Connecting Generations. A Research and Learning Approach for Media Education and Audience Studies
Keywords:Audience, media education, media studies, media and generations, qualitative methodology, interview, focus groups
Based on theoretical and methodological orientations from authors’ previous research on media and generations, this article presents a research and learning process involving supervised field work conducted by graduate students from a Master Seminar on Media Studies at FCSH, New University of Lisbon. Acting as facilitators of focus groups composed of older participants, exploring intergenerational and intragenerational differences and similarities that emerge from different age cohorts, and critically reflecting on this experience on their individual essays, students were able to build a contextual knowledge of media uses among their grandparents’ and parents’ generation in Portugal. The choice of focus groups as a tool for research and the topic of generations to be investigated within Media Studies proved to be very productive. The article argues on the potentialities of this intergenerational relation between facilitator and focus groups’ respondents as a way of activating the interactions inside the groups, leading –for instance– the participants to assume an «explaining» attitude in selfaccounting. Final notes are presented about the educational gains of this methodology for Media Education and for different branches of Media Studies, such as media and social history, journalism and the news or political participation..