Week 3: Scientific Methods in Media Effects Research

Your third week’s mission is now available:

  1. Having watched the in-class video, perused the handouts and read Chapter 2 of our Media Effects textbook, pick one of the four scientific methods (content analysis, survey, experiment, epidemiological approach) and briefly discuss an example of how you would use it. Post this as a comment in a 200 words or less, while using the textbook, readings and/or personal experience.

Deadline: 30st Jan, Tuesday, 11pm

Besides the textbook and the handouts, here are some related materials:



Filed under Assignment

61 responses to “Week 3: Scientific Methods in Media Effects Research

  1. I think I would like to conduct an experiment about the effect of predators on the population number of deer. Predators will be cheetahs and the prey are deer. I shall film the action and record down how many deer are taken down per day. The experiment will be one month’s time to make it accurate. Then the results will be compiled into a line graph or bargraph.

  2. Goh Li Rong :)

    The only experiments I recall doing were those from Secondary School during Science classes. I guess the components required are the same for media effects research as well.

    Firstly, there needs to be the independent variable of which you can manipulate. This is the variable that you change when you want to find out if the presence or quantity of it affects something. Next, there’s the dependent variable of which you measure as a result of the independent variable. This is the variable that you want to know whether or not is affected by the independent variable. Lastly, there is the control experiment. The control is meant to ensure that the result is due to the manipulation of the independent variable rather than something else. It is conducted in the exact same way as the experiment, with the exception of the varied factor.

    An example is, you want to find out if a fertiliser makes a plant grow taller. The independent variable would be the fertiliser and the dependent variable would be the height of the plant that you measure. The control would be held in the exact same way as the experiment, just that it would not have the independent variable – fertiliser.

  3. Maria Paul

    Of the four scientific methods, survey stands out to me. Personally for me, survey has been the most used and applied method.

    I remember doing my first survey in secondary school when I was approached by this young man. I was required to fill out a ‘Starbucks’ survey form. If I am right, he was a polytechnic student and was doing some research on the cafeterias in Singapore.

    However, I only begun to give much thought about this method when I was required to do a survey of my own for my COM 317 (Business communciations). I needed to give a speech and had to include my survey deatils in it. The process taught me that coming up with a survey is not that easy afterall.

    I would have to agree that I struggled quite awhile before I could come up with appropriate questions. I had to make sure that my questions were creative, clear and useful (for me!).

    Nevertheless, hardwork always pay off in the end. My survey provided me with the details that I needed to ‘spice up’ my speech. I had a clearer view of my audience’s opinion and also gathered more information through their random comments.

    In my opinion, I find survey to be the easiest to carry out among all the other four methods. Through surveys, one gets to learn more information about the topic interested and this in a way edifies whatever research you are doing. For the others (I maybe wrong as I not really gotten into them), they seem tedious and tough. I do not really have the confidence to do a good job in them. On the other hand, maybe this may also change once I master the intricasies of theses methods.

  4. In my point of view, survey is the fastest and easiest way to conduct a scientific menthod. The “hardest part” of it is just when we have to form questions that will be posted on the questionnaire. In forming questions, we have to pick questions which can help us to build a conclusion based on people’s answer. For example, if we want to know how people think about the importance of blogging, then we might ask them few questions like:
    “Do you own a blog?” (close-ended question)
    “If so, what is/are the benefit(s) that you have found from blogging?” (open-ended question)
    “Why do you blog?
    a) express opinion and thoughts
    b) find people with the same interest(s)
    c) school’s assignment
    d) others _____ (please mention)”

    Those kind of questions can help you to generate ideas of what people thinking about your research topic, then you can put your survey results in a form of statistic in your research report.

    I have done surveys before. The current one was for my speech about piracy. I printed my questions and have it answered by people who attended the class that day. After I got all the responses, I analyzed it and changed it into statistical form. Well, for your information, more than 85% of the respondents did not support piracy but they are still buying the porated goods, as the price for the original stuff is not affordable sometimes. 🙂

    For me, survey is the most convenient way out of the rest scientific methods! It doesn’t need particular observation and all that, just distribute questionnaire, analyze the results, and it’s all done. Fast and easy.

  5. *typo error in the 5th lines from below*

    porated goods = PIRATED GOODS

    sorry 🙂

  6. The one and the only one that I know well and did is just survey.

    I do remember the time when we were asked to do a survey for our COM 317 class last semester. We have to do it for our speech information.
    What we have to do is to ask our classmates their opinionabout the subject that we did. We are randomly choose some of them to represent the entire COM 317 class member.
    We have to use the result that we got from the survey to make a conclusion that really represent the class.
    For example, I was doing a speech about smoking. I asked in the survey how seldom do they exposed to a cigarette. From the result that I got, 95% of them are always exposed to cigarette.

    From the survey that I did, I have learned that to make a good survey is to make the question is easy to understand for the respondents and giving a clear instruction on how to answer the survey.

  7. K G Sangheetha

    When it comes to choosing the best scientific method to do research, there is never just the right method. Each individual method is unique, and has its own pros and cons. The scientific method of experimentation is not only interesting, but also relatively reliable.

    Experiments give a researcher a free reign of control, as the researcher is able to manipulate certain variables in order to focus more on the results that he is searching for. After creating a hypothesis for the research, the experimenter will decide on his dependent and independent variables. There are mainly four types of experiments; controlled experiments, observational study, natural experiments and field experiments.

    For example, if I am interested in learning about the correlation between sale prices and demand of a product, I would most probably conduct an experiment where I would vary the price (dependent variable) of a particular product and observe how consumers react to the price change. I would set up three scenarios. The first would be the product sold at the cost price, the second scenario would be the product sold at a discounted price, and finally the product sold at a higher price than the cost price. Since I am interested in how the price change affects demand, that would only variable I would change. Every other variable remains constant. After observing whether the price of the product significantly affects the demand of the product, I would draw a conclusion. To ensure that my experiment is valid and reliable, I would conduct a similar experiment in a few months, and hopefully recollect similar findings.

  8. jiayi

    Well, the scientific method that i did so far and remembered the most is probably the survey method.

    During my JC days, we have to do a survey for our projectwork. I still recalled that we had a hard time thinking of what kind of questions to put in our survey forms. Our group came out with around 8 questions consisting of mostly “mcq questions” and some free response questions. As our project is more about banking, we went to raffles place and gave out the survey forms.

    It is a tiring job but we learned quite a lot. Some of the people that did our survey forms commented some of our questions are too broad while some are not clear enough. This experience taught us to phrase our questions more specifically and suitable for our topic.

  9. Pam

    Out of all the scientific methods in media effects research, the one which I can most closely relate to is the survey method. The most recent survey that I conducted was for my Com. 317 speech that I gave last semester. The survey that I conducted gave me a better view on what my classmates thought about my speech topic. Thus, I was able to tailor my speech to the wants and needs of my classmates.

    As my speech was on the impact of skinny supermodels on girls with eating disorders, the survey results allowed me to find out how much my classmates knew about the issue. Through the couple of survey questions, i found out about their take on the topic, and therefore i could deliver my speech in a way that was the most persuasive to my audience.

    In conclusion, I find that the survey method is the most easy to administer and that the results from the survey are easily interpreted too.

  10. Nashrin

    As with many others, I prefer to use the survery method the most. Simply because it is the fastest and easiest to do so in terms of trying to get data from many people. The largest scale survey I has done was in polytechnic, where we questioned people on their Internet usage, everything from their modem speed to the amount of pornography they viewed, and as expected, that information was picked up by the media.

    I believe that each method for research might be suitable for some cases but not suitable for others. In that, we must know enough about each one to ascertain which method suits our research the best.

    However, if I were given the chance to do another research by survey method, I would most probably survey people to ensure whether some business ideas are viable or about the changing usage of the Internet.

  11. Of the four scientific methods, I guess the using of survey to conduct my research appeals to me most. The reason is due to the fact that I had quite a number of experience doing my research using the survey method.

    The most recent survey that I had conducted was during last year in my Persuasion class. It was about the endangerment of certain animals. Well, I’m a wildlife lover and it was quite sad that when you finalised the results and noticed that more than half of your classmates did not notice the endangerment of some species. However, it was quite encouraging that I realised most of them left their heart-felt comments about protecting the animals in one of my open-ended survey questions. The survey was a success as it helped me collect the information that I needed.

    The last experience was fun, especially if you are conducting a survey on a subject that interest you. Though the survey method might not be absolutely accurate, but it helps you to achieve a general opinion or comment towards the topic. Depending on what kind of survey group you are targeting, the end result is often assumed to be the general view point of the public. It kind of helps you to get a clear view of what the public wants/thinks.

    If I were to conduct a survey again, it’d probably be about the themes of TV shows that appeal to audience in Singapore. =)

  12. I would use the scientific method of content analysis to find out what bestselling fantasy novels have in common. In other words, I would like to find out what draws fantasy readers to these books.

    To do this, I will first draw a random sample of popular fantasy novels from all the fantasy novels still in print. Then, I would peruse the manifest content and systematically categorize it under various headings such as: action sequence, fluff/romantic scenes, word play, etc. This would enable me to quantify the data.

    Lastly, I would interpret my findings to discover what makes these fantasy novels so well-liked, and use the results to better my own writing.

  13. Personally, I would take to the “Content Analysis” method of research. This is because it allows for data to materialise itself.

    Scientific research is all about numbers to prove a theory. Content analysis, being quantitative, does just that. Having data physically manifesting itself would be alot more effective when it comes to proving a theory.

    Sure the rest of the methods might be just as effective or even more so. However, content analysis has the information right there waiting to be used. Other methods also require more manpower in retriving data, but for content analysis, manpower is significantly less.

    To sum, all methods of research is useful one way or another, it all boils down to what kind of data you are seeking.

  14. oops! I forgot to answer the question. On how I would use Content Analysis, I would like to know if children’s television programs are too violent for kids these days.

    I would first take a random sample of the recent children’s shows and start categorising them into their specific genres.

    Next, I would determind the units of measure, in this case, the number of fight scenes in the shows selected.

    Then, I would start quantifiying the number of times fights occurs.

    Lastly, I would translate the quantified numbers as my findings.

    Based my results, I would be able to prove if children’s television programs are deemed too violent.

  15. William Siew Jing Wen

    As for me, I will like to find out the effects of frequency in addressing the political agendas through media affects the knowledge of adolescent towards the politics issues.

    Out of the four scientific research methods, I will choose sample survey to evaluate my findings.

    1. First, I shall decide a random sample of young people between the age of 18 – 25 years old.
    2. Next, I will conduct a questionnaire after setting a set of questions in regards to the TV programmes relating to political issues on air.
    3. Based on the descriptive findings, responses pertaining to their knowledge and attitudes on political issues through such programmes will be collected.
    4. Such responses will be evaluated to determine the statistical relationship between the frequency of political programmes and the knowledge of politic issues among the adolescents.
    5. Through the measure of behaviors and responses through the outcomes of the survey, proper and clear interpretation of findings is necessary.
    6. Lastly, a trend study will be conducted after an amiable time period to observe the change in the responses towards the political agendas that were discussed on air.

    Throughout the survey procedures, we need to identify if the increase in the frequency of political agendas through media results in the increase of political knowledge in adolescents, ie. positive or negative correlation.

    It is also important to eliminate any possible third-variable exaplanations, such as knowledge that were acquired through other forms of channel to make sure that the findings are reliable and justified.

  16. We have hold a Fight Against Aids campaign in the last semester. During the event, we need to do many content analysis, surveys, experiments as well as epidemiological approach.
    For example, our task is to create a poster with the theme Fight Aids. We have been looking for all the ads, poster about Aids on the Internet. Then, we analysize them. We count how many times the virus images being used, how frequency sexual ads appeared… in order to find the Formula for Best Poster for AIDS campaign.
    After that, we designed our poster and use experiment to test the effect of them. We had 5 different designs. We asked our friends to see the poster in 30s,then close their eyes. Each of them was asked to describe the poster which they remember most. By doing this experiment, we were able to select the most effective poster.
    The further we went into the competition, the more we realized survey result wasn’t reliable. When giving out questionnaires, I observed the way people filling their forms. Most of the time, people don’t even look at the question yet anyhow fill it in. I think, I was practicing epidemiological approach at that time.

  17. The scientific method which I am most familiar with would have to be the survey method. I didn’t use to think of lot of the surveys which I used to fill up mindlessly until I had to create one of my own for MGM301. The close ended questions had to allow options that would make sense to the research and the open ended ones had to be simple and clear so people would bother to answer it. Open ended ones were the hardest to tally though.
    Like most of my other classmates, the last survey I did was for COM331 which required us to give a speech. Since the speech was meant for the class, the class becomes my sample. My topic was on Pink Ribbons Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign so I created a survey that would allow me to determine my audience’s knowledge on my topic which aids me in preparing an appropriate speech.
    In short, the survey method is pretty simple to execute and interpret. You just need pick your sample, create a suitable survey made out of various types of questions, have your sample fill it up and interpret the results either qualitative or quantitative.

  18. There are different ways to collect and interpret data. However, I would like to use Qualitative methods as it can be used to achieve a deeper understanding of an issue and develop detailed stories to describe a phenomenon. One example of qualitative analysis is through Experiment.

    Firstly, I would need a hypothesis. In this case, I would like to find out if coffee affects the ability for one to have a peaceful sleep.

    Secondly, I would have a randomized experiment with a control group. Both groups will have a a pretest at the same time – maybe count the hours of rest they had and measure their blood pressure before they slept. However, the 1st group will have a treatment/program of say, 5 cups of coffee per day and the control group will have no treatment – the 5 coffee cups. Finally, both groups will have the post test at the same time – measure their blood pressure and the number of hours of sleep they had.

    The aim of this is to see if the 1st group had any outcome/change in their number of hours of sleep from their pretest to their post test due to the treatment – drinking coffee.

    However, to make it more accurate (controlling threats), a control group is needed as there is no evidence to show that the result of the post test was due to the treatment unless there was a control group to measure threats.

  19. The nature of leadership has always intrigued me. While there are hundreds of definitions about leadership, leadership still remains as one of the most common and least understood phenomena in the world. I would use content analysis to do research on this phenomenon. According to our notes, the purpose of content analysis is to learn something about the content and those who produced the message. This is especially relevant because leadership includes the life experiences of people. Detailed analysis and comparisons of lived experience would certainly afford a more holistic understanding of leadership and therefore, enable reasonable conclusions. In this analysis, the systematic process of coding, selection of samples, statistical analysis and interpretation are advocated.

  20. Actually, we all had to come up with our own surveys as part of a speech writing process for COM317 – Business and Professional Writing last semester.

    Following a certain format given by our lecturer we ensured a fair variety of MCQ, scale, and open-ended questions (2 of each). I did mine, interestingly, on Columbine and metal music’s possible influence. I totally bombed my speech, but the survey process was interesting. Applying what I learnt from Research Methods, I TRIED to make my questions as cumulative as possible (if that’s what you call it, I remember the principle but forgot the term).

    We all zapped enough copies to go round the whole class, which was the same size as 125A, and one whole lecture was spent filling about 15-20 of these surveys. It got a little exhausting after the the 3/4 point, but at the same time it was so fun to fill your opinion and thoughts in. It was even more of a reward when our papers were returned to us filled and completed.

    I gained immense satisfaction from whipping up statistic results after inputting the data, but I had no darn idea what to do with the open-ended responses. All I could garner for my speech were very general statements like ‘A good many of you in the survey wrote that you did not like metal because ??????’, which actually were clearly inferrable from the numerical results. Still, it was a great experience conducting my own mini-research.

  21. “One of the best ways to investigating people is to ask them questions directly.”–As quoted from the text, I feel that indeed, the survey method is the easiest to use as it reaches the majority of the population fast enough.

    Just last semester, I actually conducted an in-class cross-sectional survey to find out how many people are donating blood regularly.

    As stated, it was an in-class survey; the sample is of course my classmates. Following it was the questionnaire. I had to come up with different types of questions for my sample. I used mainly 3 types of questions–YES/NO question, answering on a scale and open-ended questions. I had to make sure I did not ask any leading question so that the results will not be biased. Then, I tabulated the result. I calculated the percentage and present the result on a pie chart. Due to my purpose of the survey and the way I phrase my questions, I did not expect to see any correlations in my result. My purpose was to understand the situation and try to improve the situation.

    Overall, the survey helped me quite a bit in understanding the situation and gave me a clearer picture. This makes it easier for me to formulate arguments for the persuasive speech which I was supposed to present.

  22. The scientific method of survey is what I would use. This is the only method I have been exposed to most. It is also the least time consuming out of all four methods. I am not saying that it is good to get it over and done with, but sometimes certain situations need to be dealt with faster than any others. Thus, each of the proposed scientific method has their own purposes in a given situation.

    The survey method is beneficial in helping gather opinions of the individual, based on a particular topic. From there, I would be able to group the class based on their interest. By doing so, an assumption could be made, allowing me to target each group according to their needs.

  23. Of all the ways to collect and interpret data, I think a mixture of both qualitative and quanititative methods will yield the best findings. Only then will the results, and the future interpretion of results be more accurate and precise.

    However, if I am to choose amongst the four scientific methods, I would pick survey. As some of my classmates have stated, we were required to do that for COM317 last semester. A survey is good, simply because you can gather qualitative and quantitative data from it. Quantitative (ie, the yes and no questions) and the qualitative (the open ended questions, that determine audience attitudes). And of course, I probably think it’s the best so far because I’ve personally administered one myself, along with the rest of my COM317 classmates!

  24. Having read through chapter two of the book, it is clear that each of the four different research methods have their own strengths. Therefore, each method has its comparative advantage and one might be more suitable than the other in any given study.

    Throughout my academic career, I have done surveys, experiments and, to a certain extent, even content analysis. Hence, if I was to choose any of the four methods, I would definitely choose the epidemiological approach.

    The epidemiological approach is basically observing multiple related variables to investigate whether a particular variable illicits a certain result. Since we are on the topic of media effects, one good example would be the study of media effects on smoking habits. A typical epidemiological research would not only study media messages, but would also include other fields, like sociology.

    If I were to carry out the study, I would study the smokers’ diets, mood patterns, lifestyle and family members. Being a smoker myself, I know that these few variables are a few of the key determinants of smoking habit. Hence, by studying these factors, along with media effects, I will be able to find out whether the media has a positive impact on smoking, if any at all.

    It can be said that the main strength of epidemiological studies is in determining whether a variable brings about a certain result, while trying to eliminate external causes as well. What this does is that it makes the study high in validity, which is one aspect all reseachers should strive for in their studies.

  25. One scientific method i would use as a method for research would be through survey. I feel that surveys are the best for research methods as ultimately, i could conclude something out of my survey results. For example, last semester, i conducted a class survey for my public speaking speech presentation to measure how much do the audience know about Animal Services Unit Officers in the United States. With the survey that i’ve conducted, i am able to give a substantial percentage to the audience while presenting my case. And i also feel that conducting surveys is a fast way for getting results and quantitative data can be calculated easily.

  26. Joanne Lin

    Out of the four scientific methods that are mentioned in the textbook, the one that I would pick to use for my experiment would be the survey method. As far as I remember, surveys was used commonly during my time in polytechnic. Whenever there was projects, surveys would definitely be part of the research component. On the surface, surveys seems to be an easy way of collecting data, but it is not that easy after all.

    I would use the survey method to find out if advertisements changes people’s opinions towards the products. A random sample could be use to ensure that the result would not be biase. Questions need to be precise for survey-takers to fully understand and respond to. One of the most important aspect of using the survey method would be coming up with good questions that are clear and relevant. Finally, I personally find that this method more manageable.

  27. In my communication course, research methods have been regarded as an important topic to cover. Some subjects which I have learnt that research methods hold great importance in includes Sociology, Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods and Business Communication.

    As mentioned by many of my peers, I too had the experience of conducting my own research for one of my communication modules. In that particular case, I employed the survey method as a way to gather my information.

    As my topic was with regards to whether discrimination does occur towards smokers, I first started off by asking a general question such as ie; are you a smoker? This led to narrower questions which focused on finding statistics required for my topic.

    As my survey sample was now divided into both smokers and non-smokers, I was able to see the relation of various attitudes towards the topic itself. This proved extremely beneficial as I was able to tell whether my survey results were biased.

    In my view, a survey was most suited for my research, as the topic focused on different individuals’ opinion. However, as seen in many textbooks, surveys are seldom used in a medical research.

    To test a theory and hypothesis, medical research teams employ the usage of the experimental method, where there is an independent and dependent variable which is observed.

  28. After watching the in-class video on “We Want Your Soul”, the first thing that came to my mind was that it was full of latent content. Latent content according to Sparks is content that might become apparent after a coder has interpreted the message before coding. In that respect, every single snippet was filled with hidden meanings and innuendos.

    As such, the best scientific research method to use to obtain relevant results, in my opinion, would be a sample survey – a way of investigating people by asking them questions directly.

    Example of questions that could be asked to yield relevant data would be, “After watching the video, what do you think its creator was trying to convey to his audience?” or “Based on the video, do you think we live in a society plagued by consumerism?”. That way, the latent content of the video can be explored.

  29. Siti Nur Aliah

    Is it safe to say that most of us have conducted a survey one way or another? 🙂 Last semester, we were asked to conduct one for our class. I had fun gathering data regarding what my peers thought about the sterilization of strays in Singapore. It not only benefitted my speech, it helped me with my voluntary work. Helping to address the dire need to address the issue.

    Anyway, I would like to conduct an experiment in the future. Regarding mob behaviour since I am very interested in the way people act and react in the midst of others. Perhaps plant someone in the middle of Orchard Road. In which case, this is labeled the ‘variable’. Make them act out something out of the ordinary to see how the people around will behave when such thing occurs. It’ll be enlightening to discover the dynamics of a human mind.

  30. Almost every other day, new music releases are being made in the world. Music is a universal language. Hence, in order to find out which genre of music reach out to people the best, I would use the scientific method of content analysis.

    Firstly, I would gather all the songs that have been on the top 10 list at least once, over a period of one year (2005 to 2006). Then I will sort out the songs according to the type of genre they belong to; for instance, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, classical etc. After which, I will be able to quantify the data and use it to further substantiate my research.

  31. I love fast cars. I also want to know which is the fastest. The best way to find out would be by conducting an experiment.

    To accurately determine which car is the fastest, I would measure the lap times of different models and makes of cars around a race track. To ensure my findings are valid, I must ensure that all cars are tested under identical conditions – everything else apart from the make and model of the car is kept constant.

    Experiments, if conducted properly, leave very little room for ‘what ifs’. In this case, we can precisely ascertain which car is the quickest by eliminating all other variables. And that, I think, is the beauty of experiments.

  32. If I had the choice, I would conduct all four scientific methods to test any theory because I feel that all four methods are insufficient. Thus they need each other to complement their mistakes. But since I could choose only one from the four, I would choose survey. Because participants can acknowledge the survey before they join (ethical), participants are not required to leave their names or addresses (anonymous) and participants have the privilege; the other three methods force the participants to pick strictly an answer or action (freedom).

    I did a survey months ago for a speech. All I did was to prepare a list of questions which include “Yes/NO”, “Scale of 1-5” and “open-ended” questions. It was pretty easy and efficient because surveys need not take up too much time and thus participants are more inclined to complete the surveys. After compiling my survey results, I arrived at a conclusion and used it in my public speech.

  33. Each scientific method has its own effectiveness depending on the research topic that is concerned. In this case where I have to choose one, I would choose to talk about the epidemiological approach. Since the book states that this method is useful for studying the impact of media in the natural world, plus we are doing a module on media effects, I would choose to use this method to approach media effects.

    I feel that in order to obtain accurate information about the impact of media, it should be conducted through in-depth observation. Survey and experiment methods do sound more convenient but as discussed in class, statistics do lie. It is easy to conduct a survey, but it is also just as easy to conduct a survey that produces biased results.

    Thus, I would use the epidemiological approach to carefully study the impact of the media on body image (chapter 10). Using this method, I can observe how different groups of people of different ages and gender react to high/low amount of exposure to slimming products’ commercials and stereotyped images. Aside from this, I must also consider external factors that may contribute to the reactions of the individuals. The result of this study will depend on how fairly the research is conducted.

  34. It seems to me that Survey is being abused big time here. I’m not about to bore you with the same old stuff.

    I have applied pretty much all of the scientific methods before. Experimentation has always been my thing. Yes, it is a lot harder to do but that is where the challenge lies.

    We would need control groups and those to be tested upon. Variables (both dependent and independent) are important aspects we need to keep a lookout on. For example, to test the impact of positive response on people, we can get a band to do the same exact setlist at two different nights. First night, get a group of people to act indifferent as if the band is really bad and then get some feedbacks about the show after that from the rest of the audience. Second night, get the same group of people to act really hyped up and crazy like it is some sellout show (this would normally create a social proof impact and get the rest of the audience crazy too), and then get the feedbacks after the show from the rest of the audience. Upon doing so, we can compare the result. The hypotheses should be that the second night, although it is the same exact show as the first, would receive much better feedback from the audience. If it turns out to be correct, then the experiment is a success.

  35. i personally would like to conduct a survey to find out if various forms of media really affect people. The short clip “We want your Soul” showed various programs showed. Accompanied with the song, i felt that even it was sending out a message to people, it felt like one of those subliminal messages meant to “brain wash” people into thinking that the media, especially the television is evil. Seeing just the video does not make me feel any different towards television. To me, i feel that it varies from person to person, some take in messages like a sponge, while some “filter” the information they see.

    If i were to really believe that media affects us greatly, i think i would conduct a survey. Taking demographics across the border to get the statistics. The survey would be used to find out how viewers really feel about the information they receive from the media and whether it affects their behaviour greatly.

    In depth observation would be required in order to gain real statistics in order to convince.

  36. Having been a student for almost 15 years, surveys are the most effective tried-and-tested method for me. This approach is so common but it works because it seeks what others think and feel in a straightforward manner. When properly administered, surveys can be invaluable information. Come to think of it, surveys are probably the easiest and the most basic form of research method.

    An example of how I would conduct a cross-sectional survey is to find out the effects of slimming ads on young adult women. A random sample of women from that age group would be given a questionaire to fill up. The questionaire should be precise in instructions and include a fair number of questions. One of the advantages of a survey is the ease of getting the results. Findings could then be converted into statistics and interpreted clearly.

  37. All the four methods are essential for collecting different types of data. There is no right or wrong method. There is only a more appropriate or less appropriate method.

    I would choose to do an experiment, as I am able to control the conditions, which means I can eliminate all possible third variables that may be the reason for a relationship. Furthermore, in the case of a survey, people may choose to answer what is politically correct and not their real opinion. I have experienced that the both times when I conducted a survey. Therefore, the purpose of my study was unfulfilled. An epidemiological approach would be time-consuming.

    I would choose to find out whether students would perform better in school if starts later. The independent variable would be 10 am,while the dependent variable is the performance of the students. There would be a control group in which school starts at the normal time,8 am. The experiment would be conducted for a few months so that both the experimental and control groups can be compared effectively.

  38. There is never one method that is the best, because all 4 methods have their pros and cons. However, of all the 4 methods, I prefer content analysis the most.

    The one time that I used content analysis was for my research paper when I was in polytechnic. What my group and I did was to find out the number of times that there were violent scenes in animated films. We spent about 1 day going through about 4 animated films. Although carrying out content analysis is very tiring, it was really interesting because through content analysis, you get to see what the audience is seeing and you also get to see the much deeper picture within the show.

  39. At first glance, the survey method seems to be the easiest. But truth be told, looks are deceiving. It is definitely not easy to create survey questions that ask clear questions which are not confusing to the person doing the survey and is conclusive enough for the surveyor.

    And then, we have to deal with individuals who have short attention span. Questions have to be short and simple to answer.

    I personally hate doing surveys. When I see surveys which have short answer or open-ended kind of questions, I cringe inwardly and become “heck-care” with what I write down.

    Last semester we did a survey for our business communication class. I did it on “How the media affects our perspective on Plastic Surgery.” Since my classmates would be the ones doing the survey, they become the sample. Out of the entire class, a random sample of 10 would be chosen. Results were evaluated and relationships coul be concluded.

    At first I was skeptical about the importance of the survey. But I soon found out it allowed me to understand the attitudes and characteristics of my audience so as to present my speech as persuasively as possible.

  40. I believe that amongst the 4 scientific methods, survey is the easiest and hardest method as well. Let me begin by explaining why it is simple. Surveys ask question directly and quickly. Therefore, surveyors can gather answers from a good random sample. However, survey can be the hardest method as well. Firstly, it is difficult to derive a question that is not too broad, also not narrow-so as not to skew the survey. Questions must be in a certain sequence, say if we were to start the survey asking for income level, people would not be comfortable and discontinue the survey. Secondly, people shun surveys. They might be the targeted group that surveyors want to know more about. Hence, it is hard to capture a random sample. Thirdly, dependent on the questions-open ended or MCQs- people who participate might loose interest especially if it is a long survey. These are the problems that I have encountered while doing surveys. Just a note, it is better to start off the survey by telling people that “This is a school project!”, people are more willing to help.

  41. Apart from the little science experiments that I did in the science lab during my primary/secondary/JC days, the closest thing I did to scientific method would be the survey method.
    Although it may not be the most accurate way to substantiate your theories, I think it is one of the best ways to expose you to different ideas and perspective – you’ll never know what kind of answers you’ll get (if it is an open-ended survey).
    The other advantage of survey methods is that surveys are rather straightforward and allows one to collect data in a shorter time.

  42. The video clip in class had an X-Files vibe to it with a flurry of television snapshots shown to us at lightning rate. The electronic beats by Adam Freeland that accompanied the clip complimented the speed of the images shown with the title track , “We Want Your Soul” flashing multiple times to create a morbid feel to the viewer. It felt like we all ought to be strapped to a recliner with our eyes pried open with metallic apparatus. But then again, the material were basically snippets from an hour of prime time television. Amazing what the tube offers our eyes. I guess the onus is on us what to filter out and what we absorb in.
    All the scientific methods in the book has its own effectiveness depending on the research topic that is concerned or how it will be presented. I’d like to say survey is not being abused here. More like survey is popular amongst our group because just a semester ago, we made our very own surveys and the entire cohort was made to do one anothers. Compiling the results into statistics or percentages allowed us to tailor our speeches according to our audience which is our classmates. Almost every speech I heard included a survey statistic and this made an impact because the results were close to home.
    Im not saying Im a huge advocate of surveys. Just that the context must be a perfect fit. Like how other scientific methods can cater for different kinds of research.

  43. Many people prefer conducting surveys to gather information as it is probably the easiest method to carry out. I guess it is true to a certain extent. But many factors should be taken into account, so as to prevent skewed or biased surveys (eg. convinient sampling, types of questions, target group/s). Also, just like faithyy (“I personally hate doing surveys. When I see surveys which have short answer or open-ended kind of questions, I cringe inwardly and become “heck-care” with what I write down.”), not many people enjoy filling out surveys, and they would fill them out with a “get over and done with it” attitude, and thus, the information given might not be true.

    I personally feel that the experimentation method has more “oomph” when it comes to gathering information or testing hypotheses. Although it is tedious to carry out, and MANY factors/variables need to be controlled, it produces more credible results.Unlike surveys, i do not have to travel to look for ‘victims’, and would just need a controlled environment (indoors probably) for my experiment. With this, i can avoid interferences from other factors around that might jeorpadize my experiment. I hope to administer an experiment in the future, so as to get a sense of the process!

    Regarding the video “We want your soul”, it sure feels like TV is the Devil. Dang!

  44. Ruzaidah Binte Md. Rasid

    I figured the epidemiological studies would be interesting to find the correlation between aggression and the portrayals of violence in the media.

    In the text, Sparks mentioned that epidemiological approach is useful in the sense that it does not seek to manipulate variables but to find the connections between them by simply observing.

    I also realised that these different methods could be combined to form a whole, complete picture of the results we seek.

  45. I would choose the surveying method. Among the four, surveying is what I am most familiar with. There were a handful of projects from my previous schools and modules that required me to gather infomation through surveys. In one of my previous modules, for example, I had to give a speech to persuade my classmates to boycott fashion products made of animal fur. In order to deliver an effective speech that caters to my audience, I needed to know where they stand in this issue of fashion cruelty. Thus, I chose to survey my classmates on how they feel and how much they know about the cruel use of animal fur in fashion products. Using questions like “What is your stand regarding animal cruelty?” and “Do you think animal cruelty is rampant in the fashion industry?”, I managed to get a good sense of how my classmates generally feel towards fashion cruelty. This helped me a lot in tailoring my speech to effectively speak to my audience.

  46. Like most others I too had to conduct a class survey for a speech I gave last semester. The questions that I put forth and the feedback I got helped me immensely in my preparation for the speech. I did however follow the guidlines which were to make sure the questions were clear, not too lengthy and gave me the information I needed for my task.
    The survey method would be an easier scientific method to conduct that any other. However, I believe the experimental method would be more precise and would supply more answers and explain theories in a more scientific manner. It would have to be done in a controlled environment with the controlling of different variables.
    Although all four methods have their advantages, it really depends on the context of the subject or matter being experimented to use the best sceintific method to get the best results.

  47. Siti Hamimah Aminuddin

    Personally, I would choose a combination of two scientific methods. Perhaps content analysis and survey or content analysis or experiment, depending on the nature of research. In my opinion, a research is not thorough enough if I had to depend on only one type of scientific method. But if I had to pick only one, I would pick the most convenient choice -survey.

    Nothing is easier or more time effective than a survey. I did a few surveys during my polytechnic days and it was considered a breeze because we get to process our survey results using a program called SPSS. It does statistical analysis and you could draw automatic inferences from the survey results you need only to compute.

    Surveys can be used to test the sellability of a new product or service before it enters the market place. For example, I know two guys who did extensive surveys, targeting a certain demographic of youth for their company research before they set up their online apparel store two years ago.

  48. If I wanted to find out how the COM 242 students felt after watching the “I Want Your Soul” clip; the method I would use, is to survey them via a questionnaire.

    This survey could be conducted rather easily and swiftly, as the sample is already found in the COM 242 classes. And therefore, I would not need to search out the entire SIM for those who have seen the video clip.

    Moreover, with the small sample size, it would not take too long to tabulate and interpret the findings.

  49. If I were interested in finding out how well received a course in sign language would be in SIM, I would choose to use a simple survey to accomplish my task.

    I will make sure that my survey questions do not point directly to “sign language” so as not to prime my sample population. Instead, I will pose them questions like “Do you think we have a part to play in integrating the deaf population into our society?” or “Rate from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important, the importance of knowing a third language.”

    The surveys will be handed out to the three schools in SIM, namely, UB, RMIT and UOL. My sample population shall be each class from the three universities.

    From the feedback, I should be able to tabulate my findings and come up with a rough gauge of the overall interest in sign language from the students of SIM.

    This survey can be carried out easily as I have easy access to my desired sample population and also doesn’t require much time as the answers to my survey are quantitative and not qualitative (which would require more interpretation of the results).

  50. Having read the chapter in the book and seen the video, if I was to pick one of the four scientific methods to discuss, it would be the survey method. Surveys are not only easy to comparatively easier to administer and conduct, depending on the sample size, but they are also a convenient to tabulate and interpret results, etc.

    As mentioned by most of my classmates, we conducted a survey last semester, as part of research for our topic. I conducted my survey on abolishment of death penalty worldwide and surely, the survey was very helpful in determining what my classmates had to think about the topic and whether death penalty should be abolished or not. I used Yes/No dual questions, Multiple Choice Questions, Likert Scaled Questions and Open Ended Questions. This gave me direction for my speech and the results helped me to get an idea of the general consensus.

    Even though some may say that it is biased or skewed, almost all methods are imperfect and have some drawbacks. This method is easily adaptable to all areas of research. It can also be used for the video ‘We Want Your Soul,’ where we can ask questions like ‘How many people agreed with the video?’ or ‘What impact did it have on you?’ etc.

  51. Out of the four scientific methods, I will choose to pick the content analysis method first since content analysis is inexpensive, unobtrusive and yields data that can be quantified.

    For example, I may want to conduct a research on racism in films. Using the content analysis research technique, I can categorize according to the skin color of the actors, the genres of the films, whether it is a direct display or just a subtle hint of racism, etc.

    I won’t stop at just using content analysis, of course. I will link content analysis with other methods like survey or experiment. However, I will start with content analysis to obtain the basic information and figures of my research topic. After getting the results from using content analysis, I can then decide whether there is a need to continue with another scientific method and which method to use.

  52. A survey is a good scientific method for testing variables. It does not only allow for descriptive data, it also allows you to explore relationships between different variables. For example, if I were to conduct a survey to access how the students felt about a lecturer’s teaching methods, I would then hand out surveys to a particular class that the lecturer is teaching. This particular class would then be the sample. The students in the class would then rate the lecturer’s teaching methods from 1-5, with one being unsatisfactory and 5 being excellent. By tabulating the results of all the students, I would have an estimation of what the population feels about the lecturer’s teaching methods.

  53. Of all the scientific methods that we know of, survey methods is probably one that is commonly used and is the most familiar to the masses. Why is this so? I guess people have either made their own survey before or are made to do a survey at least once or even more in their life. As a student, let us just recall how many surveys we have conducted for our project work or research papers? Quite a few I supposed. Survey is indeed very helpful as the result of the survey makes the quality of our project work or research paper more solid and credible thus enabling us to score more points. Not only that, by doing a survey, we can actually have a clearer picture and understanding of what is really happening in our surroundings or the world outside.

    Survey is also the most familiar scientific method amongst people as it can be presented to us almost at anywhere or at anytime! Survey forms can be found in the restaurant to find out from customers the quality and service of the food, the recreation centres like gym to find out whether the equipments are up to date and in proper working conditions and of course in the streets to find out people’s views about certain situations. Thus, survey method being one scientific method that is easy, accessible and not time consuming to do will indeed become much more popular in the future.

  54. Dalina Daud

    I guess the different scientific methods have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on what is being measured. However, i think that the experiment and epidemiological approach will get us to the result or conclusion easily. Although these methods are time consuming, they provide solid evidence and show clear relationships between the variables. Also we are able to quantify the results in order to make sense of the whole research. It is not to say that surveys or content analysis are unable to achieve quantitative results, but in my opinion, experimentation will be able to give us more accuracy.

  55. I would most probably use the survey method. Because, it is easier to conduct a survey than the rest of the scientific methods mentioned in the book. Not only is survey a easier way to collect data, it represents a certain group of people that we are interested in. This way, I would be able to see if there is any corelation between the group of people I’m surveying and the issue that I’m trying to address.
    If I were to conduct a survey on the facilities of SIM; I would pick students and staff on a random basis, and use a rating of 1 to 5 in the questions to gauge how satisfied these people are with the facilities of SIM. At the end of the day, I would tally each of the choices to come out with a conclusion.

  56. Surveys are one of the fastest and most convenient research methods. I think surveys are important in the initial stages of almost any study. It gives the researcher a rough overview of his subject matter and as such, paves his direction in the research. Furthermore, surveys can consist of a variety of questions including dichotomous(yes/no) questions, scaled questions(a scale of 1-5) and open-ended response questions. I conducted a survey once in class where my classmates were the population. From there, I randomly picked a sample and tabulated the results to determine my classmates’ position on the death penalty as I was to give them a speech on abolishing the death penalty. Knowing what proportion of the class were leaning towards my proposition or against it really helped me suitably craft my speech. It gave me a focus by pointing out my target audience. That speech was my first and I’m glad it was a success.

  57. The scientific method which I have had the most exposure to is the sample survey. Throughout my polytechnic days a majority of the projects required a survey; whose data you could use in making your conclusions and recommendations.

    I would like to discuss the latest example of using this method, which was for the Student Project of WiredAsia (a travel conference), back in late October of 2006. The project demanded that the student team investigate the attitude of youths towards the travel industry in general, and what young people are expecting to see emerge in the coming years. Given what we had to look into, the group decided to conduct a cross-sectional survey. Our primary reason for this choice was a survey’s ability to collect data from many individuals in a relatively short amount of time.

    Having already been provided the description of the people our population was made up of (male/female, age 18-24), the process began with brainstorming critical questions in each specific field (hotel, airline, travel agency, etc) we felt the attendees of the conference were seeking answers for. When the questions were finalized, the survey was released online through a website. We had set the sample size to 50 due to the tight schedule we were under.

    Once the data was collected, we began interpreting it. The information extracted ranged from a simple statement of general satisfaction or dissatisfaction (measured on a quantitative scale) with hotel service standards, to pointed suggestions on how travel agents can diversify their services (an open-ended qualitative question).

  58. During poly days, our group did a research on a business idea that we came up with. The business idea involved finding out if tourists coming into Singapore would be interested in the particular service that we wanted to provide them. This was a pretty straight forward question that needed to be answered, so obviously, we picked the most practical and time saving method of conducting surveys.
    The survey involved us spending hours at the Airport, getting tourists to fill out our surveys while they were waiting for their flights and having their coffees. We did however, make every attempt to pick out tourists who did not seem to be in a rush or busy doing something, just in case they would answer our surveys in a haphazard manner. The questions in the survey were well thought of and consideration was given into not making the respondents feel tired answering them. We also took extra care to make sure that our questions were not vague or ambiguous. To counter that, we let other classmates and lecturers give their comments on our survey questions itself, before we used the survey forms for our research. Once the survey was done, the results were collated and we inferred from them, whether or not, our business idea was feasible one to proceed with.

  59. The textbook talks about 4 different kinds of research methods, namely: Content analysis, Survey,Experimental and Epidemiological. Given an opportunity, I would definately like to conduct my own experiment. Experiments allow one to have first hand observation of how an independent variable affects or changes the dependent variable under certain controlled environments. The results then help one establish the causal realtionship between the two variables.

    If I have to test how music affects our moods, I must bear in mind the 4 key elements of experimental methods. First, identify an independent variable (type of music)and a dependent variable (mood)and observe the causal relationship between them. Next is to randomly assign people to the experimental conditions to reduce the likelihood of biasesness. For this experiment, I will assign 30 people to listen three genres of music: classical, rock and jazz. This is followed by administering identical treatments on the variables under equal controlled conditions, except for the manipulation of the variable. (for example, each person listens to 45mins of the music genre) Consequently, any difference in the results is attributed to the manipulation only. It is very important to include a control group that serves to eliminate any other explanations of the experimental results, which helps to intepret the results of the variables more clearly. Lastly, I would emply other experimental designs to improve the validity of the experiement that I am conducting. These include a pre-test and a post-test evaluation and analysis on the results obtained. In this case, I will conduct a pre-test survey to assess the moods of the people before the experiment and than a post- test survey to see the changes in the mood.

  60. Amongst the four scientific methods mentioned, survey is the most commonly used. Not only can it be self-administered, it is also useful in describing the characteristics of a large population, especially in remote areas. Survey also allows us to examine how different variables affect a particular group of people of situation.

    For example: I would like to conduct a survey on the effects of playing violent games on teenagers. A group of teenagers from the age of 13 to 19, who play violent video games will be handed the survey forms to fill up. These group of teenagers would then be the sample. They would rate how playing violent games affect them by selecting 1 for disagree, 2– Neutral and 3–Agree. The results will be tabulated and then a conclusion can then be made on whether the playing of violent video games has any effect at all on teenagers.

  61. of the many video clips that i download, i always watch those that are very funny ‘-‘

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