Identifying and Using Variables in Mass Communication Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Oketunmbi, E.O. ; Aderibigbe, A.A. (2018-06-01)

Staff publications


This paper recognises that mass communication research is tilting increasingly towards quasi scientific research methods, despite its multidisciplinary background. The tilt is a response to the global trend of rising bias against the humanities and social sciences, in favour of the pure sciences and technology. However, a vital point in the adaptation of the scientific method to communication research is the mastery and application of the concept of variable. This paper therefore explores the nature of research per se in human aspirations, in addition to the basic types, characteristics, and the pivotal role of variables in mass communication research. To demonstrate the presence of variables in all major stages of the research process, the paper also selectively reviews two published research reports, and concludes with a discussion of some pitfalls to avoid while working with variables.