around these problems?

For writing question 1 read the image below:

Question 2: (350 words)

 What are the strengths and weaknesses of any two research methods at your disposal? Choose 2 methods from the list above, create a three-column table, one column for each method, then compare the methods based on criteria, listed on the far left column. You could choose your favoured method, and compare that with say ethnographic, survey, or other methods you may wish to explore. Criteria could include: underlying assumptions, purposes, audiences, basic units of analysis, criticism of method, specialised tools or software needed, ease of application, typical kinds of questions answered, ethical constraints, and so on. You could do this for several different methods. E.g.

Criterion Method 1 (survey) Method 2 (content analysis)
Units of analysis (answers to questions) (repeated words, phrases)

For writing Question 2 read below first:

Research Methods – how many are there?blankAccording to the popular Merrigan and Huston (2015) book, Communication Research Methods, there are eight so-called “methods” of performing research within our field:

1 Survey Research
2 Experimental Research
3 Content Analysis
4 Descriptive Statistics and Hypothesis Testing
5 Inferential Statistics: Differences and Relationships
6 Conversation and Discourse Analysis
7 Ethnographic Research
8 Traditional and Interpretive Methods of Rhetorical Criticism
9 Critical Studies

These methods are not in order of importance except that the first three tend to be more well-known by the general public. The method of text analysis is probably subsumed under category 6., 8. or 9. above. The Case study method is not a method per se, but usually a combination of other methods aimed at selected events or particular contexts.blankMerrigan and Huston (2015) do not treat hybrid methods or multiple methods of doing research – and this is commonly performed by contemporary communication researchers. A good example are case studies which might incorporate surveys, ethnography and rhetorical criticism. Additionally, most survey research necessarily uses descriptive statistics and perhaps inferential statistics using statistical software such as IBM’s SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). This software is probably the most used and well respected of statistical programs, but necessitates training and skill to use properly.

The program, Leximancer is not included in the above list because it is rather different to traditional content analysis and not very well known by most US researchers. Leximancer is a Uni of Queensland program for taking large amounts of text data and grouping it visually and semantically according to themes and ideas. But there are quite a few others on the market now.

Obviously, the media do not really understand or report on many of the above methods. Most journalists, and media professionals do not report upon anything but surveys, experiments and perhaps content analysis. Surveys, of course are (not?) understood because of the prevalence of political polls and market research in the Australian media.

Researchers are free to choose any of these methods in order to perform their research for their projects. Some methods may be an obvious choice for a particular research question, so we should be aware of those methods, which particularly suits their research focus. The academic literature is the best source to match methods with types of questions/topics. Any research questions which relate to attitudes or opinions is probably best served by using a survey.blankBut students should be aware that questions relating to media – images, videos, social media – may be best served using ethnographic, content analysis or even textual analytical methods. Surveys are not a panacea for every kind of research problem.

So you should select a method/s based upon your research question’s needs as well as what is pragmatically possible given your resources. What method will get the job done and is it really possible to employ that method? There may be more than one method available here, and the choice should depend on a method’s strengths and weaknesses.

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