Communication Outside the Humanities in Media ‘Effects’ Research

By Leonie Margaret Rutherford.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper draws on the case study of a recent review of research literature on the influences (harms and benefits) on children and families of electronic media content and usage, undertaken on behalf of a Federal regulatory body (Australian Communications and Media Authority) by a multidisciplinary research team. Recent critiques of psychological studies of children and media have challenged the positivist social sciences to look outside of their own disciplinary warrants and to fully answer cultural studies critiques of ‘media effects’ research. Making connections outside the humanities in this case study involved making the rationales of communications and cultural studies methodologies available to those policy makers who normally may not consider such findings to be evidence-based or policy relevant. But it also involved providing a historical and institutional contextualization of positivist social and medical science findings, a contextualization not enabled by the underlying warrants and discourses of these disciplines. This paper focuses on those sections of the case study project concerned with psychological research on the effects of violent media and epidemiological and public health research on childhood obesity.

Keywords: Children, Media Effects, Multidisciplinary Research, Research Methods, Childhood Obesity, Violence and Media, Evidence-based Research, Federal Government, Australia, Media, Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Psychology, Policy Studies, Public Health, Medicine

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 9, pp.133-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 602.944KB).

Dr. Leonie Margaret Rutherford

Senior Lecturer, School of Arts, Deakin University, Armidale, VIC, Australia

Dr. Leonie Rutherford (PhD, Australian National University) is a specialist in interdisciplinary childhood studies. She has an in-depth knowledge of the field of children’s media regulation, media literacy, and social studies of youth and technology, together with relevant existing research on children’s consumption of electronic media and its effects. Her research and teaching resource publications have explored the links between public policy and advocacy, media regulation and the Australian children’s television production industry.


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