"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand." -anon



Introduction

The iMediaAudit is a research project on how you use various forms of mass media each day. Unlike the "book learning" part of this course, the iMediaAudit will give you the opportunity to collect, analyze and draw conclusions from data you collect about your use of mass media. 

Here's how it works.

I will designate one full week during the semester, during which time you will track, at 15-minute intervals throughout the day, your use of mass media. There are three graded components to the iMedia Audit.

1. Spreadsheet (10 percent). You can download the Excel spreadsheet for entering this data at the bottom of the Spreadsheet page on this Web site. This spreadsheet has pull-down menus so that each student is collecting the same information during the same timeframe. The spreadsheet will account for 10 out of the 50 possible points for the iMediaAudit assignment. The data will be graded on completeness.

2. Field notebook (15 percent). In additional to the spreadsheet, you must note details about the media you are using. These details should include where you are, why you're using a particular mass medium, and other observations that might come in useful during the analysis phase of this project. Ideally, you would include relevant background information. Your field notes be graded on detail and comprehensiveness. Although you will probably want to jot down this information in a notebook, it must be typed before you post it in the Assignments folder. Your notebooke should be no less than 2000 words. (That's about 300 words per day in the course of the data collection period.)

A good quality entry in your field notebook might look like this:

"Aug 5; 7:00 a.m. Watched Today Show (Channel 8). Don't usually watch it but was interested in a special segment on 'baggy fashion.' As I watched it I wondered how fashion fads get started. Maybe mass media has something to do with it? Usually don't watch news in the morning. But after watching fashion segment got interested in other news and watched for a whole hour! It was interesting to think what I learned that I might not otherwise have known. But tv is a real aberration in terms of news because I usually get it online. That has much more to offer--not only video but other graphics and more details because there's print. And I can watch something over and over again. No wonder tv is going down the tube!"

3. Report (25 percent). Your grade for the report will be divided evenly between the qualitative and qualitative sections. The quantitative section should have clean graphs with all information clearly labeled and a good verbal description of each graph. For example, one chart might enable you to say something like this: "I used the Internet twice as much for gathering information as I did for entertainment. Or Wednesday saw an 80 percent increase in average time of use of my ipod." 

Secondly, after you've graphed and described the data, you should be able to draw some conclusions as well as come up with some hypotheses, which will form the bulk of the qualitative section of the report. For example, you might hypothesize that your ipod use increased on Wednesday because you worked late at your job on Tuesday night and wanted to veg-out the day after. Even this simple hypothesis may begin to offer some insights into the role that music plays in your life--or for that matter, advertising, particular television programs or Web sites, such as YouTube. The qualitative section will be graded based primarily upon the quality of the observations and hypotheses you present. References to your reading material, especially the chapter on media effects, will also be considered. All charts and graphs must be integrated into the report. Do not send them separately.

While your report can be a traditional paper, it can also be a PowerPoint, a narrated slide show, a video or any other multimedia form that captures the essence of your research. Some sample projects from former MMC 3602 students on the iMediaAudit Web site will give you some idea of the possibilities.

Remember: the iMediaAudit will account for 50 percent of your final grade.

There will be questions about the iMediaAudit on your final exam. The best way to prepare for this is to study the questions under the Discussion tab of this Web site.