Maternal Readings of Popular Television
Chapter 1: Media methods research: Finding audiences and giving a voice to mothers
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Media methods research: Finding audiences and giving a voice to mothers
Film, media and television studies have, since their emergence, relied on a diverse range of research theories, methods, practices and approaches in order to examine what is deemed important, significant and of interest to both the academic community and the wider society. Textual, discourse and content analysis, focus groups, interviews and questionnaires are but a few of the qualitative and quantitative techniques used to explore the popular media environment. Each method has its own unique structures and stages of research, its own strengths and limitations, and the use of a particular approach depends on the aims and objectives of specific research projects. While some projects demand breadth and scale, others are committed to the minutia of a particular area; while some seek to offer informed debate as part of a theoretically rigorous desk-bound study, others prefer to position audience voices at the forefront of their research.
In order to understand and give voice to women about their responses to representations of motherhood on television, it is important that we understand the ways in which questionnaires, interviews, oral histories, netnographies and focus groups have been and should be employed by the researcher. It is not my intention to look in detail at the pros and cons of each available media method – indeed, there are a myriad of successful volumes dedicated to that particular topic (Priest 2010; Berger 2013)...
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