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Media Production Research Methods


Media production research methods outlines the skills, practices and techniques that the researcher undertakes in understanding the possibilities of the research undertaken with the relevant research methodology tools at each stage of media production process whether a program for radio or television article intended for publication. This study will focus in demonstrating the design and relevance of media production research methods in relation to the production of Johanna’s documentary project.

 Media production research methods

Media studies and research focus on the academic discipline in dealing with project content in various media forms whether in radio or television production that draws from both social sciences. Research methods are either grouped under qualitative and quantitative research techniques. This documentary project will integrate both methods as key methods in understanding the critical perspective in Johanna’s documentary research in relation to the social context concerned with Nazi oppression and holocaust. The research will involve the tools like interviews, telephone conversation and the diary that details the memoir to be published.

The interview to be conducted with Johanna’s daughter and other people concerned with the Nazi holocaust will have a structured form so as to acquire specific data that will be qualitative in the research. Participants, who cannot be interviewed physically, will be interviewed through the telephone to the appropriate data necessary for evaluation. Using these tools, the team will be able to arrange the relevant information systematically that would produce a cohesive documentary featuring all the key facts. Research methods in media play a great role in filtering out the most relevant information from data gathered and analyzed to avoid redundancy (Bauer, 2000). The information has to have continuum, quality and reliability which will also require to be evaluated with statistics, facts, interpretations and opinions given concerning the issue in the production of the documentary.

 The accuracy and validity of the tools used, that is, interviews, telephone conversation and diary for the memoir will vary in different degrees. For the structured interviews with Johanna’s family and concerned individuals, will focus more on quality than quantity thus locking out a lot of data which is deemed not relevant for the production of the documentary. Unstructured interviews will accumulate a lot of data which at time might be biased in expressing a certain opinion from the interviewee compared to statistics and facts on the topic. However, interviews will be more accurate in gathering tentative information compared to the other tools because of the physical presence and first hand information from the primary source. Telephone conservations will also aid in gathering data across physical boundaries with interviewees. The data collected is also valid as it has not been distorted. Legal concerns are also important to consider in the gathering of data especially from secondary sources apart from the primary source because of copyrights or licenses required in the reproduction of some of the materials relevant for the media production documentary.

 The research techniques in media production can be applied to various products like radio presentations, talk TV shows, packaged TV documentaries series in relaying different opinions and facts based on topics and key issues.  Radio hosts interviewing an individual with concerns, example regarding such a holocaust like the Nazi event, can deduce more information which can be recorded and used as a source of data for a documentary. From such packaged TV and radio products, the sample, measure and design of the documentary production can accomplish a show with comprehensive data concerning an event or point of opinion in a show for debate or analysis. Qualitative and quantitative research tools and techniques will aid the production team to compile comprehensive and sustainable data from the primary source of the Johanna’s family and other individuals willing to give information that can be used to edit and produce the documentary video for the team’s project.

 However, the research tools have their own strengths and weaknesses which might affect the overall compilation of data and eventual production of the documentary project. The preferred structured interviews over unstructured will concentrate more on quality of the data than quantity thus more information might be left out. The use of the memoir will give a strong background on the project relatively compared to telephone conversations which might have element of biasness or redundancy in information generated. Moreover, the validity of the data gathered is essential and has proved effective in generating a concise report that can be used to produce the documentary.


Effectiveness of research methods in media production will primarily depend on the type of tools used across the field of gathering data. The validity and accuracy of those tools will affect the final quality of the production process.


Bauer, Martin W. & Gaskell, George (eds.) (2000): Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound: a practical handbook, Sage, London


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