Pros and Cons of Research Techniques

Pros and Cons of Various research techniques
There are a wide variety of information-gathering techniques that I could use in my auteur research project. I will be exploring the following:
  • Focus groups
  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Internet – looking at pre-existing data and re-analysing
  • Library- Books, Periodicals, magazines and daily newspapers

Focus Groups

A focus group is a primary research method (that is original content) and is characterised by a group(4 to 15) of people gathered to discuss a product. The participants share information, answer questions and can be observed for their reactions. In market research particularly the focus group is a useful tool for acquiring feedback for a new product. It allows whomever is conducting the focus group to gain primary qualitative information which could potentially prove invaluable to a products life span and public acceptance. and Cons


  • It provides a lot of in-depth qualitative information regarding your product.
  • I could use visual aides to help sell my product and take note of the focus groups reactions.
  • It provides multiple sources which will give me more information to use in my assignment.
  • It will be quick and easy to assemble a group considering I am in a College class and I wont have to pay them anything.
  • The participants will be able to work off one another to develop and elaborate on certain ideas which will in turn provide more insight.


  • It doesn’t provide me with a largely reliable source of information considering it is only a small group.
  • One persons opinion might influence/overshadow the contributions of the other participants especially those who are shy (they may feel intimidated).
  • I will need to hold my group together with well constructed questions and skillful influence to prevent any unwanted topics.
  • I must be able to analyse the data that I receive other wise I will have wasted time.

How I will use Focus Groups for this unit

Because I am in a media class and we are all studying the same thing I have a ready made group of participants with a range of opinions which will provide me with a lot of in-depth information. I plan to go about utilising a focus group by employing visuals aides (film clips) to provoke responses which I will observe and document. I will prepare some questions to guide the discussion regarding the director that I will be researching.


The questionnaire like the focus group is a primary source of information that is characterised by a series questions used to gather qualitative and/or quantitive data for statistical analysis. In the field of market research questionnaires are cheap and easy to produce and require little physical or verbal from the conductor, which grants him/her more time to reach a wider audience. The responses can be gathered in a standardised format which will provide more objective responses and can be easier to analyses. and Cons


  • It would be easier and cheaper to conduct than focus groups and interviews, as all it would really need is a return address.
  • It allows the respondents more time to work with the questions as they are not under the same time pressure as interviews, this allows for more detailed responses.
  • You have more control of who your sample audience is.


  • The answers are only going to be as good as the questions themselves. e.g You give a question which deals with a topic that the respondent knows little about, so they wont be able to give you a good answer.
  • People may not be willing to answer the questions or they may not answer truthfully.
  • Need to avoid convoluted questions or questions that may be misinterpreted as that will put potential respondents off your questionnaire.

How I will use Questionnaires in this unit

Having conducted questionnaires in this media class before and got all the information I needed, I would be sure to repeat the process and expect the same measure of success. The variety of closed and open questions will lead to useful data that I apply to my project. Conducting the questionnaire in a media class will have its advantages as everybody in the class will have at least some knowledge of the subject matter and they can trusted to answer truthfully.


An interview is my third form of primary research and is characterised by a one to one session where one person asks questions and another answers for the purpose of gathering qualitative and/or quantitive information. and Cons


  • Direct feedback from respondent.
  • presents an opportunity to go more in-depth with the topic.
  • it will provide rich data, details and new insights which you might not have thought of.
  • Its flexible as it can tweaked to suit a respondents comfort zone so as to get the best results from them.
  • If the respondent doesn’t understand the question you can explain it which will provide more detailed answers.


  • Interviews will cost you a pretty penny as need to organise a schedule, conduct the interview, record the data and then analyse it. It will also be a very time consuming exercise.
  • The questions need to be phrased correctly otherwise you could end with your own opinion influencing the respondent which will lead to biased results.
  • Analysis may be difficult because results can be subjective.

How I will use Interviews in this unit

Interviews can yield a lot of in-depth qualitative data and I could get lucky and interview someone who possess some valuable insights into the director that I am researching. Although it will be a time consuming exercise that will require some technical support to gather the information. I’ll need a camera so I can record the interview for analysis.


“The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users (worldwide.” It is the single largest and most widely used source of information on the planet and will prove invaluable when conducting secondary research (using information that has already conducted by someone else).


  • there is constantly up dated information from around the globe.
  • simple convenience and can be accessed relatively easily at home or college.
  • requires minimal computer skills and presents an abundance of information from different points of view.
  • Minority views are easier to get a hold of.


  • Conducting research on the internet can prove time consuming and you may not find what your looking for quickly enough.
  • You dont know how accurate your information is and can heavily biassed.
  • web-addresses change and web-sites can disappear.
  • It could cost you for downloads and things of that nature.

How I will use the Internet for this unit

I use the internet for the majority of my research as there will plenty of information regarding famous directors on web sites like IMDb and wikipedia. As long as I know where to look I wont suffer the disadvantages. I may even uncover information which could prove invaluable in preparing the questions for the questionnaire, focus group and/or interview. The internet is a fantastic of quantitive data providing easy access to statistics like Box office revenue, home video (DVD and Blu-Ray) sales, and I could use it to determin things like the majority opinion regarding the creators work.


A library is another wealthy secondary source of information, this time in printed form. With books devoted to particular subjects it will provide an organised qualitative source of information too.


  • Organised with arrangements provided by a standardised classification system
  • If your in the library you can be sure to ask for assistance from the library staff if you cant find the book your after.
  • There books will be provided by a select criteria in order to ensure quality.
  • Archives provide isolated and original sources of information in opposed to the internet where reliability is ensure.
  • You are to check the integrity of information by comparing it to other sources. example compare a newspaper article to the information provided in a library book.


  • Some times the books can be too in-depth which could overwhelm you.
  • Time constraint comes with library property as it needs to returned and looked after.
  • You may not always have access to a book if the library is closed or the book is unavailable.

How I will use the library in this unit

I have already used the college library when researching focus groups, I used a book entitled “Doing Media Research” which proved both useful and a little overwhelming because it was a very in-depth book with a lot of unnecessary information and there was a lack of variety in college library. For this unit I could try the Coventry main library which would have a much wider selection and if they didnt have it they could contact other libraries to get it for me. The Libraries books will hopefully provide a qualitative source of information regarding the director I’ve been given, I expect reviews of his films with in-depth analysis of his/her directing styles, written opinions from those who have worked with him/her and various details about there attitudes towards the creative media industry to help me flesh out my report.

In conclusion I can see a usefulness for all these different research techniques in this unit. I have looked at various different types of research and have finally decided that the five presented here would be the most useful to me at least. Research in the media industry is most certainly a nessecity because it deepens our understanding of a subject matter therefore leading us the creators to make something better and offers insight into things about people, places and cultures that we probably would never have known if we hadnt conducted research.

The more you know the better your production will turn out and this is proven time and time through out the media industry. Example in order to make documentaries based on Jesus you would have look at the Bible and historical records from that time otherwise the documentarians would have nothing to work with. Research also provides us with insight into what the modern audience thinks is popular and that can be employed to make your media product more succesful. Example “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was so popular that it lead to many companies creating merchandise centered around anthropomorphic animals such as “Biker Mice from Mars” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” which were popular through out the 90’s. To finish off I would like to say that I believe I am well equiped to carry out research regarding my Director and am looking forward to this project.


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