Think On This

“One’s beliefs and expectations powerfully influence how one construes experience; they are embedded in one’s values and identity and tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.” — Maureen Coady.


The Usefulness of Market Research

Websites of market research firms can be a useful resource for students in both Com 360 (Research) and Com 441 (Media Law). These firms measure consumer behavior and chart sales, which can be used to observe performance of various media devices and content creators. Here are some news links of market from the NDP Group in the US.

Consumer Behavior

The NPD Group: Despite Intrusion Of Technology In Kids Entertainment, Parents Demanding Balance In Children’s Play Experiences


Illegal Music File-Sharing ‘Declined Significantly’ in 2012 (

The NPD Group: Music File Sharing Declined Significantly in 2012

Continue reading “The Usefulness of Market Research”

Connected While Alone But Disconnected When Together?

How common is texting and instant messaging (IM’ing)? How many texts or IMs do students send and receive per day? What times of day? How much time do students spend texting or messaging each day? During class or meetings at work? Do they text in English, Arabic, a combination of the two, or other languages? Do texting and IM’ing enhance quality of life, help maintain friendships and close families? Or are users so distracted when texting that that they are learning less while in class, listening less to their friends and family, and not really spending “quality time” when they are in the same physical space? What are the pros and cons of IM’ing?

These are some of the questions students in Com 360 (Research) are exploring,  after fleshing out the ingredients of qualitative interviewing, and after reviewing the chapter on Questionnaires in Applied Research Methods for Mass Communicators (Reagan).

Is there a correlation between constant texting and attention deficit disorder? Research suggests there is.

Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT in Boston, has been researching the impact of new technologies for nearly 30 years. “The Flight from Conversation” was a thoughtful article she wrote for The New York Times. And she gave this TED Talk, “Connected While Alone,” which asks, “As we expect more from technology, do we expect less of each other?”

Drill Deeper:


Storytelling with Digital Photography

Students in Com 315 must submit a photo essay of 12 to 30 photos that tell a story, and post their photo essays to The captions create context, provide details and tell the story behind the photographs. Students learn to tightly crop photos to bring a focus to the image, and adjust the lighting.

Students seemed at first reluctant to share their photos, but I was STUNNED by what great photos they are routinely displaying on Instagram as a HOBBY unrelated to course credit. When I realized what great photographers they are, I set up a photo contest. Students must post their photo essays on by Sunday, April 27, and then the class will vote on the best photo essays. I think we’ll have some great entries.

A number of student photo-essays have been posted to ZU’s Zajel portal.

Mark Thiessen of National Geographic has some great tips on photo storytelling.

I ask each student to find a photographer and photo essay online worthy of admiration.

The Pulitzer Prizes for Feature Photography, for example, provide great inspiration.

Students in the UAE can start by Googling photo essay, UAE or photo storytelling, UAE.

Then there are the issues of the ethics of photo-journalism. Saigon Execution Photo.


Wikipedia: Credible Source for Researchers?

Wikipedia is increasingly the “go to” source for researchers, including journalists, consumers, health and medical professionals. However, few Wikipedia readers understand how the system works and where caution should be applied. In general, the original sources cited by Wikipedia may be credible. Wikipedia itself, however, is not an original resource and should not be cited as an authority.

The overwhelming dominance of Wikipedia as an information source is related to its size. Currently, if Wikipedia were printed, it would amount to one million pages crammed into 1,000 volumes of 1,200 pages each. The last printed version of Encyclopedia Britannica was “just” 32 volumes and 32,640 pages. Wikipedia grows exponentially each year — four million articles were posted to Wikipedia in 2012; more than 4.5 million articles have been posted in 2014, and more than five million articles are expected to be posted before the end of 2015.

Wikipedia has faced considerable criticism, which ironically enough, is outlined in a Wikipedia entry. As consumers of information, every researcher should be aware of these criticisms.

Drill Deeper:


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