Higher Education

Media Effects Research: A Basic Overview, 4th Edition

  • Glenn G. Sparks Purdue University
  • ISBN-10: 1111344450  |  ISBN-13: 9781111344450
  • 336 Pages
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $137.75
  • Newer Edition Available
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MEDIA EFFECTS RESEARCH, FOURTH EDITION, provides an excellent introduction for students studying mass media' effects on society. Through an engaging narrative style, the author presents fascinating research findings on media' impact and related mass media theories. Students are provided with a clear perspective of the relationship between science, methods, and practical questions about the effects of mass media.

Features and Benefits

  • Praised by reviewers, Chapter 2 ("Scientific Methods in MEDIA EFFECTS RESEARCH") clearly describes the research methods most often used in MEDIA EFFECTS RESEARCH, increasing students' understanding of these challenging concepts.
  • Research Boxes in every chapter highlight a key research finding or expand on other relevant information about methods, theory, or effects data, enabling students to get an in-depth look at important effects information.
  • A Chapter Summary provides a synthesis of each chapter's main ideas so that students can easily review key concepts.
  • End-of-chapter features such as Key Names, Key Terms and Concepts, Web Links, and InfoTrac® College Edition exercises provide reference and review materials that support concepts presented in the chapter.

Table of Contents

1. A Scientific Approach to the Study of Media Effects.
2. Scientific Methods in Media Effects Research.
3. A Brief History of Media Effects Research.
4. Time Spent with Mass Media: Reasons and Consequences.
5. Effects of Media Violence.
6. Sexual Content in the Media.
7. Media that Stir Emotions.
8. Persuasive Effects of the Media.
9. The Effects of News and Political Content.
10. The Effects of Media Stereotypes.
11. The Impact of New Media Technologies.
12. Meet Marshall McLuhan: A Less Scientific Approach to Media Impact.
Appendix: Theories and Theoretical Concepts Discussed in the Text (By Chapter).

What's New

  • Chapters have been updated with the latest innovative research and true-to-life stories on issues that are affecting society today, such as violence, obesity, and sexual content.
  • Chapter 1 contains a new discussion on "creativity" as an important criterion of good theory, as well as a new section on how science's skeptical attitude can lead to controversy.
  • New research is presented on desensitization to media violence, as well as on the relationship between playing violent video games and aggression.
  • A new discussion of content analysis in Chapter 2 contrasts a content study on popular music with research by the same authors that seek to uncover effects of the music.
  • Chapter 3 has a new section on the historical contributions of The Decatur Study.
  • A new viewing motivation (social interaction) has been added to the discussion of Uses & Gratifications, as well as a new section, "Beyond Mere Descriptions of Media Use" that integrates new research and shows that the theory is more than just mere description.
  • A new Study Box in Chapter 5 discusses media violence as a relative risk factor for aggressive behavior, drawing upon the work of Donnerstein.
  • Chapter 7 contains a new discussion of "The Law of Apparent Reality" in the context of the importance of perceptions of reality in fright reactions to media.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

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Meet the Author

Author Bio

Glenn G. Sparks

Glenn Sparks is a professor and noted researcher of Mass Communication in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University where he served for twelve years as the associate head. He previously taught in the Department of Communication at Cleveland State University. His area of expertise is the cognitive and emotional effects of the media. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Sparks has published research on a number of different media effects, including the effects of frightening media, fear of criminal victimization, media violence, paranormal depictions and the CSI effect. His future research will most likely involve new technology and interpersonal relationships-a topic he considers immensely important. He collaborated with Dr. Will Miller on this theme in their book REFRIGERATOR RIGHTS: OUR CRUCIAL NEED FOR CLOSE CONNECTION, which was nominated as a finalist for a 2003 “Books for a Better Life” Award given by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In addition, he is a coauthor with Em Griffin and Andrew Ledbetter on the popular A FIRST LOOK AT COMMUNICATION THEORY. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.