University of Leicester
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Context, text and reader: Understanding communications technology through television advertisements.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:56 authored by David. Plowright
Context, Text and Reader is an investigation of the way that members of a young audience use magazine and television advertisements to help them develop an understanding of technology and technological development. The thesis' main argument is that understanding the relationship between context, text and reader is the key to understanding how an audience uses advertising images to help it come to terms with the world. A combination of methodologies is employed, including semiotic analysis, content analysis, attitude surveys and group discussions. The study is divided into four main sections. The first, Context, provides a framework into which the empirical findings can be loosely fitted. Two important areas are looked at: the changes taking place in what is often referred to as the communications revolution and secondly, the role that advertising plays in the generation of social and cultural meaning. The second section, Text, includes a semiotic analysis of selected television and magazine advertisements for technology products. This is followed by a review of a number of published content analysis studies and then by a discussion of two empirical studies of television and magazine advertisements using a content analysis methodology. The third section moves on to investigate the reader's response to technology. The findings of three empirical investigations are outlined and discussed. These are an exploration of attitudes to, firstly, technology in general; secondly, a television commercial for a domestic personal computer and thirdly a commercial for a television set. The final section of the thesis, Context, Text and Reader, brings together the three different elements of the study with, first of all, an outline of the issues involved in what are called "Reception Studies", then by an analysis of two group discussions of the television commercials for a domestic personal computer and a television set, used earlier in the study.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Media and Communication

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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