This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and…
This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about filmmakers' responsibility after a unit of instruction on media violence designed specifically for university film majors.
Inherent in this process was an attempt to create a valid instrument for measuring media literacy awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about social responsibilities among future media makers. Items were presented from the perspective of a creator of entertainment products. A demographic survey was used to collect data on past media literacy education and media viewing habits of this niche group, while evaluation data provided insights into the thought processes of students as they considered issues of media literacy -- sometimes for the first time -- in their own lives, in the lives of others, and in their future careers. Factorial analysis was used to test the effectiveness of the instrument. Analyses of variance were employed to measure pretest-posttest differences in treatment groups and Paired Samples T-tests to measure differences across the entire sample. Responses to open-ended evaluation questions were analyzed and coded and presented by item.
Results showed positive changes in comprehension and filmmaker responsibility attitudes across treatment groups and significant positive differences in media awareness and critical thinking among students across treatment groups. Results did not align with treatment groups: the students who watched film clips and participated in focused discussions gained knowledge but did not achieve significantly greater mean scores than those who did not participate in these treatments.
Findings support those in the research literature that holistic media literacy instruction, which incorporates aspects of creating as well as consuming entertainment products, can open new pathways of criticality about media issues. Media should be presented in context and with direction from the instructor. In eight evaluation items, some 90% of the young media makers agreed that the media violence lesson influenced their thinking and that they would consider material taught in this lesson when creating future media products.