Sample Research Analytics in News and Popular Culture

News and popular culture are important elements of the modern society and the lives of its members. Popular culture refers to the set of objects, meanings, beliefs, and practices that prevail or are dominant in a society at a particular point in time and the feelings and activities that they influence in the society. The mass media is an important influence on popular culture because it reflects the ideas that permeate the daily lives of individuals in a society. Popular culture and news are thus important influences on the attitudes, behaviors, and decisions of the members of a society. This understanding indicates the value of efforts to investigate the mass media or news and popular culture in a society to know and appreciate the issues that underlie the experiences, problems, social behaviors, and lives of members of a society. Research represents an important way for practitioners in different professions and areas of work to understand their work and related phenomena to yield higher levels of creativity and efficiency in performance and processes of achieving set goals. It is a way of thinking to examine different aspects of daily professional work or life critically, develop and test new theories for professional and practice advancement, and find answers for different issues that people/professionals encounter.

This paper presents a discussion and assessment of the different types of research analytics that could apply in investigations of news and popular culture in societies. The value of this discussion relates to the knowledge of the various models of research that could yield important information about the issues that underlie the experiences, problems, social behaviors, and lives of members of a society. The following discussion identifies different research models for potential use in investigations of news and popular culture in societies, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods designs, and the descriptive, correlational, explanatory, and exploratory research models. The suitability of a research analytical model for investigations of news and popular culture in societies is dependent on the particular topic of focus, the research questions, and the purpose of the study.

Defining Research and its Value

Research is essentially a way to find practical answers to the questions that individuals, groups, businesses, or organizations encounter in their lives, work, operations, and activities. It involves the application of procedures, techniques, and methods aimed at yielding objective/unbiased, reliable, and valid outcomes to understand phenomena more deeply and effectively. Research is a systematic, careful, and patient investigation in a field of knowledge to establish principles or facts. It involves structured inquiry that uses standard scientific methodology to solve problems and create new, generally applicable knowledge (Kumar, 2011). The objective of systematic investigation in research is to find answers to a defined problem.

In recent decades, evidence-based practice has emerged as a desirable and standard method of performance in professional settings to present value in achievement of defined objectives. Evidence-based practice refers to performances or delivery of services based on evidence from research concerning the effectiveness of these performances or services. It targets achievement of value for the client in the services/performances and the way of performances or delivery of the services (Kumar, 2011). EBP encourages policy/decision-makers and professionals to seek and utilize evidence concerning the effectiveness of interventions or particular performances to determine the appropriateness of intervention s/services/performances to clients, in terms of fulfilling the needs and preferences of clients. In this context, research serves the important role of collecting information and data that is accurate, reliable, and sound to assess the effectiveness of interventions/services/performances, such that decision-makers and professionals can take appropriate actions that can enable achievement of their objectives. Kumar (2011) note that in this way, research serves to promote advancement of professions, practices, and businesses. In a similar way, research on the issues that underlie the experiences, problems, social behaviors, and lives of members of a society is important for decision-making aimed at improving the lives of members.

Types of Research Analytics for Investigations of News and Popular Culture

A research design refers to the procedural plan that the researcher adopts to answer the questions in a study in an objective, valid, and accurate way. It refers to the arrangement of conditions for the gathering and analysis of data according to the purpose of research (Kumar, 2011). The two principal types of research analysis methods are the quantitative and qualitative models. Each of these two models features different designs depending on the techniques of study to achieve particular objectives and fit particular contexts of investigations. Nonetheless, a third model that involves a blend of the quantitative and qualitative designs, called the mixed methods model, is increasingly common. The quantitative model of research is explanatory in focus and orientation, applying to quantify the problem through generation of numerical data or information that the researcher can translate into usable statistics. This means that the quantitative model is suitable to quantify opinions, attitudes, behaviors, and other variables that a researcher defines in a study with the objective of generalizing the results to a larger population. The quantitative research model utilizes measurable data to develop facts and uncover patterns about the phenomenon or subject of study in research (Kumar, 2011). In this context, this model utilizes structured techniques of data collection, such as survey questionnaires, longitudinal studies, online polls, and systematic observations. On the other hand, the qualitative design is exploratory in focus and orientation, applying to acquire a deeper understanding of the opinions, motivations, and reasons that underlie a phenomenon. It focuses on offering insights into problems or phenomena of study and assisting to develop ideas about them. It is essential as a way to uncover trends in opinions and thought among respondents concerning the phenomenon of study. This model utilizes unstructured and semi-structured data collection techniques to gather the data necessary for analysis to reach conclusions concerning the phenomenon of study (Kumar, 2011). These techniques include individualized interviews, participant observations, and group discussions.

Each of the two principal models of research has advantages and disadvantages. A critical advantage of the quantitative model is the capacity to reach and utilize higher sample sizes relative to the qualitative model. This is because the structured techniques of data collection, such as survey questionnaires and online polls, are easier to apply/less exhausting relative to individualized interviews and other unstructured and semi-structured techniques that apply in the qualitative model. The use of a large sample in research is an important advantage because it enhances the representativeness of collected data and the generalizability of findings (Rahman, 2017). Using a large sample enhances the adequacy of data to account for the diversity of factors in the target population. It enables researchers to identify outliers (pieces of data that feature strong differences from the average/mean value) effectively, and hence boost the reliability and accuracy of findings. The quantitative model is also advantageous because of the opportunity that the use of statistical analysis software provides to provide more reliable results concerning the phenomenon. Such software reduces the time necessary for analysis of data and enables the researcher to concentrate on and utilize a few relevant variables of interest to get relevant results. A key disadvantage of the quantitative model concerns its failure to consider the deeper meanings of social phenomena, instead providing only a quantity-oriented understanding. It would be unable to show the way in which the society changes and the ways in which people in the society perceive and interpret social phenomena (Rahman, 2017). In essence, the quantitative model only shows a single moment or picture of the subject phenomena, rather than a dynamic image of the phenomena, and provides little contextual details.

In contrast, the quantitative research model is advantageous for its ability to produce a huge number of details, including data on the emotions, experiences, opinions, perceptions, and perspectives of participants (Rahman, 2017). This is possible through the ability of researchers to interpret the actions and meanings of participants through unstructured data collection techniques such as individualized interviews, participant observation, and focus group interviews. The qualitative model is also advantageous for its provision of different viewpoints about the same phenomenon. It offers a holistic view of the phenomenon – cultural, social, and personal views. Nonetheless, the qualitative model is disadvantageous because of the inability to utilize huge samples of participants, thereby undermining the representativeness and generalizability of findings and conclusions (Rahman, 2017; Queiros, Faria, & Almeida, 2017). The mixed methods models features a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods, such that it exploits the advantages and strengths of both these designs.

Four types of research analytical models are suitable to investigate news and popular culture in societies. These are the descriptive, correlational, explanatory, and exploratory research analytical models.

The descriptive model of research focuses on describing a problem, phenomenon, issue, program, or situation systematically. It could offer information concerning a community, the living conditions of its members, attitudes among members concerning an issue, etc. Descriptive research does not address the “why’, ‘how”, and “when” aspects of a phenomenon, instead concentrating on the “what” aspect (the characteristics of a situation or population) (Kumar, 2011). As such, descriptive research cannot serve to explain a causal relationship between variables. It involves observations and descriptions of behavior or characteristics without influencing it in any way. Three ways in which a researcher can perform descriptive research are observational (a method of viewing and recording participants and their activities), survey (brief interview/discussion with a person/persons about a particular issue/subject), and case study (in-depth study of an individual or group). In a correlational research model, the focus is on establishing or discovering the prevalence of an association, relationship, or interdependence between two or more aspects in a situation (Kumar, 2011). The focus of the research in this model is typically on measuring the strength of a relationship between two variables. Correlation or dependence describes the relationship or association (causal or not) between two variables. Correlations are useful to investigate because they could indicate a predictive association in practice. This means that based on establishments and assessments of the relationships/associations between or among variables, researchers can then forecast events based on the data that they collect and knowledge that they obtain from its analysis.

In an explanatory model, the effort of the researcher is to clarify the reasons (the “why” aspect) and ways in which (the “how” aspect) a relationship between two aspects of an issue, phenomenon, or situation are significant. The researcher focuses on explaining the aspects of a phenomenon in a detailed manner, giving relevant definitions of concepts and the relationships that exist between/among them (Kumar, 2011). The fourth type of research analytical models is the exploratory model, in which the researcher focuses on either exploring a topic or area of knowledge that is unclear or investigating the likelihood of undertaking a specific study. Exploratory research aims to understand a problem more in-depth and gain insight into a phenomenon using research. As the name suggests, exploratory research has the intention of merely discovering the research questions without offering final and conclusive solutions to the problem of focus (Kumar, 2011). It applies typically in the study of problems that previous literature has not defined, or has defined ineffectively.

These research models and analytical methods could apply in investigations of news and popular culture in societies. The focus of this research is social in nature, focusing on understanding the issues that underlie the experiences, problems, social behaviors, and lives of members of a society as popular culture and news or the mass media affect them. The relative advantages and disadvantages of the quantitative and qualitative models, and the orientations and focuses of the descriptive, correlational, explanatory, and exploratory research analytical models, as discussed above, would apply in these investigations. In this context, the researcher on issues relating to news and popular culture in societies would have to assess the suitability of each of the models based on the particular topic of focus, the research questions, and the purpose of the study.

 

References

Kumar, R. (2011). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Queiros, A., Faria, D., & Almeida, F. (2017). Strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research methods. European Journal of Education Studies 3(9): 369-386.

Rahman, M. (2017). The advantages and disadvantages of using qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in language “testing and assessment” research: A literature review. Journal of Education and Learning 6(1): 102-112.