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Bedford/St. Martin's
Research in Mass Communication: A Practical Guide / Edition 1

Research in Mass Communication: A Practical Guide / Edition 1

by Paula M. Poindexter


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900312191626
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Publication date: 12/01/1999
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 451
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

Table of Contents

N.B. Every chapter ends with Suggested Research Activities and Recommended Readings.

To the Instructor
To the Student
Checklist, Sample Materials, and Figures
About the Authors


1. Introduction to Research and the Three-Phase Research Process
Research Is an Essential Tool for Decision Makers
The Research Process
Pre-Research Phase
Identifying a Need for Research
Research Questions Guide the Research
Research Hypotheses
Deciding on the Appropriate Method
Research Phase
Post-Research Phase
Research Relies on Scientific Research Methods
Research Uses a Special Language
Communication Research Has a Long and Diverse History
Overview of Research in Mass Communication


2. The Pre-Research Phase and the Decision Maker
Surveys Help Decision Makers Understand Their Market
The Pre-Research Phase Begins with the Decision Maker
The First Steps of the Pre-Research Phase
Standards and Decisions during the Pre-Research Phase
Ethical Standards in Conducting Surveys
Deciding Whether to Conduct a Telephone, Mail, or Face-to-Face Survey
Deciding Whether to Conduct a Cross-Sectional or Longitudinal Study
The Last Three Steps of the Pre-Research Phase

3. The Research Phase and the Research Expert
Research Know-How and Communication Skills Are Required during the Research Phase
Initial Steps of the Research Phase
The First Consultation with the Decision Maker
The Literature Review and Background Search
Concepts, Variables, and Operational Definitions
A Literature Search Example
The Survey Questionnaire
Question Types and Issues
Principles of Valid Survey Questions
Ethical Standards
Open-ended and Closed-ended Questions
Mutually Exclusive and Exhaustive Response Choices
Validity and Reliability
Phrasing Valid Survey Questions

4. The Survey Questionnaire
Overview of the Questionnaire Format
Record-keeping Information
Questionnaire Introduction
Issues That Influence the Questionnaire's Validity and Organization
First Question
Other Questions
Socially Desirable Questions
Issues That Affect Response Choices and Their Validity
Response Choices for Measuring Behavior
Response Choices in Ordinal Scales that Measure Attitudes
Don't Know, Undecided, No Opinion, Neutral
Format Issues
Qualifying and Contingency Questions
Matrix Format
Layout and Style
Questionnaire Closing
Grammar and Spelling Check, Tone, and Style
Pretesting the Questionnaire
Format for a Mail Survey Questionnaire

5. Selecting Survey Respondents
Methods of Selecting Survey Participants
Random Sample
Non-Random Sample
Identifying a List for Drawing a Sample
Available Lists
Criteria for Evaluating List
When No List is Available
Assumptions about Sample Size
Sample Size
Assumptions Behind the Sample Sizes and Sampling Errors
Different Methods for Drawing a Random Sample
Drawing a Simple Random Sample
Drawing a Systematic Random Sample with a Random Start Point
Plus-One Random Sampling
Random Digit Dialing
Sample for a Mail Survey

6. Interviewer Training and Survey Data Collection
Interviewers Play an Important Role in Surveys
Characteristics of Effective Interviewers
The Training Session
Organizing a Training Session
Conducting a Training Session
Rules for Calling the Sample of Respondents
Who Should be Called
When Calls Should be Made
Keeping a Record of Calls
Rules for Interviewing
Discuss Rules for Interviewing during the Demonstration
Be Conversational, Objective, and Accurate
Follow the Wording and Order of Questions
Ethical Standards are Required
Strategies to Encourage Participation
When the Interviewer is Assisted by Computer
Training on Special Equipment
Fieldwork Must be Monitored to Produce Valid Results
Identify and Correct Problems Immediately
Mail Surveys Have Special Requirements

7. Coding and Processing Survey Data
Precoding and Computers Facilitate Tabulating Survey Results
Coding Starts with a Master Codebook
Preparing Data for Coding
Coding Open-ended Questions
Written Instructions and Coder Training Produce Reliable Coding
Written Instructions
Coder Training
Coding Follows the Training
Computer Processing Data
Special Computer Software Makes Tabulating Fast and Easy
Become Familiar with the Computer Software
Cleaning and Recoding May Be Necessary Before Final Computer Runs
Cleaning "Dirty" Data
Recoding Decisions
A Frequency Printout
Interpreting the Table
The Valid Percent Column is Important

8. Survey Data Analysis and Statistics
Statistics as a Tool for Understanding
Many Statistics Are Available for Analyzing Data
Statistics for Analyzing One Variable
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Dispersion
Frequency Distribution
Rank Ordering Data
The Analytical Technique of Cross-Tabulation
Deciding Which Variables to Compare
When the Independent Variable is at the Top
Determining Significance
Chi Square Can Determine Relationship Between Two Variables
Interpreting Significance
Statistical Measures of Association
Interpreting Measures of Association
Measures of Association for Nominal Data
Measures of Association for Ordinal Data
Product-Moment Correlation (r)
Testing for Difference
Statistics and Analytical Techniques for Three or More Variables
Factor Analysis
Multiple Regression
Statistical Inferences About the Population
Recommendations for Appropriate Use of Statistics
Evaluation of the Overall Survey Sample
Response Rate
Validation of the Sample
Ethics and Data Analysis

9. Reporting Survey Research Results
The Research Report Documents and Guides
Components of the Written Report
Cover Letter, Title Page, and Contents
Executive Summary
The Report's Introduction
Description of Method
Graphically Displaying Data
Describing Cross-tabulations in the Written Report
Discussion, Recommendations, and Conclusion Sections
Endnotes, References, and Appendix
Preparing the Final Report
The Oral Presentation of the Research Results
Preparing the Oral Presentation
Visuals and Script
Rehearsing the Presentation
Delivering the Presentation
Ethical Issues When Reporting Research Results

10. The Post-Research Phase and the Decision Maker
The Post-Research Phase Begins with the Research Report
Reading the Report
Evaluation and Decision Making
Evaluating Results and Recommendations
Prioritizing Research Results
Deciding Which Results to Use
Implementing Decisions and Evaluating Their Impact
Implementation of Decisions Will Vary
Evaluation of the Decision Is Important

11. Content Analysis
Content Analysis Focuses on the Message
Definition of Content Analysis
The Decision Maker Identifies a Need for Content Analysis during the Pre-Research Phase
Computer Content Analysis
Establishing a Budget and Timetable
Initial Steps of the Research Phase
The Codebook Is Key to Producing Valid Results
The Content Analysis Codebook is Similar to the Survey Codebook
Coding Categories Must Have Validity and Reliability
Evaluating Categories Require Special Attention
Coding Categories Reflect Different Levels of Measurement
Reliable Coding Is Required for Valid Results
Hiring and Training Content Analysis Coders
Pretesting the Content Analysis Codebook
Calculating Inter-coder Reliability
Improving Inter-coder Reliability
The Final Steps of the Content Analysis Research Phase are Similar to Those of a Survey
Processing Content Analysis Data
Analyzing Content Analysis Data
Writing the Content Analysis Report
Presenting the Content Analysis Orally
The Role of the Decision Maker During the Content Analysis Post-Research Phase
Results Offer Several Options for Decision Making
Experience and Goals of the Decision Maker Will Influence How Results are Used
The Impact of the Decisions Should be Evaluated

12. Experiments
Experiments Can Determine What Causes What
Definition of an Experiment
The Experiment's Pre-Research Phase
Applying the Research Phase to the Experiment
Experimental Concepts, Designs, and Symbols
Experimental Validity
Experimental Designs
Experimental Symbols
The Control Group
Threats to Internal Validity
Threats to External Validity
The Hypothetical Experiment's Design
The Independent Variable
Experimental Setting
Experimental Subjects
The Dependent Variable
Translating the Design to Experimental Procedures
A Practice Run Precedes the Actual Experiment
Ethical Standards Guide the Experimental Procedures
Processing and Analyzing Experimental Data
The t-Test
Analysis of Variance
The Written Report for an Experiment
The Description of the Method Section is Unique
The Results Section Emphasizes Differences in Means
Making Decisions during the Post-Research Phase

13. Focus Groups and One-on-One Depth Interviews
Definition and Purpose of a Focus Group
Pre-Research Activities of a Focus Group
The Moderator Is Key to a Successful Focus Group
Research Phase of Focus Group
The Research Expert Consults with the Decision Maker During the First Step
Number of Focus Groups
Number of Participants
A Location Must be Determined Before Recruiting Can Begin
Recruiting Focus Group Participants
How Many to Recruit
Discussion Guide, Background Questionnaire, and Visuals
Moderator's Outline and Discussion Guide
Background Questionnaire
Preparing Visual Stimuli
When the Moderator Is Other Than the Research Expert
Consulting with the Decision Maker on the Focus Group Progress
Conducting the Focus Group
Starting the Focus Group on Time
Establishing the Right Atmosphere for Producing Objective Results
Analyzing Focus Group Data
Writing the Focus Group Research Report
Description of the Focus Group Method
The Results Section Begins with a Profile of Participants
The Results Section Shuns Numbers
Discussion, Limitations, and Recommendations in the Report
Oral Presentation for Focus Group Results
Activities during the Post-Research Phase of the Focus Group
One-on-One Depth Interviews
When One-on-One Interviews are More Effective than Focus Groups
One-on-One Interviews Require Less Preparation Time

14. More Research Methods
Overview of Other Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
Intercept Surveys
Securing Permission to Conduct Intercept
Intercepting Strategy
Training the Intercept Interviewer
Processing, Analyzing, and Reporting Intercept Data
High-Tech Surveys
Issues That Affect Validity
Recommendations for High Tech Surveys
Surveys That Monitor Consumers and Voters
Tracking Studies
Exit Polls
Secondary and Syndicated Research
Secondary Data Analysis
Syndicated Research
Research Designs for Testing Consumer Response and Perceptions
Copy Testing
Trial and Concept Research
Perceptual Mapping
Evaluation Research
Unobtrusive Observation
Physical Traces
Case Studies
Ethnography and Other Academic Qualitative Methods
Cultural Studies, Reception, and Textual Analysis
Multiple Methods


15. Researching Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Race and Ethnicity Can Influence the Validity of Research Studies
Issues That May Affect Telephone Survey Results
Sampling Frame Issues
Improving the Sampling Frame
Membership Lists
Subscription Lists
Monitoring the Media
Drawing a Sample from the Compiled List
The Questionnaire
Name for Racial or Ethnic Group
Translating the Questionnaire for Respondents Who Speak Other Languages
Zip Code as a Standard Variable
Interviewing Issues
Hiring and Training
Bi-lingual Interviewers
Number of Callbacks
Monitoring Fieldwork
Analysis of Data
Validation of Sample
Analyzing the Compiled Sampling Frame
Deciding Whether to Weight the Results
Handling Small Numbers
Determining Whether Racial Differences are Real
Handling Race-Ethnic Group Issues in Focus Groups
The Moderator
One-on-One Depth Interviews
Intercept Surveys
Issues That Affect Content Analysis Studies
Categories for Coding
Availability of Minority Publications
Which Method Is Best for Gathering Valid Data on Racial and Ethnic Groups?

16. Research in the Academic Environment
Research Is a Creative Enterprise
The Academic Researcher as Decision Maker
Pre-Research Phase
Deciding the Focus of the Research
Decision Making
Strategic Theoretical Analysis
Origins of Research Ideas
Idle Curiosity
Topics of the Moment
Applied Research
Transformation of Research Questions into Programs of Research
Elaboration and Extension of Existing Theory
Intertwined Benchmarks
Intersection of Benchmarks and Intellectual Tools of the Scientific Method
Operational Definitions
Concepts, Hypotheses, and Theories
Translating Goals into Research Methods
Executing the Research Plan during the Research Phase
Activities during the Post-Research Phase
Advancing the Program of Research
Deductive Reasoning
Inductive Reasoning

17. Research Applications, Ethics, and the Future of Communication Research
Research Is Behind Large and Small Decisions
Research Applications for Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising
Research Applications for Public Relations
Evaluating Impact
Research for Image Enhancement
Research to Generate News
Research Applications in the News Media
To Evaluate Impact
To Enhance Image
To Generat News
Graphics are Used to Make Poll Stories Interesting
Sidebars are Used to Describe Poll's Method
Polling Standards Dictate What Information Should be Disclosed in Sidebar
Whimsical Graphics Can be Used to Illustrate Social Data
Content Analysis Can be Used to Generate News Stories
Public and Computer-Assisted Journalism
Rely on Research Methods
Editorial Management Decisions Rely on Research
Research Applications When Launching New Programs and Products
Launching a New Program
Launching a National Newspaper
Research Can Tell You When It's Time to Shut down a New Business
Summary of Research Applications
Conducting Ethical Research
Designing the Research Using Ethical Standards
Inform and Respect Participants
Collect, Process, and Analyze Data Using Ethical Standards
Report Results Using Ethical Standards
The Future of Research


A: Questionnaires
A.1: What's Wrong with this Questionnaire?
A.2: Telephone Survey Questionnaire
A.3: Intercept Questionnaire
A.4: One-On-One Depth Interview Cover Letter and Questionnaire

Appendix B: Telephone Survey Codebook

Appendix C: Survey Printouts
C.1: Selected Frequency Tables
C.2: Selected Cross-Tabulation Tables

Appendix D: Research Budgets
D.1: Telephone Survey Budget
D.2: Mail Survey Budget
D.3: Focus Group Budget


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