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Blog #13: Research

I thought the description in our textbook of quantitative vs. qualitative research methods was interesting. Personally it seems to me that it would be hard to study communication through quantitative methods, because when you are dealing with people I don’t think any specific laws really apply or can be determined. I guess I agree more with social constructionism than positivism, especially in terms of looking at communication and media. There are so many factors that are involved in how/why media is produced and how it affects society, that it seems silly to try to explain it just in terms of numbers and data. For my final paper I will definitely be using qualitative methods rather than quantitative: I am not trying to prove any certain theory, but I will be comparing stories in order to better understand their motives, their directed audience, and how the audience may have been affected by the stories.

An important media theory for this paper will of course be media framing. The difference in framing in the articles I am comparing is subtle, but still gives insight into the different media sources and their purposes in telling the story. The story I chose for my paper was interesting to me because it is actually about media effects, specifically how the internet can effect social change and political uprisings. This is a big concern for the Cuban government right now, especially in light of the uprisings in Egypt, which were largely brought about by social media communication. A video leaked on Vimeo expresses the Cuban governments fears of internet access and alternative blogging as a threat to the government. The way that the internet is changing communication and inciting social revolution is certainly an interesting media effects issue, one that the textbook didn’t really talk about, but that could certainly be studied more as these issues keep arising.

An interesting media effect mentioned in the book was the third-person effect. It is interesting to consider in relation to my story, because it is unclear who the leaked video was directed at or what its purpose was. If it was simply directed at government officials, it is definitely having a third-person effect on bloggers who might be intimidated or maybe angered by the video. However some have said that the video was leaked on purpose and actually was directed toward the Cuban people to make the government’s position clear and to discourage anti-government blogging. It could also be said that coverage of the Egypt uprisings has been having a sort of third-person effect on the other governments, such as Cuba, who fear the coverage will spark protests in their own countries, and have been taking extra measures lately to assert their power. I know that this doesn’t quite fit the definition of a third-person effect described in the textbook, but I thought it was an interesting theory which I could think through more in regards to my story.

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  1. February 23, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Insightful and spot-on, as usual! Good work!

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