Sociological analysis of the media consumption practices: Types and methods of the empirical study

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In the contemporary society, the media form an essential part of social life and play an important part in the everyday life taking up a huge amount of time, although being a part of many other routine practices. Such a fundamental role of media in the nowadays individual and social practices could not but attract the attention of a wide variety of disciplinary fields including social scientists, who aim to develop new conceptual models and methodological approaches for the study of media consumption and to identify the prospects for the future use of media by different socio-demographic groups. The author believes that in the field of communication studies the methods for analyzing audience preferences and behavior would solve the most important problems of sociology of mass media, because they are based on the combination of different analytical approaches, types of research and methodological solutions - both quantitative assessment of media consumption practices and “qualitative” description of sustainable media consumption patterns. Undoubtedly, with the development of the media industry the customers’ needs and research objectives are changing and accordingly transforming sociological approaches and methods, which led to the saturation of sociology of mass media with the huge number of various methodological approaches and technical solutions for the audience media consumption practices. The article identifies key advantages and limitations of basic methodological approaches and technical solutions of the media consumption studies with reference to television, radio, press and the Internet; provides examples of the use of these methods and approaches in Russia; considers trends of the further development of media studies based on the interpretation of media consumption as a complex set of social practices.

About the authors

V N Ilmukhin

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Author for correspondence.

Sociology Chair


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Copyright (c) 2016 V N Ilmukhin

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