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COMM103: Introduction to Mass Media

Unit 2: Media Effects   It will be important as you work through this unit to recognize the value of theory and research in framing how a subject like the mass media is explored and explained.  Both are part of the scientific process, which sets standards for how ideas become theories, which produce hypotheses that can be tested by research methods that, ideally, produce replicable and thus generalizable results.  Neither the textbook nor the lecture spends a lot of time on the role science plays in controlling and recording the results of research, but you should keep that role in mind as you work through this unit.  You should also keep in mind that research does not produce truth, theories are not infallible, and no method is perfect.  However, there is value in understanding where the generalizations you encounter about the nature of media and culture come from, which is the focus of this unit.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 4.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 0.5 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define, categorize when possible, and recognize the appropriate use of the following terms: propaganda, bias, stereotypes, cultural messages, new media, convergence culture, cultivation, and agenda setting. - Summarize theories on how media affects culture and explain hypothesized links among the media, violence, and sexual behavior. - Critique the application of theories on media agenda setting, uses and gratifications, symbolic interactionism, the spiral of silence, media logic, and cultivation analysis. - Choose the appropriate research method to examine a given question about media effects.

2.1 Mass Media and Its Messages   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 2, Section 1: Mass Media and Its Messages” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 2, Section 1: Mass Media and Its Messages” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.1.1–2.1.4.  

 Reading these sections should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises associated with these sections may require
an additional 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
  • Lecture: Link: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication: “Episode 24—Mass Media and Social Issues, Part 1, and Episode 25—Mass Media and Social Issues, Part 2” Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication“Episode 24—Mass Media and Social Issues, Part 1, and Episode 25—Mass Media and Social Issues, Part 2” (MP4)

    Instructions: Please watch both of these episodes by focusing on how the explanations and examples the program hosts and student guests provide supplement the textbook readings.  In particular, listen for content which relates to the unit outcomes and take notes accordingly, especially when someone uses a specific example to illustrate a point.  Moreover, if you are not as familiar with American media as the textbook assumes you are, you might benefit from listening carefully to the discussions and then writing down the names of media, media personalities, or media products with which you are unfamiliar.  When you’ve finished watching, use the Internet to research any unfamiliar references so that you will be prepared if those references appear in the final exam.

    Watching these lectures should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.1 Propaganda and Persuasion   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (2.1.1.1–2.1.1.3) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 2.1 of the textbook.  As you read this material, recognize that it is presenting another set of relationships.  You should consider what type of relationship is being described in each subsection of material.  Is it comparative, predictive, restrictive, interactive, or something else?  You will complete the reading knowing there are (theorized) relationships, but will you be able to describe efficiently the nature of each relationship?

2.1.1.1 Media Effects and Behavior   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.1.2 Violence and the Media   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.1.3 Sex and the Media   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.2 Media Effects and Behavior   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.1.  Please keep in mind that there are many factors which influence behavior and the media is only one of them.  Consider determinants of your own behavior and see if you can identify how the media might work with other factors to compel you to act in a specific way.

2.1.3 Cultural Messages and the Media   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.1.  Throughout the textbook, cultural ramifications are emphasized, but there is a problem.  The world is dominated by a multitude of cultures.  The text focuses on the United States, a country of such diversity that it is difficult to state with any definitiveness just how cultural messages are produced or transmitted.  As a result, you’ll appreciate the information in this subsection more by thinking about cultures to which you do not belong and using the material to explain what you’ve encountered when interacting with individuals from those other cultures.

2.1.4 New Media and Society   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (2.1.4.1–2.1.4.4) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.  They are introduced or highlighted by major or minor subheadings in section 2.1 of the textbook.  You may or may not have access to an abundance of new media, which may enhance or limit your appreciation for this subsection in the textbook.  However, you are accessing this course through a platform which invariably does expose you to some of the new media details in this subsection.  What are they?  What do you encounter online which reflects the relationship between new media and its impact on society?

2.1.4.1 Information   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.4.2 Literacy   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.4.3 News   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.1.4.4 Convergence Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.1.

2.2 Media Effects Theories – Challenges to the Direct Effects Theory   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 2, Section 2: Media Effects Theories” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 2, Section 2: Media Effects Theories” (PDF)

 Instructions: Focus on understanding the terms used in the readings
and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the
outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only
absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories
that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the
manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also
cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.2.1–2.2.6.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes. 
Completing the exercises associated with this section may require an
additional 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

2.2.1 Agenda-Setting Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.  When reviewing media theories, it is important that you recognize that they often compete against each other for the attention and respect of scientists.  As you read section 2.2 in the textbook, ask yourself how effectively each of the theories you encounter explain the media as you perceive it.  Be prepared to criticize or defend these theories with examples from your own experiences.

2.2.2 Uses and Gratifications Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.

2.2.3 Symbolic Interactionism   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.

2.2.4 Spiral of Silence   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.

2.2.5 Media Logic   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.

2.2.6 Cultivation Analysis   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.

2.3 Methods of Researching Media Effects   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 2, Section 3: Methods of Researching Media Effects” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 2, Section 3: Methods of Researching Media Effects” (PDF)

 Instructions: Focus on understanding the terms used in the readings
and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the
outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only
absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories
that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the
manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also
cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.3.1–2.3.9.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises associated with this section may require an
additional 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

2.3.1 Content Analysis   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.  To recognize the usefulness or inappropriateness of the research methods covered in this material, consider how easily you could generalize from their results and also consider the cost of pursuing each method.  You should use these guidelines to prepare for critical thinking questions on the final exam which will ask you to assess the usefulness of research methods under various circumstances.

2.3.2 Archival Research   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.3 Surveys   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.4 Social Role Analysis   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.5 Depth Interviews   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.6 Rhetorical Analysis   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.7 Focus Groups   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.8 Experiments   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.3.9 Participant Observation   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.

2.4 Media Studies Controversies   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 2, Section 4: Media Studies Controversies” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 2, Section 4: Media Studies Controversies” (PDF)

 Instructions: Focus on understanding the terms used in the readings
and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the
outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only
absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories
that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the
manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also
cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.4.1–2.4.3.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises, assessments, critical thinking questions,
and career connection associated with these sections may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

2.4.1 Problems with Methodology and Theory   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (2.4.1.1–2.4.1.5) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 2.4 of the textbook.  If you followed the guidelines provided for the previous subunits in this section, you should be prepared to grasp the recognized shortfalls in media theories presented in this material.  Make sure you are not, however, allowing the weaknesses to override the usefulness of theory for explaining the media and other complex systems.

2.4.1.1 Active versus Passive Audience   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.

2.4.1.2 Arguments against Agenda-Setting Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.

2.4.1.3 Arguments against Uses and Gratifications Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.

2.4.1.4 Arguments against Spiral of Silence Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.

2.4.1.5 Arguments against Cultivation Analysis Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 2.4.

2.4.2 Politics and Media Studies – Media Bias   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.4.  As you review this material, work on coming up with examples of media bias which you’ve encountered recently.  However, don’t stop with recognition.  Ask yourself how bias can be reduced or avoided as well.

2.4.3 Media Decency   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.4.  It presents a term that is not widely utilized but which signals an important concern about the media, particularly in the United States but also in other countries.  Keep in mind, however, that “decency” is still determined in the eye of the beholder.  Are there circumstances described in the material which you would consider decent which the author does not?  What cultural influences do you bring to your assessment of media decency and indecency?

Unit 2 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM103 Assessment 2: Names” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM103 Assessment 2: Names” (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this assessment.  When you have finished,
you may check your answers against the Saylor Foundation’s [“COMM103
Assessment 2 – Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/COMM103-Assessment-2-Answer-Key-FINAL.pdf)
(PDF).