What You See Is What You Perceive
By Elan Aguero, Mana Tsumoto, Skyler Gabat, Jacqueline Hernandez, and Brenda Jara

Prior to deciding who we would be interviewing, we needed to choose a research topic related to communication and society. As a group, it was decided on the topic of, “Social Media Effects On Body Image”. In society today, using social media as a way to share our lives with others is the norm. We tend to develop an addiction for social media, which can have a negative or positive effect on our well being. Due to the advancement of technology, many individuals have developed a certain mindset when regarding body image. Varying perceptions on body image and self confidence are inevitable. 

After distinguishing our topic, we decided  to reach out to Dr. Cynthia King of California State University, Fullerton. Before the interview with Dr.King, we had ideas of what theories and research methods we wanted to use in our study but not anything specific. After our interview with Dr. King, we got a better understanding of how to approach our research project. The first takeaway was that depending on how questions are phrased as well as how we present them will have an impact on what research method we should use when conducting  our study. Dr. King cleared out our misconception on certain aspects of our topic and the study we planned on conducting. Dr. King stated that all the aspects within the study have to be lined up. Which means that our research questions, hypothesis, theories, and research method all have to be in correlation. A second takeaway was deciding on what research method we want to use. Initially, we as a group wanted to do a qualitative analysis, specifically a questionnaire. Therefore, Dr. King  stated that using a survey method would not be primarily helpful in our case, due to the fact that a survey requires individuals to be physically present for the experiment. Therefore discussing the pros and cons of all the research methods possible, we decided to conduct a content analysis for our study. The final takeaway was choosing which theory would be the best fit for our research. Two theories that Dr. King presents which seemed to be best suited for our study are the “Cultivation Theory” and the “Social Comparison Theory”. One of the mentioned theories will be implemented in our study of “Social Media Effects on Body Image”.

Image Sources:

Murray, Rheana. “Where’s the Least Body-Positive State in America? You Might Be Surprised.” TODAY.com, 8 May 2018, https://www.today.com/style/social-media-affecting-way-we-view-our-bodies-it-s-t128500. 

Plagmann, Saeri, and Clarion Staff. “Social Media Is Actually Bad.” JFKClarion.com, 27 Mar. 2017, https://jfkclarion.com/2017/03/27/social-media-is-actually-bad/.

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