Author Archives: Alan Hardcastle

About Alan Hardcastle

Media Lecturer with an interest in Pedagogy and Politics.

Media Violence

One of the biggest debates around media consumption and its effects is the claim that violent media creates a violent society. Research has been conducted showing both sides of the argument, but the results are still inconclusive.

One way you can find your way through this unit is by looking at this argument.It may be easier for you to follow one big project rather than a number of small tasks. Often the bigger picture will give you a clearer idea of how to do the smaller things.

Here is a workbook that can guide you.

Research Media Violence

Make it for the audience

One of the things I have asked for is interesting submissions, This means that you need to create your post for the audience.

Does you audience research show that 16-19 media students like reading? Bet it doesn’t. Does it show they like youtube? Hmm.

So, hows this for an example of how to explain something relatively formal (a way around restrictive copyright laws by using a legal declaration giving permission to distribute) in an informal way (rap?).

Keeping the audience happy

So, when you make a production you use the audience research to help influence what you put into the production to appeal to the audience.

Zack Braff has a new film he is promoting – in the video he explains why he wants to avoid big producers!

Then you can find out if you have succeeded…

Charlie Brooker explains how TV is created to appeal to a specific audience, and how they often get it horribly wrong.

Violence in Games

So, Last year the group asked the question “Does Violent Media make people violent?”
Working with Liam on the FdA they made this film.

Are Video Games Dangerous from BWCMedia on Vimeo.

This is an example of media research – we are identifying an audience, finding out who they are and what they like, (e.g. the selection of games), how they respond to them (does “Skyrim” encourage players to be violent in the real world?) and comparing their responses to the theories that exist already.

Stuart Hall started the whole thing off with his “Nationwide” study, and Julian McDougall followed this up with studies on The Wire and using GTA IV to study audiences and media literacy.

The Assignments

So, first we start of with a brief than covers the pass criteria for both Critical Responses and research…

Assignment front sheet NED2 Task 1 Glossary

I will be marking using mindmaps, which look like this for Research…

3.1 Nature and purposes of Research 3.2 apply research methods and techniques 3.3 Present results

And this for Critical Responses….

6.1 Critical responses 6.2 crit responses 6.3 crit responses 6.4 Critical responses

Then, you can do the audience research bit – make a questionnaire to find out about your audience (likes, dislikes etc) and turn it into an audience profile…

NED2 Task 1 Brief Assignment front sheet – task 1

Then you look at how products are made for an audience; maybe a focus group, or look at how genres change over time…

Assignment front sheet – task 2 NED2 Task 2 Brief

Then look at debates and media theories:

NED2 Task 3 Brief assignment front sheet – task 3

and finally, an analysis and personal response to a product.

NED2 Task 4 Brief assignment front sheet – task 4

And that is the official path thorough these units.


The Psychographic Questions….

As a group, we decided that these were the the questions we needed ot establish who the audience is, what they like and what they do. Again, like the demographic questions, you need to figure out how you are asking these questions – this will be your methodology (collection of techniques being used). Use a variety of techniques – so, some questions should be asked as questionnaires, some as Vox Pop, and some through other social networking methods.

What are your hobbies?

What is favourite genre of…
What are you favourite…
How often do you watch / consume in a week….

  • Games
  • TV
  • FIlm
  • Music

How often do you use / Access…
How do you access…
How long do you access…. in a week?

  • TV
  • Film
  • Games
  • music
  • Internet

How do you do your coursework?
i.e. In college, at home, online, on paper, exams, course work…?

Do you download legally or illegally?

Who are you favourite…

  • Role Models?
  • Actors / performers?
  • Idols?

What do you use Youtube for?

  • Trailers
  • Cute Videos (Cats / Kittens / Dogs / Puppies / Chipmonks etc)
  • Anime
  • Music
  • Music Videos
  • Clips
  • Research
  • Tutorials
  • Video Games
  • Comedy clips
  • User Generated Content

How many media devices do you use at the same time?

The Demographic Questions….

So, the things you need to establish about your audience are…

  • Gender
  • Ethnic Origin
  • Home (Location they live)
  • Job / Income
  • Age
  • Hair colour
  • piercings
  • tattoos
  • Trasnport

Phrase these as question – and remember, some may cross overĀ  -so we can establish that someone has a tattoo, which leads us to believe they like them, which would be psychographic information….

The opposite of Research

The opposite or research is assumption. If we are looking at creating an audience profile, we are removing the assumptions we have and creating one profile to summarise a mass of people. This involved classifying in terms of Socio economic status, gender, age, location, likes and dislike, behaviour, consumption….

We looked at our assumptions of people form Bridgwater, Media Students and 16-19 year olds…

The assumptions of how we define 16-19 year olds

The assumptions of how we define 16-19 year olds

The assumption of what people from Bridgwater are like

The assumption of what people from Bridgwater are like

The assumptions of what a Media Student is like!

The assumptions of what a Media Student is like!

So, our target audience would appear to be a single mother on benefits who rarely washes, is drunk and on drugs, spends all day in bed watching youtube while pretending to work and definitely not reading any books.

While this is close, it is not very helpful. So, what questions do we need to ask and how do we need to ask them?


All Change

I have changed the theme. After using the original one a few times, it was obvious that it was a slow clunky beast of a theme – possibly due to a large amount of graphic in the background. So, I’ve found a lighter one (in several senses of the word).

From an audience perspective, how a web site operates will affect how it is perceived – you can write the most inciteful, inventive, creative content in the world of content, but if the web site takes 2 minutes to load, won’t scroll and looks like a migraine the audience will not do the 4 most important things that an audience needs to do – 1. engage with the site and take note of the amazing content 2. Stay and explore the site to see all the other amazing content and 3. Revisit the site to see if there is any update content! With these 3 in place, you may get the biggie – 4. Share your site so others come and visit it!

As you do you own work for your submission, be considering how the audience will actually perceive what you have created.