June 27th, 2012

7 Simple Research Tips for Media Students

The world of entertainment permeates a media student’s life every single day of the week, but you may not be aware of how much it surrounds you. To make it in media, students must have the drive but also the know-how to succeed and flourish. The list below offers useful research tips that can help media students thrive in college and in career endeavors.

1) Network

Propelling to the top in the world of entertainment is, more often than not, about whom you know. Start networking now to gain contacts for any research you may need during your time as a media student.  If there is a particular individual you would like to interview, reach out to your contacts, show your enthusiasm and never give up. As you network and meet more and more contacts, you’ll eventually be introduced to the one person you have been dying to interview and your confidence will soar.  Networking now may lead to a great media job after you graduate, which is what you need to focus on and drive yourself forward to attain this goal.

2) Watch older movies, TV shows, read scripts, etc.

Watch, watch, watch, and learn. Many movies and TV shows of the past are either made into remakes today or have long influenced current media. The more you know about media’s past, the better off you will be.

3) Ask questions

The only way to truly know a topic is to ask questions. To become a media expert, you need to ask questions to gain insight and learn from listening. Also, expand the range of people you question in order to get new and varied perspectives. This means not just asking the bigwigs questions, but anyone and everyone you have access to in the media industry, from your teachers to studio hands. You would be surprised what you can learn from interviewing these people and attaining that edge you may not have known existed.

4) Stay current on media trends

Watching older movies and TV shows will help you understand media’s past, but it is just as important to stay current on up–and-coming media, such as film trends, TV shows that will be Emmy-worthy, and actors or actresses who are on track to make it big in Hollywood. Read articles about current topics, sign up for Google alerts, participate in forums, scour social media and really do all that you can think of to stay in the know.  Bottom line, don’t be left behind.  The media moves fast, stay on top of things to keep your edge.

5) Research a topic that interests you

There are many facets of media that one can research. Find one that interests you. Are you into horror movies? Then focus your research on the history of gore, cult hits, MPAA battles on film violence or Alfred Hitchcock movies. Do you like romantic comedies? Look into Julia Roberts’ film roles, check out Netflix categories or simply set your sights on researching aspects of the movie When Harry Met Sally. If you find a topic that interests you, not only will you be more enthusiastic about researching it, but you may also discover what you would like to do in your future media career.

6) Jot down ideas

Always carry around a notebook and a pen. Research ideas may come to you at any point in the day, so use your mobile device to quickly investigate and confirm. You’ll want to be ready to capture your thoughts before you forget them.

7) Use tools for your research

Many tools containing media information are widely available on the Internet. For example, Hark.com provides pop culture quotes, images, and other content.  All of its content can be shared on social media platforms, embedded in blogs, emailed & even downloaded.  Because much of its content is licensed by the studios, you have a validated source of fact within context of the course material. You can use Hark’s content for research as well as include it in papers, presentations, etc. Additionally, your school should provide online sources available for research, such as JSTOR.

Get in the practice of incorporating these seven research tips into your everyday life. These tips may help you succeed not only during your time in school but in future career endeavors.

Leslie Martinka is the Marketing Manager at Hark.com. Hark.com is the world’s largest platform for movie quotes and sound clips.

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