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April 24, 2018 / C H Thompson

Researching Violence and the Media

Methodological issues when researching media violence:

  • Livingstone and Ferguson (2014) each point out that media effects models (hypodermic syringe etc) have tried to overcome the methodological issues when studying media effects by using the laboratory method
  • Bandura’s ‘Bobo Doll’ experiment was typical of this approach
  • The trouble with this method is it has numerous ethical issues as well as problems with validity, along with other issues:
  • 1. laboratory methods are small scale, so difficult to generalise
  • 2. Problems with definition: what exactly is violence. Are cartoons violent? Is an arresting officer committing a violent act?
  • 3. The principles of hypodermic syringe model drive most research but this model doesn’t account for individual interpretations like the uses and gratifications model does.
  • 4. Laboratory experiments only last a short time, therefore any media effects are short-term, any long-term effects aren’t measured
  • 5. It’s impossible to test the effects of new media as these outlets are largely unregulated and nobody can measure the amount of violence a person is exposed to
  • 6. Similarly it’s impossible to measure the effects of the dark-web on those groups who expose themselves to it
  • 7. It’s impossible to avoid the Hawthorne Effect – this is particularly important regarding media violence as for the participants media researchers would seem to be condoning violence
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