10 Things Wrong with the Effects Model

This influential article by
a noted British cultural scholar succinctly critiques the research school of "media
effects" that tends to dominate social science research in the US and fuels
enormous media coverage about media's negative influence on children especially
— e.g. watching violence on TV increases aggression and violence in real
life. Gauntlett outlines ten fundamental flaws in 'effects models' studies, arguing
that these models specifically support conservative ideologies, treat children
as inadequate, assume superiority of the educated and elite and make no attempt
to understand the many potential readings and meanings of the media. He ultimately
presents a case for research methods that focus on influences and perceptions,
rather than effects and behavior; praising the humanity of studies that listen
to media audiences and do not condescend to those who express enjoyment of mass
media culture.

Because there is so little
challenge to the "media effects" argument in the popular American
media, this article provides an important alternative view that should stimulate
media educators to apply their own critical thinking to the conventional wisdom
about media's "impact" — as well as to teach critical thinking
about statistics!

Read the complete article