Media and Communication Research Methods-An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Article excerpt

* Berger, Arthur Asa (2000). Media and Communication Research Methods-- An introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 295 pp., paperback, $29.95.

Most books on research methods either focus more on qualitative or more on quantitative methods. In his book Berger provides a comprehensive picture of research methods by presenting chapters on critical approaches, qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach is in keeping with current thinking in the field, with the convergence of theories and the move toward combining different research methods to understand a research problem.

If you are looking for a book that reaches out to undergraduates by using simple language, this book is for you. If you are looking for a book that has depth and rigor and would be more suitable for an upper-level undergradute class or a graduate class, you will have to look elsewhere. Also, realistically speaking, it is likely that an undergraduate would be highly confused with the range of methods and approaches presented and the professor may not be able to teach all of these methods in a single semester.

The book has five parts and sixteen chapters. In part one, `Getting Started,' the author gives a brief introduction to research and library searches. The chapter `What is research?' is rather general and does not lay down the basic steps of research that are common to most methods.

Providing this information would help undergraduates who frequently need information to be very concrete. The chapter on the library search is a useful one. However, it does not explain the importance of doing a literature review or setting up a theoretical background for one's research. A stronger foundation in this chapter would have helped. For example, the book that I currently use (Mass Media Research: An Introduction by Wimmer, R.D. & Dominick, J.R) has several chapters on the research process.

Part two deals with methods of textual analysis and includes chapters on semiotic analysis, rhetorical analysis, ideological criticism and psychoanalytic criticism. This section is rarely found in the general research methods book in mass communication and would appeal to critical researchers. …