Writing Exercise: Communication Research

More writing exercises means more blog posts containing boring, academic style writing. Today, I was asked to answer a few questions regarding the best methods when performing some kind of communication research.

Do different types of parenting lead to different types of mentality in children?

Two-tail Hypotheses

  1. There is a direct correlation between different types of parenting and the mentalities of their children.
  2. A relationship can be found between a child’s actions and the parent’s choices of discipline.

Finding a way to research these two hypotheses would be adequately difficult because it would require more than one type of process. Just holding interviews would be a good start because it would allow the parents to be unrestrained in talking about what styles of parenting they employed while raising their children. Asking the children how they felt or started acting based on how their parents treated, disciplined, and spoke to them would give terrific insight into their minds and why they act certain ways.

Unfortunately, the intricacies of this particular question would require more than just the inner thoughts and mindsets of the children. It might be necessary to include more knowledge on specific aspects of mental health by consulting with mental health therapists and doctors. Perhaps it would benefit the interviews as proverbial accoutrements.

For these particular interviews, I would like to question two different parents with completely different styles of parenting. My best friend’s parents were very strict when he was a child whereas another friend’s father was more forgiving and relaxed. I would then interview my two friends to get specific revelations about who they are as people because of those parenting styles. I would also be able to use my own experiences to help complement some of the answers.

Are there any effects of the advertisements found on television and the Internet on the people that view them?

One-tail Hypotheses

  1. If a person sees an advertisement for a product he or she uses, he or she will be more likely to watch the advertisement.
  2. Watching a funny advertisement for an unused product will make a person more likely to use the product in the future.

Even those these two questions are purposefully linked, they can both be researched as separate entities. When conducting interviews to answer one or both of these questions, it would be necessary to find a person that frequently uses the internet, watches television, or both. The second person would need to be one that doesn’t delve into technology much; somebody with a more “hands-on” lifestyle. The type of personality, career, mental health, and a myriad of other human qualities in each person would could play a factor in each person’s answer, however, the face value of the questions are the most important.

By asking about advertisements, and then showing them different advertisements, it is possible to specifically gauge whether the advertisements were effective. Of course, finding out the previous information by digging deeper into the psyches of the interviewees would allow for a much deeper understanding of why advertisements do or do not work.

The first person I would choose for this interview would be a generalized video gamer. My reasoning behind this choice is that video gamers tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time on the internet and are usually bombarded, for lack of a better word, by constant advertisements. The second person would most likely be an older person where the amount of internet or television usage would not matter. The only reason I suggest an older person is because they have more experience with a myriad of advertisements as well still containing the same form of humanity that can be persuaded.

Research Methods

I would like to think of myself as an interpretive researcher. A good description of this is how interpretive perspectives attempt to understand the reasoning behind the actions and feelings of people as they interpret the world around them. After spending many years training as an actor, I have always found that the inner thoughts and feelings of others is an important aspect to study.

Delving into the inner minds of people is a fascinating act that will reveal more about a person than just a few questions and simple answers. When faced with a question regarding my own life, instead of searching for an answer based off of the surface value, I instead dive into the inner workings of my own mind. Interpretive research is similar to empirical research but tends to focus on what could be via theory rather than the physical evidence of something. A good example of this would be witnessing a person perform some kind of action. The actual action would be research for empirical reasons, whereas the interpretive part of the research would ask why that person made that action.

Several other research methods also exist that can be used effectively when looking into a research question. First of all, there is the previously mentioned empirical research. Empirical researchers try to find a connection between two variables by analyzing the effects of choices and actions. Empirical research attempts to rule out all possible variables until only the two main ones exist.

Second, critical research is defined as, “a way to understand and explain the way in which communication is used to exercise and maintain power in groups, organizations, and societies.” Rather than following an intrigue about people’s actions and the ulterior motives behind those actions, critical researchers search for the overlaying power that governs a certain group of people. The individual mind is important, but in this type of research, a broader scope is examined.

The final type of research, rhetorical, is described as a focus on strategies of persuasion via different uses of visual aids, languages, the media, and other forms of communication. Asking questions about advertisements and sales techniques is a great example.

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