Asking Questions To Come Up With Questions

One assignment nearly finished and going straight onto the next one. Great. Assignment two requires us to select a research topic, and in groups conduct a short survey. After 20 minutes of conversation about nothing regarding the assignment, we finally decided to jot down idea as to what aspect of social media we would like to focus on. Multiple discussions with our tutor and a lot of um’ing and ah’ring finally resulted in a decision for our focus question: What is the role of Social Media behind the experience of music amongst university students?

 We quickly started firing out questions we could incorporate into our surveys and we got really excited of how well we were doing, until we realised that no one had wrote the questions down. So the process started all over again.

The purpose for these questions is so we can examine the ways that social media affects other university students and the way that changes their whole experience of music. Some questions we thought of were open ended and the others closed, so we culled down to the most important ones and the questions that would give us the most information. Open ended questions result in a more in depth answer; an example of an open-ended question is “what do you know about social media?” Closed questions are simply questions that you can only answer with a yes or no response. For example, “Do you have Facebook?”

We interviewed each other with questions we thought were relevant to our research topic, which allowed us to see what worked and what didn’t. It also helped us realise that some of the questions we thought were fantastic, weren’t so great. Interviews are mostly trial and error, but it’s so important that the right questions are asked to get the desired answer. A couple of questions we came up with were:

  • What social media platforms do you use?
  • How much do you these platforms influence your decisions?
  • How often do you use social media?

We were able to identify how to re-arrange the question and transfer it into a more survey like question, including multiple choices. I think our group benefited on interviewing each other as it allowed us to have a clearer direction on what we actually wanted to research, as social media is so broad.

So based on the short interview that our group conducted, there is a lot of trial and error in the process. Hopefully we get it right!

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Did you know Facebook has the ability to control your emotions?

Facebook is the first thing I check in the morning when I wake up, and probably the last thing I see before bed – and I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of this. But its crazy how much Facebook and other social media platforms can control you without realising. I have analysed a text that goes into depth about emotional contagion and studies the experiment Facebook conducted in 2012 to see if what we see on out Newsfeed’s has any effect on our mood.

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“Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks”

Purpose/context: This text reports on the massive experiment the popular social media platform, Facebook, conducted and that emotional states can be transferred to other via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.

Author + topic and position: This article is written by three professional writers, including, Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock. Adam Kramer is part of the Data Science Team at Facebook. His work focuses on emotion expression, psycholinguistics and statistical methods. Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock are both from the Department of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University in New York. In the text, these three experienced authors focus on the way that social media; particularly Facebook can have an emotional contagion effect on us. I deem this article reliable and accurate as these authors are very well known within this area of work and throughout the text have cited a number of academic sources where they have gathered their research findings.

Audience: I think the intended audience for this article would be Facebook users, researchers and social media users in general. The article is providing us with information in regards to how social media can manipulate us and also in some ways can alert us on what social media sites have the power to do.

Proof/evidence: The research paper uses the quantitative research method, by gathering data and statistics to provide us with the experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues. Facebook randomly selected 155,000 participants who were active on Facebook and recorded them for a period of 1 week (these participants had no idea they were the lab rats). The information Facebook gathered showed that if people were exposed to positive status updates on their newsfeed, they would be more inclined to post positive things on Facebook, whereas, it’s the opposite for negative words that appear in the newsfeed. I think the findings are a valid source of information as there is evidence of further research and graphs to back up their statistics.

Organisation: This research text is in paragraphs, which is easy to follow, although there aren’t any sub headings so it was difficult to sift through the information to find exactly what I needed. I think it is portrayed in this way as it is a research analysis and it is written in a very formal manner.

Conclusion: I think this is a very interesting article and the evidence the authors collected backed up their hypothesis that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion.

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References:

Facebook.com, (2015). Meet a Facebook Data Scientist: Q&A with Adam Kramer. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-science/meet-a-facebook-data-scientist-qa-with-adam-kramer/10150660264128859 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2015].

Kramer, A., Guillory, J. and Hancock, J. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), pp.8788-8790.

Right or Wrong

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So for the year ten school certificate, the last long answer question was on ‘ethics’. But being the cool kid I was, I didn’t study at all so of course I had no idea what ethics was. I took a wild guess and semi thought it related to ‘ethNics’. Nup. So wrong. I am going to attempt to get it right this time. So, what actually is ethics?

The meaning of ‘ethics’ is hard to pin down due to people having so many different and unique views about ethics. Many people tend to equate ethics with their feeling. For example, what is right and what is wrong. In simple terms, ethics can be seen as a system of moral principals, effecting how people make decisions and lead their lives. The term ‘ethics’ come from the Greek word ‘ethos’ which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.

“what is right can be subjective, which is why different people will have different standards of what is right and wrong, and what is acceptable or unacceptable”

Why in particular is research ethics so important? There are many reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. Ethics can promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth and avoidance of error. E.g. prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid error. Ethical standards also promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, fairness and mutual respect. This includes copyright policies, guidelines for authorship, data sharing policies and confidentiality rules in peer review. The majority of researchers wish to receive credit for their work instead of someone using their work and stating it as their own – I’m sure we are all familiar with plagiarism. Ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable to the public, help build public support for research and finally promote a variety of moral and social values such as human/animal rights.

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There is no denying that ethics isn’t important for the conducting of research; many different professional associations, government agencies and universities have adopted specific codes, rules and policies in regards to research ethics. These codes and policies include:

  • Honesty
  • Objectivity
  • Integrity
  • Carefulness
  • Openness
  • Respect for Intellectual Property
  • Confidentiality
  • Responsible Publication
  • Responsible Mentoring
  • Respect for colleagues
  • Social Responsibility
  • Non-Discrimination
  • Competence
  • Legality
  • Animal Care
  • Human Subjects Protection

Evidently ethics is essential in research. To some ethics may be seen as common sense but it can be worth while to do a bit of research… just in case.


References:

Bbc.co.uk, (2015). BBC – Ethics – Introduction to ethics: Ethics: a general introduction. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/intro_1.shtml [Accessed 4 Apr. 2015].

Niehs.nih.gov, (2015). What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important?. [online] Available at: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2015].

Scu.edu, (2015). What is Ethics?. [online] Available at: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/whatisethics.html [Accessed 4 Apr. 2015].

Weerakkody, N D 2008, ‘Research ethics in media and communication’, in Research methods for media and communications, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, South Melbourne, Vic., pp. 73-91

A super exciting text analysis

So I have been instructed to do an analysis of a research paper, how exciting right? I thought I would try to make this as interesting as an analysis can be by choosing a semi-interesting topic, but here goes nothing…

“Using Digitally Distributed Vulgar Comedy to Reach Young Men with Information About Healthy Sexual Development”

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Purpose/context: This article has the purpose to raise awareness amongst individuals that teenage boys are not receiving the same level of health education compared to teenage girls. This research paper in particular assesses and identifies the gap between teenage boys and girls and how they receive information about sexual development.

Author + topic and position: This paper is written by three renowned writers, including, Alan Mckee, Anthony Walsh and Anne-Frances Watson. Alan Mckee is an Australian University professor and internationally acclaimed researcher of sexualised media. Throughout this research article, Mckee’s expertise is demonstrated through his strong opinions and detailed research. Anthony Walsh is a Manager in Regional Services and Projects, Family Planning Queensland. Anne-Frances Watson is a Lecturer in Communication at the Queensland University of Technology. This research article is focused on the way in which teenage men are not being exposed to enough healthy sexual development teachings, compared to teenage girls. I portray this text as a reliable and accurate source due to the number of cited works throughout the text, and the title of the authors.

Audience: The intended audience for this article can include Australian teenage men, health care professionals, parents, university students, teachers and other researches. I think the writers directed the article towards this type of audience to raise awareness about sexual development and to promote an equal opportunity for both men and women to be educated about their health.

Proof/evidence: This article uses the qualitative research methodology to report on the use of digitally distributed vulgar comedy videos as a way to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development. The researchers conducted 20 focus groups with 89 people aged between fourteen and sixteen from 5 different schools. These children were questioned on the ways they gather various kinds of information about sex, including from school, parents, peers and the media. I think the findings are a valid source of information as there was first hand research conducted along with several different works cited.

Organisation: The organisation of this research paper was very clear and easy to read. The information was broken up into different sub-topics and clearly labelled under a sub-heading, for example ‘the uses of comedy’, ‘challenge 1: not being worthy’ etc. I think the way the information was put down on the paper in contrast with the actual topic, made it interesting to read and also was engaging.

Conclusion: This article has successfully shown that young men do not have equal access to information regarding healthy sexual development in comparison to women. Although most of the teenagers interviewed said they found sex ‘funny’ or that they learnt it from vulgar TV shows such as ‘Family Guy’, these shows can unconsciously provide some form of education in relation to sexual development to young boys. Overall I think the text has accurately demonstrated that there is a high demand for the need of increased education for teenage boys. In my opinion this is a very interesting research project and has been delivered very well by Alan Mckee, Anthony Walsh and Anne-Frances Watson.


References: 

McKee, Alan; Walsh, Anthony and Watson, Anne-Frances. Using digitally distributed vulgar comedy to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development [online]. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 153, Nov 2014: 128-137. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=812537793796531;res=IELLCC>

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

research-methods-hell-if-i-knowResearching is an act that nearly everyone does every single day. But what is research? When writing all of my blog posts and I’m trying to find information I end up with 20 tabs open in my safari browser. Then it occurred to me, that this is exactly what research is. From seeing how long it takes to walk from home to the train station, or checking what time the night club stays open till, to googling what pi (π) equals or how to perform open heart surgery. This is all research, whether we realise it or not, we do it all the time.

Research simply means “to search for, to find’. Everyday research is done automatically and unconsciously. For example, browsing through websites to fin find the cheapest pair of Windsor Smith shoes. This is very different to Scholarly research. Scholarly research is more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness than everyday research. For example, doing research for an assignment at the University library can be seen as scholarly research.

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So that’s a brief description on what research is, but what in particular is media research? Media research can be broken down into two categories, quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative research means “how great”, “how much” or “how many”. This method is usually more logical and statistical, involving numbers and data that can be easily organised and manipulated into reports and surveys for analysis.

“Quantitative researchers are sometimes accused of being ‘too narrow’, basing their research on what they can count, measure and observe and neglecting other matters” (Berg, 2014)

Qualitative research means “of what kind?” This form of research concentrates on how people feel, what they think and why they make certain choices. In relation to media, this research can involve matters such as the text’s properties, degree of excellence, and distinguishing characteristics.

 “Qualitative researches, are often accused of “reading into” texts thins that are not there or of having opinions or making interpretations that seem odd, excessive or even idiosyncratic” (Berg, 2014)

I got asked “What aspect of the media would you like to research?” My immediate though was “I have no bloody idea”. But then the cycle started again, I was researching what I should research. Confusing isn’t it? But once again, after opening tens of thousands of tabs, I came to the conclusion that I would love to learn more about the effects of social media. Social media is continuously evolving in today’s society and the majority of people use it in one way or another. In particular, I would like to know more about “the role of social media behind fashion, music or food choices etc. Ill leave it at that for now. I’m off to do more research, yay!

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References:

Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32

Bl.uk, (2015). British Library Business & IP Centre in London | Qualitative and Quantitative Research. [online] Available at: http://www.bl.uk/bipc/resmark/qualquantresearch/qualquantresearch.html

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘Lecture 2: what is media research?’, BCM210, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, 11 March