History of media representation includes recurring evidence of dehumanized images of people in all media. Edward Said calls this the construction of the “Other” and explains that common recurring patterns of dehumanized and distorted representation, often reflect patterns of empowerment and disempowerment in society. Communications scholars have researched media representation problems for decades. Research methods include content analysis, media effects of this content on audiences and political economy research of the institutions that produce and exhibit dehumanized patterns of representation.
For your Media Representation Research Project, you will choose a population group, still experiencing these patterns of dehumanized media images. Then you will choose and define your research method. You will select the media that you will examine as evidence of the recurring media representation problem. You will also identify read and report on published peer reviewed scholarship, relevant to your research choice. This is your literature review. Always include bibliography and proper citation for all quotes.
You will design, develop, and produce a research report, which includes your introduction, literature review, selected media content analyses with explanation of your results and proposed solution strategy ideas.
As the researcher, you will define the media representation group whose problem you will examine. Invisibility, stereotypes that marginalize and de-humanization are common patterns of media representation problems. Compose a research question that does not presume the answer. RQ example could be: How are African American women represented in nighttime weekly dramas? This research question defines the media representation group is African American women and the research method is content analysis of TV night time drama. Researchers use established communications theory to help explain the meaning of your research results. For example, feminist theory can explain the appeal of the powerful character of “Olivia” in SCANDAL (2016). Social identity theory can help explain why dehumanized TV character representations, are offensive to audience members who identify with that group.
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