Uses and Gratification Theory

Topics: Media studies, Mass communication, Mass media Pages: 15 (5305 words) Published: June 9, 2012
Table of Contents
2.1The Basic Assumption of the Uses and Gratification Theory3
2.2Main Theorist behind the Uses and Gratification Theory4
3.0Historical Development of the Theory6
4.0Content of the Theory8
4.1Definition of Uses and Gratification Theory8
4.2Application of theory to Mass Communication Issues8
4.3The Internet9
5.0Strengths & Weakness of the Theory10
5.1Strengths of Uses and Gratification Theory10
5.2Weakness of Uses and Gratification Theory11
5.0Opinion and Comments13
7.1Internet Sites18
7.2Books & Magazines18

Mass Communications plays a vital role in our day to day life. As discussed in the field of mass communication, the uses and gratification theory has influenced many researchers to explore deeper in it. The uses and gratification theory started coming to existence in the early 19’s and is present in the very modern world today. The research looks at the researches of famous theorist such as Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, Michael Gurevitch, Herta Herzog and Paul Lazarsfeld who have worked and developed the Uses and Gratification Theory. Their works are acknowledged even until today. The researches collectively proves an approach to understand on why audience actively seek out specific media outlets and content for gratification purposes and how these group of audience proactively search for media that meets their needs, knowledge, social interaction and diversion. The usage of many social media, the Facebook usages, blogs, internets and even the television today applies to this theory. This paper will go on relating this theory to our everyday life today as well as to discuss the certain criticism which this theory has faced.

The interest on gratification that media provides for audience goes back a long way. It started in the beginning of empirical mass communication research during the early 19’s. The pioneer of these researches, Lazarsfeld- Stanton touched about the gratification effects which results from listening to soap operas, serious music from the radio, relating children’s interest to comics and the functions of the newspaper in the society. All of these researches summarize the needs of audience to connect to the media which was to match ones intelligence or exposure against the other, to access more information to lead day to day life and to provide a framework for an individual’s day. Another main function of the media is to culturally prepare oneself for the demands and to reassure on the usefulness of one’s role in the society. All of these earlier researches had certain things in common. The first similarity was they all used a similar methodological approach whereby statements of the media functions were elicited from the respondents in an open ended way. The second is they all share a qualitative approach where there were no scientific research done to support the findings. The research ignored the distribution frequency in the population. Thirdly, the researchers did not attempt to explore the link between the gratification and the psychological and sociological needs of the audience. Fourth, the interrelations between the various media functions were not explored. This contributed to the lack of latent structure of the previous research on the uses and gratification theory. As time passed, there were a revival in the empirical investigation in the uses and gratification theory, the new and current researched emphasised on these following points I. The social and physiological needs of the audience

II. The expectations of the audience towards to the media III. The expectations of mass media or other sources towards the audience IV. The different patterns of media exposure which results in need of gratification V. Other unintended consequences

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