In the Local Media Database Research Project, a mixed research methodology a mixed research methodology consisting of two complemantary stages was applied. At the first stage, a detailed desk-based research was carried out, examining all currently existing media databases and press lists, in order to identify the available data that serves as a reference for the local media space in Turkey. In the second stage, a comprehensive field research was carried out to verify the data obtained during the first stage and to expand the scope of the data that not obtained during the desk-based research.

A. THE DESK-BASED RESEARCH

As the first stage of the study, the main purpose of the desk-based research was to examine and identify all current data on local media outlets in order to establish the research space. In this direction, first of all, all databases created on local media in Turkey so far were examined and outlets (public entities, media organizations and non-governmental organizations, vocational associations and public relations companies) that created databases in this field were contacted. As a result of the preliminary monitoring and communication process, the open-access media databases within the Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) and the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the corporate press lists of the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS), the Media Research Association (MEDAR) and the public relations company Faselis, were included in the study.

In the first step of the search, all databases were reviewed and detected data categories on local media outlets included in the study. As a result of this review, the databases of the Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) and the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) were classified as primary sources, as they contain the most comprehensive data pool on local media outlets. The corporate press lists (MEDAR, TGS and Faselis) examined within the scope of the study were used as supportive secondary sources for the cross-check and verification of the gathered data.
As a result of these detailed monitorings carried out on all current media databases, significant amount of data on local media outlets was reached. In order to classify, categorize and verify the collected data, which is in different types and formats, the methods below were followed:
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B. FIELD RESEARCH

The field research carried out within the scope of the research was designed in line with two main goals. The first of these goals was to verify the local outlets and their data identified during the desk-based research by directly contacting these outlets. The second goal was to identify the data that could not be reached during the desk-based research, thus to expand the scope of the research. In order to achieve these goals, the methodology described in detail below was followed in the research:

Method

Since the Local Media Database Research Project was designed with the aim of being the first census research conducted on local media in Turkey, the research methods used in the fieldwork were chosen accordingly. The focus in Census research is to reach all elements in a population or group and to detect the basic characteristics of these elements (Lavrakas, 2008). In census studies, which are classified as quantitative research, a survey is generally used as a data collection method (Lavrakas, 2008). In this framework, the sample of the field research was determined as all local media outlets that were reached in the desk-based research and constitutes the research space. The survey method was specifically preferred to effectively determine the demographic characteristics of each local media outlet within this space.

Since the field research aims to verify the data collected in the desk-based research and to reach more detailed demographic information about local media outlets, the survey form used in the study was designed in this direction. First, each of the data categories (eg, publication/broadcast type, publication/broadcast scope and publication/broadcast frequency, etc.) created in the desk-based research were added to the questionnaire as a question. Then, additional questions were designed for the detection of demographic information (eg: the number of employees in the outlets, the level of satisfaction with the working conditions, etc.)  and added to the questionnaire. 

As the data collection tool, JotForm data collection platform was used in the research. As the JotForm platform provides both data collection and data processing tools via an online questionnaire, it has provided the opportunity to update the listed data, new data entry and storage of the collected data on a single platform.

In this process, data lists created specifically for each city during the desk-based research were brought together and a main database list was created. Then, a special institutional code (eg: 01-001) was assigned to each outlet in the list and then the main list was transferred to the Jotform interface. Afterwards, the prepared questionnaire was uploaded to JotForm and integrated into the data list in the interface. In this way, a special survey system was created that results can be searched via outlet code and combines both the data collected from the desk-based research and additional data acquired from the field on each local media outlet.

Application

The survey was conducted between November 2020 and February 2021 by a field team consisting of 3 researchers. Due to the mobility limitation brought by the pandemic, the surveys were conducted by the researchers using the online survey platform (Jotform) through phone calls. During the research, each local media outlet in the database list was called 3 times in total, using the institutional phone numbers found in the web search. In this process, a survey was conducted with the outlets that were reached and agreed to participate in the research. During the surveys conducted via phone calls, the researchers reached the outlet-specific questionnaire they interviewed via Jotform using the previously assigned outlet code, directed the questions based on the data acquired in the desk-based to the representatives of local media outlets, confirmed and updated the data collected about the outlet, and recorded the answers of other additional survey questions into the system. At the end of the study, all the data about local media outlets were verified and updated, additional data on the demographic characteristics of the local media outlets were obtained and the infrastructure of the database was created.

Sample

During the survey, it was aimed to reach all local media outlets identified in the desk-based research. In this context, the research sample was created out of 3240 local media outlets identified in the desk-based research. During the field research, each outlet in the sample was called 3 times in total, in different times, using the institutional contact numbers specified. As a result of this, 2196 of the 3240 local outlets in the sample were reached. Among the outlets reached, a survey was conducted with 1222 local media outlets, and 974 outlets did not participate in the research. There were 1044 outlets that could not be reached during the field process, 565 of those unanswered the calls and it was understood that the contact numbers of 479 outlets obtained in the web search  did not work (due to a broken phone line or incorrect number information) or not belong to the outlet called.

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