Review of Communication Research

MASS COMMUNICATION                                                                                                 

Title & Author

Synthesizing a Working Definition of "Mass" Media

Potter, W. James

University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Highlights

• A clear conceptualization of a focal phenomenon is essential to the development of a scholarly field.

• Scholars have largely ignored the task of constructing a definition of “mass media” or “mass communication.”

• The few scholars who have attempted defining these terms have struggled with faulty definitional elements.

• The task of conceptualizing “mass” media has become even more important – and difficult – in the new media environment.

• The cutting edge question: Is it useful to make a distinction between “mass” media and non-“mass” media?

• This review presents an argument for why it is important to make a distinction between “mass” and non-“mass” media.

• A definition of “mass” media is synthesized by using a systematic four step process.

• The definition of “mass” media resulting from this process of synthesis is: The sender is a complex organization that uses standardized practices to disseminate messages while actively promoting itself in order to attract as many audience members as possible, then conditioning those audience members for habitual repeated exposures. Audiences members are widely dispersed geographically, are aware of the public character of what they are seeing or hearing, and encounter messages in a variety of exposure states but most often in a state of automaticity. Channels of message dissemination are technological devices that can make messages public, extend the availability of messages in time and space, and can reach audiences within a relatively short time.

• Because “mass” media is conceptualized as a special set of media scholarship, “mass” media research requires special designs and analyses.

Abstract

Media scholars as well as the public frequently use the terms “mass communication” and “mass media,” but the meaning of these terms is often ambiguous. While it is assumed that everyone knows what these terms mean, the few scholars who attempt to define these terms struggle to capture the essence of their meaning without including elements that are faulty, and this task is becoming even more difficult in the new media environment. We are left with the troubling question: What are the “mass” media? This review constructs an answer to this question in a four step process. The first step features a critical analysis of the literature to identify definitional elements used by scholars. These definitional elements are subjected to four screens that evaluate their utility in a second step. The third step adds elements missing from the literature so as to make the eventual definition more useful in the new media environment. Finally, the fourth step features the construction of a working definition of “mass” media.

Content

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF CONCEPTUALIZATIONS

Conceptualization of Receivers

Conceptualization of Channels of Transmission

Conceptualization of Senders

THE PROBLEM

Definitional Quandary

New Media Environment

Technological convergence.

Interactivity.

Information saturation.

Shift in marketing perspective.

EVALUATION OF DEFINITIONAL ELEMENTS

Too General

Too Specific

Faulty Elements

Fuzzy Elements

ADDING ELEMENTS

Audience Size

Sender Strategy

Audience Experience

ASSEMBLING DEFINITIONAL ELEMENTS

CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

APPENDIX

COPYRIGHT AND REPOSITORIES

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Synthesizing a Working Definition of “Mass” Media

W. James Potter

 

Keywords: Mass media, mass communication, conceptualization, definition, lineation theory, critical analysis

 

W. James
  Filesize 375.28 KB Download 4442

How to cite

Potter, W. J. (2013). Synthesizing a Working Definition of “Mass” Media. Review of Communication Research, 1(1), 1-30. doi: 10.12840/issn.2255-4165_2013_01.01_001

Keywords

Mass Media, Mass Communication, Conceptualization, Definition, Lineation Theory, Critical Analysis

VIDEO GAMES                 

Title and Author

Video Games as a Multifaceted Medium: A Review of Quantitative Social Science Research on Video Games and a Typology of Video Game Research Approaches

Ivory, James D.

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

Highlights

• Much quantitative social science research has explored video games’ social impact using widely varied methods and approaches.

• As light is sometimes studied as a wave and sometimes as a particle, video game research has used many perspectives.

• It is difficult to compare some game research because studies often examine one social dimension of games while ignoring others.

• Researchers exploring different video game dimensions are sometimes like the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant.

• A typology of social science research approaches to video games will aid comparison, synthesis, and expansion of research.

• This review of video game research approaches identifies four distinct perspectives used in much video game research.

• The “video games as stimulus” perspective includes research focused on effects of game content and features on users.

• The “video games as avocation” perspective includes research focused on users of video games and their commitment to the medium.

• The “video games as skill” perspective includes research focused on video games as a tool for developing skills and abilities.

• The “video games as social environment” perspective includes research focused on social interaction between game users.

Abstract

Although there is a vast and useful body of quantitative social science research dealing with the social role and impact of video games, it is difficult to compare studies dealing with various dimensions of video games because they are informed by different perspectives and assumptions, employ different methodologies, and address different problems. Studies focusing on different social dimensions of video games can produce varied findings about games’ social function that are often difficult to reconcile— or even contradictory. Research is also often categorized by topic area, rendering a comprehensive view of video games’ social role across topic areas difficult. This interpretive review presents a novel typology of four identified approaches that categorize much of the quantitative social science video game research conducted to date: “video games as stimulus,” “video games as avocation,” “video games as skill,” and “video games as social environment.” This typology is useful because it provides an organizational structure within which the large and growing number of studies on video games can be categorized, guiding comparisons between studies on different research topics and aiding a more comprehensive understanding of video games’ social role. Categorizing the different approaches to video game research provides a useful heuristic for those critiquing and expanding that research, as well as an understandable entry point for scholars new to video game research. Further, and perhaps more importantly, the typology indicates when topics should be explored using different approaches than usual to shed new light on the topic areas. Lastly, the typology exposes the conceptual disconnects between the different approaches to video game research, allowing researchers to consider new ways to bridge gaps between the different approaches’ strengths and limitations with novel methods.

Content

INTRODUCTION

Figure 1. Conceptual Model of Social Dimensions of Video Games Examined by Different Video Game Research Approaches.

Table 1. Overview of Quantitative Social Science Video Game Research Approaches.

VIDEO GAMES AS STIMULUS

Definition and Characteristics

Examples

Violence.

Portrayals of gender, race, and age.

Advertising and product placement.

Technological advancement.

Game controls.

Trends in Popularity over Time

Advantages and Limitations

VIDEO GAMES AS AVOCATION

Definition and Characteristics

Examples

Video game use.

Problematic use and “addiction.”

Trends in Popularity over Time

Advantages and Limitations

VIDEO GAMES AS SKILL

Definition and Characteristics

Examples

Perception, cognition, and motor skills.

Physical activity.

Trends in Popularity over Time

Advantages and Limitations

VIDEO GAMES AS SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

Definition and Characteristics

Examples

Social interaction and relationships.

Online behavioral observation.

Trends in Popularity over Time

Advantages and Limitations

APPLYING THE TYPOLOGY WHEN CRITIQUING AND CONDUCTING RESEARCH

CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES

COPYRIGHTS AND REPOSITORIES

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Video Games as a Multifaceted Medium: A Review of Quantitative Social Science Research on Video Games and a Typology of Video Game Research Approaches

James D. Ivory

 

Keywords: Video Games; Media Effects; Violent Video Games; Video Game Characters; Video Game Addiction; Exergames; Active Video Games; Online Games; Virtual Environments

  Filesize 1 MB Download 7708

How to cite

Ivory, J. D. (2013). Video Games as a Multifaceted Medium: A Review of Quantitative Social Science Research on Video Games and a Typology of Video Game Research Approaches. Review of Communication Research, 1(1), 31-68. doi: 10.12840/issn.2255-4165_2013_01.01_002

More info

Video Games, Media Effects. Violent Video Games. Video Game Characters, Video Game Addiction, Exergames, Active Video Games, Online Games, Virtual Environments

About the Author

http://www.comm.vt.edu/People_in_Comm/Faculty_Bios/ivory_bio.html

http://jamesdivory.com

METHODOLOGY             

Title & Author

Quantitative Communication Research: Review, Trends, and Critique

Levine, Timothy R.

Michigan State University, MI, USA (now at Korea University, South Korea)

Highlights

• Trends in quantitative communication research are reviewed with a content analysis of articles published in leading journals.

• Health communication and computer mediated communication have become increasingly popular topic of communication research.

• Null hypothesis significance testing remains the dominant approach to statistical inference.

• Survey research and close-ended, self-report measurement are the most common methods in quantitative communication research.

• Hypotheses and findings involving statistical mediation and moderation have become increasingly common.

• Reporting the shapes of distributions, estimates of statistical power, and confidence intervals, unfortunately, remain uncommon.

Abstract

Trends in quantitative communication research are reviewed. A content analysis of 48 articles reporting original communication research published in 1988-1991 and 2008-2011 is reported. Survey research and self-report measurement remain common approaches to research. Null hypothesis significance testing remains the dominant approach to statistical analysis. Reporting the shapes of distributions, estimates of statistical power, and confidence intervals remain uncommon. Trends over time include the increased popularity of health communication and computer mediated communication as topics of research, and increased attention to mediator and moderator variables. The implications of these practices for scientific progress are critically discussed, and suggestions for the future are provided.

Content

METHOD

Sample and Sampling

Coding

RESULTS

Table 1. Trends in Quantitative Communication Research over 20 Years in Premiere Communication Journals

DISCUSSION

REFERENCES

COPYRIGHTS AND REPOSITORIES

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Quantitative Communication Research: Review, Trends, and Critique

Timothy R. Levine

 

Keywords: Quantitative Research; Statistics; Research Design; Measurement

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How to cite

Levine, T. R. (2013). Quantitative Communication Research: Review, Trends, and Critique. Review of Communication Research, 1(1), 69-84. doi: 10.12840/issn.2255-4165_2013_01.01_003

Keywords

Quantitative Research, Statistics, Research Design, Measurement

About the Author

http://www.msu.edu/~levinet

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