We human beings search for things everyday in our lives. We are always curious to know what, who, why, where, when and how something we want or need takes place. A day would not pass in our life where we will not search for some information regarding something, whether what to eat, what to buy today, where to go next weekend, who to meet and so on. This is our every day routine to make decisions and choices, which is named as research. Berger (2014) best describes the word ‘research’ as seeking information for something. Research is all about collecting information about something in order to make a decision. It’s about learning and discovering new things. It’s about broadening your own horizon as well as advancing your knowledge. Research is driven by a question or problem which then guides the process, seeking information with a clear goal in mind getting an answer to make a decision. Research happens every day in our life, consciously or not.
Let’s say if we are planning a vacation trip to somewhere, we will eventually learn about places we have never been before, discuss and get opinions from each other, search travel magazines and more. If we plan to go shopping for food, we will search for the best place to buy all-in-one with cheapest price and good quality, we talk among friends, seek information from neighbors, and search from advertisements and so on. This is all research, whether we realize we are doing it or not; this is the way of our lives.
Although we daily collect information, compare and make spontaneous selections on casual things based on perceptions and common senses; everyday research is different from the scholarly researches we conduct. Scholarly researches like media researches are more systematic and planned; more intense and theory based when searching and collecting information about a topic. It focuses more on knowledge about real world than personal compared with our everyday research. Media research ranges from science fiction to comics, comedies and drama to reality show, newspaper to online sites, news to entertainment on radio. Any search or survey which involves investigating what group of people read which journals or newspaper and listen to or watch which radio or television program is a media research.
There are two broad categories of media research; quantitative research and qualitative research where quantitative refers to numbers, magnitude and measurements, while qualitative involves evaluation, and judgment, matters such as text’s properties and degree of excellence (Berger, 2014). Qualitative research techniques like semiotics or ideological analysis, is used best for times when we are interested in narratives carried by mass media. According to Berger (2014), quantitative research methods like content analysis or surveys are most suitable if we are interested in the effects of media. It is best to use qualitative research as quantitative are very narrow, basing their research on what they can count, measure and observe only.
There are various aspects of media for us to choose for research, naming Electronic media like radio, television, film: Print media like newspaper, magazines, and comics: and Internet media like online journals, mobile apps, websites and search engines. With these various aspects of media, I like to choose Internet, as it is the best, mobile, most efficient, convenient, anytime-anywhere accessible aspect of media when researching in our life today. It saves space and time as well, where we need not have a big TV box which requires huge space, or travel all the way to a library for books and journals. It is apparent that internet has become a common phenomenon for us in today’s world; whatever we want to know or research, we eventually use internet platforms and search engines like YouTube, Google, etc, and with Internet, I am able to research all about healthy lifestyle, gym and diet which is my main research topic in life.
Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and Communication Research Methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32 , viewed on 30 March 2015