The ethnographic solution

In this weeks tutorials we were asked how ethnographic research can be used to analyse contemporary media in the home, in order to answer this we must first define what ethnographic research is and why it is different from other forms of research.

Ethnographic research aim to observe and calculate patterns in different cultures though a systematic approach, observing the subjects in a natural environment rather than the usual manmade lab environment. This kind of research can be used in helping to understand how people different social, behavioural and culture dictate their involvement with media.

Last weeks blog posts on the memory and evolvement of television in the home we each interviewed someone is a great example of ethnographic research.

Through reading multiple other blogs it has become clear that these interviews revealed common themes. These themes included the way in which family time is spent with television especial in regards to national events such as the Olympics, the way they though television and media is being taken for granted, and the pattern in cultural similarities to name a few.

As we progress through the years the way in which we interact with media changes, and although studies such as the Australian multi-screen report may tell us that 22.158 million Australians watch television each month we are not completely sure if they are actively watching television. For example when I am home alone I usually would have the TV in the family room on for background sound if nothing else. Taking this into consideration while statistics are useful they do not explain the full length of our interactions and behaviour when using media.

In conclusion ethnography research can be used in order to grasp a better understanding of how contemporary media is being used and viewed in the home. It allows you to find out how it is being viewed but also why as well as be able to understand the effect a persons social, economical, financial and cultural background may have on the way they view media. Understanding their behaviour and motivations hind their actions would not only benefit researchers but also businesses and organisations involved in media, advertising and marketing.

Nielsen, 2015, Australian Multi-Screen Report Quarter 1 2015, viewed 12 August 2015, http://www.oztam.com.au/documents/Other/MultiScreenReport_Q1-2015-Final%20amended%20P7.pdf

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