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Definitions have become more complicated throughout time, McLuhan (1971), for example due to the new media technology, explained that the world is becoming a "global village".
Devereux(2008) gave an analysis as well, which illustrated the mass media's role. An example of one of the analysis is where he/she said that the mass media as means of communication between 'senders' and 'receivers'.
McCullagh gives us a definition which is "the means which content, whether fact or fiction, is produced by companies and is seen by an audience".
Content Analysis is used to study the mass media in relation to things such as magazines, newspapers, and is used when researching something in particular within the media
Lobban (1974) and Best(1993 used content analysis for gender representations, through researching childrens reading books, where there are different heroes, heroines etc.
There are some problems through with content analysis, such as the researcher may be bias, and also the meaning of the findings towards the audience isn't studied
The research of signs and codes with their cultural context
Some sociologists use it to find ideological messages. For example, some feminists use semiology to find gender role ideologies. It has been defined as a science, but it is considered more of a qualitative data research method
It relies on the researchers interpretation, it also lacks reliability, and has got minimum relation to the audience within the analysis.
The use of experiments is influenced through the experiments that are used in natural sciences.
Sociologists conduct field experiments where researchers are observing in a natural social environment. These are more likely to be found in studies of media affects.
The main problem of experimental research is that it has major ethic problems, as the research tends to be covert. There is also the problem of the Hawthorne Effect, which reduces the validity of the research