Seminar 2:

Seminar 2:
Ethnographic and Positivist approaches to media analysis
Seminar 2 - Positivism and ethnography as methods.
Seminar Reading:
Scannell, P. (2007) Media and Communication chapters 1, 3.
Extract on NILE from Gunter, B. Media research methods
Gunter, B. (1997) extract from Media Research Methods, Sage.
Further Reading:
Machin, D. (2002) Ethnographic Research for Media Studies. Arnold publ.
Also excellent are Silverman's 2 volumes on doing qualitative research
In this seminar we consider the following:
Is it best to explain our media using habits in terms of a quantitative analysis of how
many times we do this or that kind of thing, or is it best to take into account the wider
cultural forces and constraints on what we do, i.e. more qualitative factors? This is
roughly the methodological choice we make between empirical-positivist and
ethnographic approaches.
Equally is not ethnography USED ultimately in a positivistic way – drawing
generalisations from observations? So is the conventionally asserted divide between
positivism and ethnography a popular but misleading (and sometimes politico-moral
i.e. ought we to simply treat people as numerically countable and as statistics?) view
of the matter?
Too often critics of quantitative positivistic approaches just seem to be unable to
count and do basic maths! This kind of wingeing approach is not is un-British,
and intellectually feeble.