Conducting a Log: Analysing and Evaluating your Findings

Over the course of three days, I completed a log of my media usage. There are a few basic findings that I found during the logging process which were discussed in my last blog post (click here). In this blog post, I want to look at several more complex findings that I noticed.

I found that I listened to music, often not for the purpose of listening to artists I like but rather as a tool to avoid silence. I listened to music for long periods of time (2 hours, 1 hour 5 minutes, 3 hours 29 minutes, 1 hour 37 minutes) while I was doing other things within the same space of time; mostly university work (background music). To explore the activity of using music as background noise, I have read several articles that stated how ‘ambient noise increases creativity’ (Burkus, n.d.) which could be a reason why I always feel like I work better with noise, rather than without. Especially as, quite often throughout the log, there is evidence that I listen to music while taking notes and doing university work (see first image below).

I realised that many of the apps I used were orientated towards social media, such as Snapchat, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Sometimes the action of checking these became a chore. Shannon and Weaver’s communication model came to mind in this situation. Their model suggests information is absorbed in a linear process with no responding interaction from the audience (Fiske, 2011, pp. 5 – 9), which reflects my use of Instagram, where I view the feed without replying to what is being posted. However, my interactions on Facebook are different and challenge this outcome. While I may simply scroll down the posts, I often like and comment, send messages and encourage conversation, which Shannon and Weaver’s simplistic model does not allow.

I was surprised that I did not notice more advertisements as I would have expected, with only a few advertisements, on the side of buses and on billboards, recorded. Those advertisements I did see (21 in total) had no influence on my buying habit. In the case of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’, I saw the advertisement four times, but I was not persuaded to watch the film.

However, with ‘Deadpool’ (three advertisements), although I was already planning to see it with friends, the advertising did excite me all the more. This is backed by research conducted by Paul Lazarfield (Sullivan, 2013, pp. 42 – 44) reflecting his Two-Step-Flow model (Postelnicu, 2014), where the media alone does not persuade but the media combined with social influence does. For me, the media, in the form of posters, drew my attention to the film. Conversations with friends and the groups decision to go and see ‘Deadpool’ (the social influence) is what excited me to watch it. The posters seen during this time reinforced my decision to see the film.

When reviewing my log, I can see patterns in my media usage; however, I cannot use this research to make inferences about other people’s use of media. However, certain findings have triggered ideas for further audience research, which I will conduct later in this module, such as: Do people use certain media to limit boredom? Are people persuaded by advertising to buy the products being represented? Do people actively listen to music, or is it sometimes used for background noise? These are possible later research questions for another assignment.

I was shocked at the amount of data I actually collected; I am happy that I completed the log successfully. Whilst recording the data, I learned new ways in which to record quickly and practically. As an example I started using paper and pen to note down my usage, I soon realised that this was highly impractical, and later I used my iPod touch to do this instead with a great deal more success and speed. If I were to conduct a log again, the iPod touch, or something similar would be my preferred recording device, to record the information. Along with being successful in remembering to record my use of media as I was using it, I ensured my results were collected efficiently and were accurate.

In conclusion, I believe I gained a great deal of valuable experience by completing the log, as I now understand audience research techniques more. Furthermore, I have been able to show the connections to effects theories regarding media audiences and I have been able to recognise ideas suited to the research project which I will be starting in due course.

Rachel Measures

References
Burkus, D. (n.d.). Turn It Up: How the Right Amount of Ambient Noise Increases Creativity. Retrieved from 99U: http://99u.com/articles/16711/turn-it-up-how-the-right-about-of-ambient-noise-increases-creativity
Fiske, J. (2011). Introduction to Communication Studies (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Postelnicu, M. (2014, August 15). Two-step flow model of communication. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/topic/two-step-flow-model-of-communication
Sullivan, J. (2013). The People’s Choice and Personal Influence. In Media Audiences (pp. 42 – 44). London: Sage.

 

 

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