Research & Evaluation

Media literacy is a subject of interest to researchers around the world, and the number of academic journal citations for media literacy research and evaluations are growing every year. CML’s e-books contain many such references, and the signs for media literacy being an effective learning, teaching and health intervention strategy are highly encouraging. There is no end to the need for research in the media literacy field, and such research is especially important in establishing media literacy as a recognized, credible discipline internationally.

CML is pleased to have participated in one of the largest longitudinal studies on media literacy education ever conducted.  From 2004 to 2009 the CML's curriculum, Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media underwent a rigorous longitudinal evaluation study conducted by researchers at the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center. The goal of study was to assess whether or not a comprehensive media literacy intervention could increase students' knowledge levels and affect their attitudes and behaviors, as well as to mitigate the negative effects of exposure to media violence and reduce the risk for aggression and violence among middle school children. The research was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A notable feature of the study is that it not only provided evaluation of the curriculum, but also of CML's framework for deconstruction, featuring CML's Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions for media literacy.  This validation is important, since it offers assurance that CML's framework is an effective one to apply to deconstructing any content.

The largest implementation of Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media took place from 2007-2009 academic years:  20 middle schools from seven school districts in Los Angeles County took part in implementing the program as part of UCLA's evaluation study of the curriculum.  More than 2000 students participated, with about 50 teachers and administrators involved in the program

Employing a quasi-experimental pre/post test research design, researchers assessed the effects of the curriculum on middle school students, comparing classrooms led by intervention and control teachers in schools predominantly serving minority students. The specific goals of the research were to (1) Test changes over time among study children in measures of beliefs and attitudes towards violence and the media, media knowledge, self-reported viewing behaviors, critical assessment of media messages, risk for violence, and conflict resolution skills. (2) Ascertain the impact of the intervention in terms of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs at a six-month interval after the intervention. (3) Assess the effect of gender and ethnic differences on any short-term outcomes observed.

The results of the longitudinal evaluation study by UCLA were published in Injury Prevention in 2013.  Results from the initial pilot study conducted during the 2005 academic year were also  published: Webb, T., K. Martin, A. Afifi, J. Kraus, “Media Literacy as Violence Prevention: A Pilot Study Report,” Health Promotion Practice 2009; doi:117/1524839908328998.