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Career in Media Research
Research is the key to any successful media efforts, not only in the corporate world, but also in the public and government sector.
Without research, those who administer and practice media programs and activities for their organizations would be operating in the dark, without any guidance or clear sense of direction.
Research in media studies focuses on the entire communication process and examines the communication relationships that exist among and between media institutions and their key target audience groups.
For a media practitioner, research is an essential tool for fact and opinion gathering and is a systematic effort aimed at discovering, confirming and understanding through objective appraisal of the facts or opinions pertaining to a specified problem, situation or opportunity.
Scope and Areas of Work :
- Various research methods and techniques are practised in media studies for the following needs and purposes.
- To collect the information that media practitioners and professionals need to know to do their jobs more effectively.
- To obtain benchmark data regarding the views of key target audience groups.
- To plan, develop or possibly refine media programs, activities or affairs.
- To track or monitor media programs, activities or events that are important to the organization / institution.
- To evaluate the overall effectiveness of a particular communication program or activity, by measuring outputs and outcomes against a predetermined set of objectives.
- When facing a sudden and unexpected crisis, to put the issues involved into proper perspectives through emergency monitoring.
- When circumstances allow, to provide appropriate support in publicizing or promoting a specific programs, activity or event.
Nature of Job :
Having a Degree or Diploma in Media Research, one can work as a media researcher to study the use, influence, effects and infrastructure of media such as television, radio, and internet. Careers in media research can be found in both the public and private sectors.
As a media researcher one can do research on the social, psychological and physical effects of media on different groups of people.
Many media research firms employ statisticians to analyse quantitative data collected from media research studies to understand the influence of the medium. One can also work as a statistician with media firms if he / she could have a very good understanding of various statistical techniques and tools practiced in media research.
The jobs are also available as research analysts who conduct and prepare reports on media research studies. Research analyst assists with the study design, develop insights from the data and create graphical presentations reporting the results of studies.
A college degree or a good understanding of research along with a degree in media studies is usually required for this position.
One can also work as a grant writer who generally secures funding for media research studies. Nonprofit media research organizations often rely on grants to support their research initiatives.
Grant writers are responsible for writing and managing the grant application process. Grant writers should have knowledge of the grant process, excellent writing skills and a broad understanding of media research methods, techniques and tools.
Beside this one can also work as an independent researcher and scholar who contribute to the advancement of media studies.
Where to Study and the Eligibility :
Most of the University Departments offering Post – Graduation in Mass Communication and Journalism generally have media research as one of their main subjects. Some Universities, Colleges and Media Institutions also offer specialization in Media Research.
Now a days some management and media institutions are also offering MBA programs in communication / media research. Most of Journalism and Mass Communication departments of central and state universities also offer M. Phil and Ph.D. Programs in Media Studies having a very clear focus on research methodologies, methods and epistemology.
The eligibility to take admission in master level courses is a Bachelor’s in any stream having some understanding of media issues. The selection is generally based on a written test followed by a personal interview.
Where to Look for the Job :
Government media organizations, agencies and departments, academic and research institutions, media organizations, non – government organizations working in communication sector generally require people who can conduct research for them.
They need research support to strengthen the strategic planning and program development process to understand what people think about a particular media program or campaign.
Non – government organizations recruit researchers to study and evaluate the effectiveness of communication messages which are basically designed as a part of a development program.
The scope varies from studying the goals / objectives of a communication activity to check and recheck various communication components involved in a process.
Media research organizations / institutions require media researcher who can apply various research techniques to measure communication outgrowths and outcomes including quantitative surveys, qualitative depth attitude surveys of elite audience groups, pre – test / post – test studies, experimental and quasi – experimental research studies and advanced statistical applications such as correlation and regression analysis, Q – sorts and factor / cluster analysis studies.
Generally the jobs are advertised in newspapers, posted on the websites of these organizations, posted on job portals and on the notice boards of media research institutions / departments of universities.
The salary in media research sector depends on the qualification and experience, the expertise in the application of various research methods, techniques and tools in media studies.
Having a degree or diploma in Media Studies with a very good understanding of research practices can help you to earn 10,000 to 15,000 at entry level positions.
A master’s or doctoral degree in Media Research is recommended for more opportunities. One can also earn as a Research Consultant while working on large scale research projects with development agencies working in social and economic sector.
Excelling your Skills :
As a media researcher one should have a good understanding of the various research methods / techniques used in media studies with a modest amount of internal training.
The requirement is to have a good working knowledge of research agencies, specialized data collection and analysis techniques, writing reports and presentation skills.
As a post – graduate student you generally get an opportunity to learn while working on your dissertation which is an essential part of the course assignments of post – graduate media studies.
While doing an M. Phil in media studies you conduct small case studies, qualitative surveys and sometime content analysis which enable you to widen your understanding of media research studies. As a research scholar, while doing your Ph.D. you go through various course works which excels your research skills.
So, before entering the professional arena of media research practices, you have a lot of scope as a post – graduate student or as a research scholar to learn sophisticated research techniques and processes from practical life situations.