Talking to the darkness

Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’

This essay put forward a reasoned argument about the way research into the effects of the media have been so badly constructed. David Gauntlett has previously argued that there is little to prove that media affects our behaviour. Here he takes the approach that the research has taken the wrong approach. It looks as if all research ‘knew’ that exposure to the media was bad and set out to prove this. I was very interested in the research that suggested that disaffected youth spent very little time watching the television, whereas the media headline with violence in the media causes violent teenagers. There seems to be conflicting ideas that suggest that children cannot differentiate between real and animated violence, as in Tom and Jerry, but equally that these same children understand sexual innuendo. This also seems at odds with the violence in factual and news programs which is seen as acceptable. The first part of the essay talked about the attitudes brought to the research by the researcher. The second part of the essay talks about how the research was done. It was interesting that he talks about who the researcher is affects the answers given. Having just read the research on the media interaction of children in India, there great care and thought had been taken in who would interview the children for this project. David Gauntlett does not see the methodology used by some researchers as viable causing results to have dubious factual basis. The conclusion seems to be that the basis for all this work, that media influences behaviour, is unproven and basing your work on an unproven fact is unlikely to produce viable research.

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One response

  1. Rebekah

    I think the Livingstone article for this week provided a nice dialogue to Gauntlett’s 10 points. It quite easy to dismiss effects research based on methodology – the hard thing is to think about how to find out about the effects of media on children. We don’t want to end up saying – it’s really complicated, so let’s not think about it. That doesn’t help anyone!

    November 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm

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