Research Methods and the New Media

Research Methods and the New Media

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The "new media" -- interactive videodiscs, telecommunications, computers, VCRs, teletext systems, and more -- present researchers with new challenges when it comes to studying practical applications or theoretical effects. This valuable volume aids researchers in first recognizing the special qualities of interactivity, demassification, and asynchroneity that the new media have created and to instruct professional researchers and students in alternative research methods, multiple methods, and the triangulation of results. For the first time, a variety of methods are examined as they apply to new media research, including mathematical modeling, controlled experiments, quasiexperiments, surveys, longitudinal studies, field studies, archival and secondary research, futures research and forecasting, content analysis, case studies, and focus groups. Whether the problem to be researched is as focused as considering the cost-benefit for a school wishing to adopt computers in the classroom or as wide-ranging as determining the effects of video games on child socialization, this up-to-date and thorough guide alerts researchers to the pitfalls of traditional methodology and offers a firm foundation upon which they can build reliable, accurate projects able to produce sound more

Product details

  • Paperback | 228 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 15.24mm | 340.19g
  • The Free Press
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0029353319
  • 9780029353318

About Frederick Williams

Frederick Williams is Mary Gibbs Jones Centennial Professor at the Center for Research on Communication, Technology & Society of the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of The New Communications, among other more

Table of contents

ContentsPrefacePART I. Perspectives on Research on the New Media1. Distinctions in the Study of New MediaThe New MediaNew Media -- Components and CombinationsTelecommunicationsComputingNew Service ApplicationsSpecial Qualities of New MediaThree DimensionsSome Distinctions of New Media ResearchThe Research ChallengeSummary2 Trends in the Study of New MediaThe Influence of Communication Media on ResearchThe Media and Research TraditionsThe Sequence of MediaChildren and MediaCommunication Theories and MediaThe Direction of Communication ResearchPaths Not TakenCommunication Policy AnalysisExpanding the Study of Media TechnologiesSummary3. Choosing among Alternative Research DesignsConflicts Over Research MethodsConventional ApproachesMathematical ModelingControlled ExperimentsQuasi-experimentsSurveysLongitudinal StudiesField StudiesArchival and Secondary ResarchFutures Research and ForecastingContent AnalysisCase StudiesFocus GroupsAssumptions and Criticisms of Conventional and Positivist ApproachesAlternative to Conventional Research Methods and DesignsSources and RationalesInterpretive ApproachContextualismAction ResearchCriteria for Choosing Among Designs and MethodsA Triangulation Example in the Study of Word ProcessingSummaryNotesPART II. Problems and Solutions for Research4. Validity, Reliability, and SamplingRequirements of Research DesignsA Case Study of Teletext ResearchElements of Research DesignValidityReliabilitySamplingStudying the New Media Over TimeNeed for a Temporal PerspectiveChoices in Over-time ResearchProblems in Studying New Media Over TimeSummaryNotes5. Adoption of New MediaThe Importance of InteractivityWhat Is the Diffusion Paradigm?The Critical Mass in the Adoption of Interactive MediaAdoption of Computer-Mediated Communication SystemsImplications of the Critical Mass Concept for Research MethodsForecasting the Diffusion of New MediaAn Emphasis on PredictionThe Failure of Videodisc PlayersCenters of Forecasting ResearchHow Accurate Are Forecasts?How Is the Rate of Adoption Forecast?Why Are Certain Forecasting Methods More Accurate?Can 2 Million French People Be Wrong?Summary6. Using Computer-Monitored DataAutomating Data CollectionCharacteristics of Computer-Monitored DataAdvantages for Validity and ReliabilityComparing Computer-Monitored Data to Self-Report DataResearch Uses of Computer-Monitored DataMonitoring and InitiatingTypes of Data and Research Design ElementsAn Example Showing a Combination of UsesRetesting the Erie County Study with Computer-Monitored SurveysMerging Computer-Monitored Data with Questionnaire DataData CombinationsProblemsMerging the DataResultsSummary7. Strategies for Studying CasesWhy Do a Case Study?What Defines a Case Study?Microcomputers in the Schools: A Case Study ExampleBackground and ProblemMethodResultsGeneral Steps for Designing a Case Study1. Specify the Need for a Case Study2. Define the Unit of Analysis3. Plan Data-Gathering and Analyses4. Carry Out the Research PlanSummary8. Implementing Formative EvaluationA "Developmental" ApproachCharacteristics of Formative EvaluationBackgroundEvaluation as a Research FocusFormative as Against Summative EvaluationPractical BenefitsUses with New MediaSteps in Formative Evaluation1. Define Objectives2. Select the Scope of the Research3. Select Data-Gathering Methods4. Analyze Results and Provide FeedbackFormative Evaluation as Mass Communications ResearchSummary9. Evaluating Costs and BenefitsReturn on InvestmentMethods for Costs AnalysesTypes of AnalysesApplications to New MediaMajor Steps in a Cost Analysis1. Define the Problem2. Select the Analysis Method3. Gather Data4. Conduct Analysis and Draw ConclusionsBeyond Cost AnalysesSummary10. Measuring ProductivityGoing Beyond Costs and BenefitsProductivity as Efficiency RatiosBasic Production RatiosRatios of Revenues Relative to Personnel or TechnologyReturn-on-Investment RatiosRatios Relative to Value AddedMore on the Value-Added ConceptExamples of Productivity AnalysesBasic Cost-Benefit AnalysisValue AddedCapital-Labor Trade-offNew Media as Strategic InvestmentSelecting OptionsGaining Competitive AdvantageSummaryPART III. New Considerations11. New Theoretical ApproachesThe Need for New TheoryThe Networks and New MediaNetwork Paradigm, Data, Measures, and MethodsInfluence of Networks on Adoption of Computer SystemsInteraction and InvolvementThe Nature of InteractivityPsychological Involvement and Interactive VideodiscsSocial Involvement and Parasocial InteractionSummary12. Issues of Ethics and IdeologyHuman Costs and BenfitsResearch with Human SubjectsBackgroundThe Belmont ReportInstitutional General AssurancePractical NotesPrivacy as an Example of an Ethical IssueMaking Private Information PublicPersonal PrivacyProtecting Privacy in ResearchEquity as an Example of an Ethical IssueSummaryAppendix: On-line Data-base ServicesReferencesIndexshow more

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