Friday, September 6, 2019

Uses and Gratification Research Essay Example for Free

Uses and Gratification Research Essay The Uses and Gratifications Theory is a famous approach to understanding mass communication. It is an audience-centered approach to media study focusing on the uses to which people put media and the gratifications they seek from that use. (Baran, S. J. , Daris, D. K. , 2006) It emphasizes the audiences rather than the actual message because it more focuses on what audiences will do with the media instead of what media does to the people. Blumler and Katz’s Uses and Gratification Theory recommend media users should take a dynamic role in interpreting and integrating media into their lives because they have alternate choices to gratify their own need. (Uses and gratifications theory) They also take a dynamic part in the communication process and this are the goal oriented in their media use. Uses and Gratification Theory (UG) is a psychological communication perspective that examines on how individual use mass media for satisfy their life but not study on how media impact the audiences. It also emphasizes that motives, actions or an attitude is related to the media use and might change by individual or groups. When an audience actively seeks out for media, they are usually seeking for delight a need. An audience based on theoretical structure to select media and content that can satisfy their needs and desires. (Papacharissi, Z. , n. d. ) The needs will deliver as a motive for adopting particular medium use and this will connected to the social and psychological which make up of the individual. For example, a family may watch a TV shows for instance The American Next Top Model for their entertainment or spend some time together with their family members while some people may choose to browse an internet or look for the magazine content in order to satisfy their information needs. Audience consumes the particular media because they like what they gained from it. However, a number of mass communications scholars have argument about uses and gratifications theory is not a strict social science theory. In reality, Uses and Gratifications perspective has always provided a cutting-edge theoretical approach in the early stages of each new mass communications medium for instance television, radio internet and newspapers as well. Although scientists now are continuously using traditional tools to answer questions about the media use, but we must also be prepared to enlarge our existing theoretical models of Uses and Gratification. Besides that, the theory explains the uses and functions of the media for individuals, groups and the society. At the core of uses and gratifications theory lies the assumption that audience often seek out the mass media in order to gratify their individual needs. (Uses and gratifications approach. ) Audience plays their role differently in seeking out for the medium in order to gain their own satisfaction and needs. Furthermore, medium will be used more when the current motives to use the medium leads to more satisfaction and happiness. Development Uses and Gratifications Theory first advanced in the 1940s by Lazarsfeld and Stanton (1944), attempts to describe the reason of people use on mass media, and also the different kinds of satisfaction they receive from mass media. Gratifications are happiness, satisfactions and rewards, as a result of you meet a specific goal or desire. â€Å"The theory relies on the belief that the audience is not merely a group of passive media consumers, but that they play an active role in selecting different media to meet their needs. (Infante, Rancer Womack, 1997; Lowery De Fleur, 1983) An audience has freedom to choose what media they prefer. For instances, read for newspaper or browser a website in order to meet their desires and goals. In 1944, Herta Herzog researches on the media gratifications and found that there are three major type of gratification towards the radio soup opera which are merely for emotional release, enjoyment for wishful thinking and getting advice from the listening to daytime serial. (Baran, S. J. , Daris, D. K. 2006) In 1961, Wilbur Schramm along with his associates did studies on children and TV which proved that this particular audience was active. It is not the TV lead to an effect on the passive viewers but children selected and watched TV programming in order to satisfy their three needs. There were the need for entertainment, the need for information and the need for social utility. (DeFleur, M. L. , 2010) During 1970s, some media researchers aware that the activeness people of using the media will determine the degree of the effect on that person. For example when a person think that the book have a particular effect on him/her, he/she will work to induce that effect rather than the book induce the learning effect on the person. (Baran, S. J. , Daris, D. K. , 2006) Furthermore, Rubin (1986) stated two underlying presumptions of the uses and gratifications model which explains how people are motivated by a desire to gratify certain needs and also how the audience uses media rather than how the media uses us. Besides, understanding audience consumption patterns will improve understanding of media effect impacts toward audiences. In two separate studies in 1979 1983, Rubin identified six major uses of television for children and adolescents are learning, passing time or habit, companionship, escape, arousal, and relaxation and for adult are passing time, information, entertainment, companionship, and escape. † Five basic assumptions of Uses and Gratification Theory As Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch give explanation in the book â€Å"Mass Communication Research†, there are five basic assumptions in Uses and Gratifications Theory. (Spring, E. R. 2002) The first assumption is â€Å"the audience is conceived as active. † This idea emphasizes the viewers are goal-oriented and tries to achieve their goals from the media source. This directly reflects the needs of the audience member in gaining the media source. Second basic assumption is â€Å"in the mass communication process much initiative in linking need gratification and media choice lies with the audience member. † This assumption ex plains people use media for their own advantage rather than the media uses them. The receiver confirms what is going to absorb and does not allow the media to influence their mind because the individual opinion is more powerful than what media is portraying. The third basic assumption is â€Å"the media competes with other sources of need satisfaction. † This assumption emphasizes on each individual has different needs and desires. By fulfilling their needs and desires, they have to create a wide range of choices in order to meet these needs. The forth basic assumption which is â€Å"many of the goals media use can be derived from data supplied by the individual audience members themselves. People are very responsive and alert about their motives, choices and able to explain their motives verbally as well. The final basic assumption which is â€Å"value judgments about cultural significance of mass communication should be suspended while audience operations are explored on their own terms. † The theorists believe the audience would able to find out the value from the media content. It is the individual audience members who make the decision to view the particular media. Therefore, they place the value on it by their individual decision to view it. Katz, E. , Blumber, J. G. , Gurevitch, M. , 1974) These basic assumptions provide a framework for understanding the exact correlation between the media and the viewers. Lastly, it provides a distinction as to how the audience is more or less active and the consequences of their involvement in the media as a whole. Literature Review on the Key Findings in the New Era The uses and gratifications theory has been widely used for the studies of Internet as well as Social networking system used. As cited by Hetzog, Katz. 1974), UG suggested that people are consciously choosing the medium that can satisfy their needs and they can recognize their reasons for making that media choices. Maddox (1998) found that the main purpose of people using internet is to gather different type of information which is supported by Lin (2001) that people who need information reception are more likely to use the online services. According to Blumler Katz, (1974), Lasswell suggested that media fulfilled the needs for surveillance, correlation, entertainment and cultural transmission both for individuals and society. The reason for internet usage also associated with entertainment oriented gratification. (Lin, 1996). According to Urista, M. A. , Dong Q. , Day, K. D. (n. d. ), the Wollfradt and Doll Internet Motivation Scale comprise three underlying motives for using the Internet: information, interpersonal communication, and entertainment (Matsuba, 2006, p. 278). A 1995 study of college students Internet usage resulted in six motivational categories: entertainment, social interaction, passing the time, escape, information, and Web site preference (Kaye, 1998, p. 4). Stafford and Gonier (2004) have identified several gratifications from Internet use that motivate users’ behaviors. These include web searching, the acquisition of information, the ability to engage in interpersonal communication, and socialization. As cited by Soh, C. H. (2010), Jaafar and Sulaiman (2005) concluded that entertainment is the primary online activity of home computer users in Malaysia. As the Social network system is more and more popular, there are scholars who investigate it based on uses and gratification theory. As cited by Urista, M. A. , Dong Q. , Day, K. D. (n. d. ), Starkman (2007) has demonstrated that motivations for using the Internet are primarily caused by desires for â€Å"relaxation, fun, encouragement, and status† (p. 211). Ray (2007) explored the multifunctional uses of SNS for simultaneously fulfilling entertainment, information, surveillance, diversion and social utility needs. According to Raacke, J. , Bonds-Raacke, J. (2008), for those who have the Facebook account, many uses and gratifications are met such as keeping in touch with friends. For those who do not have Facebook account, the result indicated failed uses and gratifications for not having a friend-networking site. According to a comparative study between Australia and the Netherlands research, SNS are a very effective means for building and maintaining relationships. Many participants acknowledged that SNS make staying in touch with friends much more convenient, which in turn, increases their motivation for maintaining relationships through communication on SNS. It also showed that there is a link between internet addiction and eroticism Sex differences did occur when comparing uses and gratifications for users. However, sex differences were not found for the most popular uses and gratifications, indicating that in general men and women meet the same needs by using the sites. As cited by Wong, F. M. , Lean, M. L. , Fernandez, P. R. (2011), Hirst (2009) mentioned that SNS usage among females is more social relationship-oriented while the use of SNS among male respondents is outcome-oriented. Pros and its Criticism The Uses and Gratification theory is concerned that how people use media for gratification of their needs. Choices of the media for the media users are increasing, this approach is to direct the media’s attention to the audience. The Uses and Gratification theory bring advantages and disadvantages to people in their daily life. Nowadays, media become more and more important in our daily life. Advantages of the Uses and gratifications theory is this theory is one of the communication model which is more positive views of the media. This is because this theory posits the users have complete control over what kind media that they want to use, how they use it and what the effects on them. The uses and gratification theory reminds the media that people are using media for many purposes. As media users become increasingly confronted with choices, this theory should direct media’s attention to the audience. (Suresh, 2003) Based on the Lull’s television research, found that families used television for communication facilitation, relationship building, intimacy and for structuring the day. (Suresh, 2003) The researchers have found out four kinds of gratifications. The first information, people want to know about what is happening in the society and the world to satisfy their curiosity. The second is personal identity, people willing to look for models for their behaviors. This can help people to decide what is the feeling about themselves and if the media view the same behaviors, that mean the media is also agree with their behaviors so they will feel successful and feel better about themselves. Next is integration and social interaction. People use the media to find out more about the circumstances of other people, by watching a show may help the people to empathize the lives of others. The last is as entertainment, people sometimes use media for relaxing, enjoyment or sometimes just to fill time. Uses and gratification is useful for studying the motives and usage pattern of computer game players. (Hou, 2011. ) This research framework assumes the majority of people choose the particular communications is to satisfy their needs and interests. Gamers that with different social backgrounds and demographic always had different expectations and uses of the same media. (Hou, 2011. ) The uses and gratification theory is well fitted for studying the interactive of playing game. It provides principle for the gamers to gain insight on the impact of game experiences, the role of players’ choices and actions and their usage pattern when playing game. The uses and gratification theory have some limitations. There are three major criticisms of the users and gratification theory. (Littlejohn, 1989, P. 276) The first argument is due to the lack of coherence and it is non-theoretical. Although a more unified vision is emerging, some uses and gratification researchers are developing a theory that connects this work with another kindred program on dependency theory. Based on the researcher, Blmber said that â€Å"The nature of the theory underlying uses and gratifications research is not totally clear. † (Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch, 1974) There is confusion between gratification and satisfaction of people, whether people is only seek what they want or enjoy it. (Littlejohn, 2002) The second criticism is focusing on social and political objections. This problem is because the uses and gratification is so focuses on media functional role and ignores its dysfunctions in the society. People view media positively which can meet their needs, but they do not pay attention to the overall negative effects of media in the society. Many people criticised that the uses and gratification theory as they believed that the public actually do not control on the media and what it produces. Media do not need to take responsibility for what they produce because public is too kind to the media. Although there are many choices available for the users, they actually do not have the control over the media about what the media produces. The information that obtained by the users is solely prepared by gatekeepers and the information may already include the influences and perception of the gatekeepers. (Littlejohn, 2002) Last there is argument said that uses and gratification theory make media consumption behavioristic and individualistic. Uses and gratification theory has criticized as â€Å"vulgar gratification† which is highly individualistic nature. It only focused in the individual psychological gratification derived from individual media uses. Individuals are believed to control their media-consuming behavior according to conscious goals. (Littlejohn, 1989, P. 276) As mentioned above, people will not pay attention towards the ways to form media content and reflect the cultural values. Zillman, Denis McQuail showed one of the weaknesses of the uses and gratification theory is that the mood of people will affect their media choice. People choose what contexts to view or depend on their mood or feelings. For example, boredom encourages for choosing the exciting context, stress encourages the choice of relaxing context. Therefore, it is argue that the uses and gratification theory is often too individualistic, so it is too difficult to predict beyond the people. Some analysts have doubted the accuracy of self-reports on the uses and gratifications obtained from the media. They argue that such an approach is too simplistic, underestimate the complexity of human motivation. Self-reports are based on personal memory which can be problematic (Nagel et al. , 2004). This is because the respondents might not recall exactly how they behaved in media use which in turn distort accuracy of the study.

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