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Volume :12 Issue : 46 1994      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Development of Scientific Approaches to the Study of Mass Media Effects: An Analytical Review (in Arabic)

Auther : Jamal J. Al-Menayes

This study is a critical survey of the dominant paradigms in mass communication research in the past four decades. More specifically, an attempt is made to examine the prominent theories which seek to explain the various ways in which mass media affect individuals and social systems.

The significance of this study is due in part to the relatively young age of mass communication research compared to other branches of social inquiry such as sociology, psychology and political science. The independent study of communication phenomena did not start until the 1940s and even then, all of the studies were conducted either by psychologists or sociologists or, sometimes, by political scientists.

Early communication theory was heavily influenced by concepts and terminology borrowed from other social sciences. Even more revealing, initial communication research was mostly the product of historical circumstances rather than pure scholarly interest. This is evidenced in the early emphasis on persuasion models which was mostly due to a need for the development of effective propaganda techniques during the first and second world wars.

To arrive at a clear picture of the development of media effects research, this paper focuses on the following:

1- The historical development of media effects research and the role of cultural and political circumstances in shaping its agenda.

2- The role of the older social science disciplines in forming its early concepts.

3- Contemporary media effects models and their bases.

4- Finally, an attempt is made to provide a synthesis of the various approaches to media effects research.

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