Research: A Graduate Student’s Perspective

By Tonya B. Lewis

In this week’s Theory of Mass Communication class, international journalism graduate student, Savanah Landerholm spoke about the research project she conducted in the Research Methods in Mass Communication class last year.

The Research
Apple TVAfter receiving  an Apple TV device with the purchase of a laptop and seeing a gap in the scholarly literature on the topic, Savanah decided to conduct her research on the device.  Savanah’s project focused on the emerging use of Apple TV, which allows users to stream photos, music, movies and TV  seamlessly on their television using their mobile device, laptop or tablet. For the basis of her project, Savanah combined lens of uses and gratification theory in an effort to gauge users satisfaction and various uses of Apple TV. She employed a six-person focus group who were rewarded with food for their participation.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

From her study, she was able to deduce that Apple TV owners used their devices for five specific reasons such as for entertainment, convenience, cost-effectiveness, brand loyalty and because it was cutting edge. Savanah also noted that most people used their device for two to three hours a day. She was able to present her findings at the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s  Midwinter Conference.

My Thoughts

As I sat listening to Savanah recount her research, methods and findings, I gained more clarity on how to conduct legitimate research.  It was great to hear about research from a current graduate student’s perspective. Hearing her recall how she recruited participants and how she brainstormed to develop her research idea, I believe will prove useful as I gear up for my research. Her topic opened my mind up to other research possibilities and interests, and it inspired and encouraged me  to submit my own research article to a journal once it is completed. It’s one thing to read an ambiguous textbook or journal article on theories and research and then to hear firsthand from someone who completed their  project well. It makes a lasting impression.

I found Savanah’s presentation very interesting, and I loved the discourse it stimulated in the classroom. (By the way, I am debating on buying an Apple TV device this weekend.) As someone who enjoys learning about new technology and its uses, her topic had me engaged. I hope to engender the same types of reactions to my research one day.

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