Media Research, Mass Media and Popular Culture- Gangnam Style

A new semester means a new media communication course which means, more blogging every week. We are introduced to media research through Berger, Arthur. A; who identifies research as a ‘means for looking for information about something’. Therefore media research is described as looking for information through the media and/or about the media. Research is simply something people do every day (although quite casual and reflective of an individual’s common sense) which impacts personal decisions that people make. Scholarly research however is ‘more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness that everyday research’ (Berger, Arthur A. 2014).

Media research both involves qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research relates to texts through ‘text’s properties, degree of excellence and distinguishing characteristics that are evaluated and judged’ (Berger, Arthur A. 2014). Quantitative research involves numbers, magnitude and measurement. Qualitative researchers can often be excessive and risks personal interpretation, whereas quantitative research is simplified so much that the meaning is ‘loose’ and can neglect what can’t be physically measured in numbers. Therefore it is essential to combine both quality and quantity when conducting media research. Physical and precise data such as rankings and statistics through quantitative measures allows interpretation and theories to be identified in qualitative information to create meaning.

With five different aspects of communication, intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, organisational and mass media; the topic I’ve chosen to research and expand on is mass media. This refers to the radio, television and film and how it is delivered to audiences. Therefore mass media and how it influences popular culture in our society is my chosen topic. The media, particularly social media influences the mainstream culture that society abides and follows. Through websites such as ‘rotten tomatoes’, film reviews on the daily newspaper or simple just a Facebook status by a friend about a particular film influences our decision to either watch or not watch the movie. The link between pop culture and the media results in mass crazes with new, famous celebrities, creation of social media networks and even simple phrases that we now use every day that are all dominating public attention.

For example, 2012 mega hit, ‘Gangnam Style’ by South Korean singer, Psy that became a global phenomenon and became YouTube’s most watched video of all time. This song, dance moves and music video become a part of mainstream culture with international widespread recognition. Various dance covers, parodies and flash mobs were posted on YouTube from all over the world, celebrities tweeting its significance and popularity and even politicians mentioning of the craze. The dance craze was recognised all over the world and the song was played everywhere.

Psy teaching the dance moves of ‘Gangnam Style’ to Britney Spears on The Ellen Show


Arnold, Wayne. 2012, ‘Beyond Gangnam Style: Why Korea is a Popular Culture and Products Powerhouse’ in Advertising Age. visited 15/04/15

Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’ in Media and Communication research methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed. SAGE, Los Angeles, pp.13-32

TheEllenShow. (2012). Surprise! Britney Learns ‘Gangnam Style’ from Psy!. [Online Video]. 10 September 2012. Available from: [Accessed: 15 March 2015].


2 thoughts on “Media Research, Mass Media and Popular Culture- Gangnam Style

  1. Hi Lohang,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.
    Your first post which answered the question “what is media research?” was very clear, well written and easy to understand for those unfamiliar with the topic.
    You have provided a very well rounded over view on this issue. I like how you have addressed all information surrounding the issue including the definition, conducting processes and quantitative and qualitative research.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Thank you

  2. I’ve always been fascinated by the way content goes viral. From videos like Psy’s Gangam Style – which become popular for months! – To topics that trend for only 24 hours. I went on a holiday to the Philippines thinking I could get away from Pys’s song, but like you said, it became an international phenomenon and was playing EVERYWHERE! I agree that mass media influences popular culture in society, but I definitely think social media plays a huge role (with all the liking, sharing and user generated content.) Great post and good luck with your research! 🙂

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