The eld of media and communication research is characterised by quite a variety of different research perspectives. That fact stems from the hybrid nature of this eld of empirical enquiry, in which investigative approaches have been derived from longer established academic disciplines in the social sciences. Anthropology, economics, geography, history, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology – have all contributed theories and methodologies for studying the structure, organisation, content, uses and impact of media. While media scholars have, accordingly, debated the merits and shortcomings of different theories and methodologies within limited spheres of inquiry (Neuman 2005; Wimmer and Dominick 2011, perhaps the most signicant debate within academic circles (though not the highest prole one in the public sphere) has centred on a dispute between different philosophies of social science about the research perspective that offers the

most sensitive and meaningful insights into the role and inuence of the media in society. A ‘positivist’ or hypothetico-deductive school of thought has been lined up against critical and interpretive perspectives. These different social-scientic perspectives vary in terms of the perceived objectives of research, the way social reality and human beings are conceived, the role of theory-driven empirical enquiry and the kind of evidence to which most weight is given (see Neuman 2005). Hypothetico-deductive approaches to media enquiry are concerned with the setting up, proving or disproving of hypotheses, and the eventual establishment of theoretical explanations of events or causal laws which explain relationships between individuals’ activities in, and experiences of, media, and their knowledge, beliefs, opinions and behaviour. These phenomena are operationally dened, most often, in quantitative terms to facilitate measurement of the strengths of causal links or degrees of association between them.