Transmedia Research

Faculty of Social Sciences




Transmedia Research

1. Transmedia Diary

Jacqueline Botterill, Marian Bredin, & Tim Dun
 
Past research documents the types of media Canadians use, but we know little about how media are assembled by audiences to interact with content. The goal of this research is to understand how audiences flow across diverse media in a single day. This 5-year series of studies focuses on how media users engage with and assemble different media throughout their day. We do not assume that audiences will use one medium at a time, instead, transmedia theory leads us to expect and account for media multitasking. To understand the contexts of transmedia practices, we are documenting not simply the number, type and time of media use, but also where people use media and for what reason they choose each medium. Our in-depth focus on a single day for each year’s diary is important, because it enables us to consider how media patterns map upon, mark and frame wider patterns of everyday life (breakfast, sleeping, lunch time, work, school, and leisure time).
 
a.     Data collection. In 2012, approximately 400 first, second, third, and fourth year Communication Popular Culture and Film undergraduate students volunteered to document their media use for one day. The diary has been distributed in selected CPCF courses each year since. However, the Transmedia Diary has been modified and updated. In 2013, participants completed their diaries on line.
 
b.    Findings. Analysis of the first diary was completed in 2014. Researchers found that participants’ use a range of media throughout the day. Students valued what media theorists call “convenience technologies,” which allow them to coordinate, virtually enact, stack or shift their media use and social interaction. In other words, digital media help users to fit communication into busy lives and their personal timetables. The researchers used Alan Warde’s theory of hypermodern times to explain the results of the study. Warde says that in our fractured environment, people no longer have shared schedules (with everyone working 9 to 5), so we use technology to gain more personal control over timing. Technology helps us manage relationships. The study results show that Millennials’ use of online socializing is neither trivial nor alienating. Instead, this technologically savvy generation seems to work harder to connect and create a social life than many others have in the past (when shared schedules were common). The researchers have also completed preliminary analysis of the 2013 diaries; here are presentation slides summarizing the findings of this second study.
 
c.     Grants. The team has received several seed grants from Brock University, including a Brock University Advancement Fund award, two Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRISS) grants and an Experience Works Grant. In 2015, we will use the CRISS funds for a new on-line survey. This improved data collection tool will be easier for participants to complete and for the research team to analyse. The team recently applied for an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to build upon the media diary studies.
 
d.    Training. These awards pay for many expenses, but student salaries account for the vast majority of the grant monies we have received. Each year, a number of Brock University students have contributed to our research. Undergraduate students have a prominent role, as they have promoted the study, collected diaries, helped analyse responses, and more. Such contributions not only help the research team, but the experiences and associated mentoring also teach the research assistants valuable skills.

 

2. Transmedia's Uses and Gratifications in Hegemonic and Counterhegemonic Contexts
Council for Research in the Social Sciences, March 2012
Jennifer Good

In this research project, Professor Good is exploring how those involved with hegemonic and counterhegemonic movements make use, and make sense, of transmedia’s role in their work. Uses and Gratifications theory creates the foundations of this research in which members of various Occupy movements and executives from marketing/advertising agencies are interviewed to provide a picture of how sociopolitical orientation relates to transmedia technology. The Occupy Movement provides an excellent example of the powerful counterhegemonic role that transmedia can play in uprisings and calls for social change. Advertisers and marketers are, however, steadfastly researching transmedia's hegemonic potential for entrenching "business as usual" and encouraging capitalism's primary tenet of economic growth through ever increasing consumption. This research therefore explores how individuals with very different goals are embracing emerging technologies.
 

Door photo: A.M. Segova, Creative Commons

Door photo: A.M. Segova, Creative Commons