Effects research focuses on 'what the media does to the audience'. They presume that audiences are passive, and audiences are the same. Most famous research done on this was the bobo doll experiment carried out by Bandura, Ross and Ross, the research they claimed to find was that every child reacted the same to what they saw, so the audience is directly affected by the media. This has been heavily criticised.
Uses and Gratification
Uses and gratification focuses on 'what audiences do with the media', audiences are not considered passive, audiences are now considered individuals with needs to be gratified. Individual needs will lead to individual interpretations of media messages, and the texts contain many possible meanings with equal chance of being selected or rejected (polysemic). Research done by Blumler and Katz (1974) said that audiences have 4 broad needs that are fulfilled by TV - Diversion, Personal Relationships, Personal Identity and Surveillance.