Overview: The purpose of this project is to investigate the content
and structure of the media and its impact on society. Students will work in teams to
identify a research question and conduct the research to find an answer to their question.
They will then develop and present a PowerPoint presentation to the class to highlight
their project and findings.
Step #1: Form a research group of 2 - 3 students.
Step #2: Develop a research question. This should clearly
state the specific question you wish to answer.
To get you thinking
- How do childrens TV programs portray violence, racial or
- How prevalent is "X" on certain types of
Sex, violence, homosexuality, smoking, drug or alcohol use?
- What types of news stories are prevalent in the evening news, on the
front page, on magazine covers?
- What percentage of (TV or newspaper) news is
accidents, promotional, human interest?
- How do commercials differ between different types of programming?
- To what extent do different (magazines, TV shows) reflect the target
market of advertisers?
- What categories or subject matter are prevalent among
selling books, hit movies or music, popular video games?
Step #3: Develop a research plan to gather the information.
This project will focus on your ability to observe, categorize, record what youve
observed and analyze it for content and structure. Be sure to answer each of the
- How will you categorize your observations?
- How will you organize your team to gather and evaluate the
- How will you record your findings?
Youll need to find a method to quantify your
Examples might include:
- Timing the length
of news stories.
- Measuring the column inches or number of pages in newspaper or
- Recording the frequency of certain categories you develop.
Step #4: Develop an evaluation plan
to assess the information
to answer the research question. Be sure to stay focused on answering the research
Step#5: Gather and analyze the information.
Step #6: Develop a presentation plan
that describes how you
will share the answer to each of the following with the class:
- The research question and why your interested in answering it.
- The rationale for your method of observation and record keeping.
- How you gathered your data.
- How you evaluated your data.
- Graphic representation of the data.
- The answer to the research question.
- What you learned from the project.