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A Multidimensional Approach to the Study of Media Effects
Unformatted Document Text:  10 The matrices of Lazarsfeld, Chaffee, and McLeod and Reeves showed the need for work in neglected areas. In the years since the publication of these pioneering works, a few of the emptier cells in these matrices have received greater attention. Furthermore, some cells are more inherently interesting than others, so there always may be more research in these areas. Also, scientific methods are not capable of detecting some media effects and, until we have adequate measures, they will resist careful scrutiny. Another way to use matrices is to locate “model” studies that vary along the dimensions of interest. For example, Windahl and colleagues (1992) described a proposal by Kent Asp that any media effect should be studied in terms of three variables: the level of analysis, time and the source. By dichotomizing each variable, Asp produced a 2-by-2-by-2 matrix of eight different types of media effects. The level of analysis was dichotomized into either effects on an “individual” or the “system.” Time was characterized in terms of either “short-“ or “long-term” effects. The source was categorized as either media-generated “content” or the “institution” originating the message. Windahl and colleagues were interested in teaching communication planners how to use theory to conduct better campaigns. Their typology gave examples of different types of relevant media effects. It might look like this:

Authors: Lasorsa, Dominic.
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10
The matrices of Lazarsfeld, Chaffee, and McLeod and Reeves showed the need
for work in neglected areas. In the years since the publication of these pioneering works,
a few of the emptier cells in these matrices have received greater attention. Furthermore,
some cells are more inherently interesting than others, so there always may be more
research in these areas. Also, scientific methods are not capable of detecting some media
effects and, until we have adequate measures, they will resist careful scrutiny.
Another way to use matrices is to locate “model” studies that vary along the
dimensions of interest. For example, Windahl and colleagues (1992) described a
proposal by Kent Asp that any media effect should be studied in terms of three variables:
the level of analysis, time and the source. By dichotomizing each variable, Asp produced
a 2-by-2-by-2 matrix of eight different types of media effects. The level of analysis was
dichotomized into either effects on an “individual” or the “system.” Time was
characterized in terms of either “short-“ or “long-term” effects. The source was
categorized as either media-generated “content” or the “institution” originating the
message. Windahl and colleagues were interested in teaching communication planners
how to use theory to conduct better campaigns. Their typology gave examples of
different types of relevant media effects. It might look like this:


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