Must…look…at…text message

My mobile phone is something that I always have by my side. Constantly texting, instagramming, snap chatting, face booking, you name it. But there can be some circumstances where I probably shouldn’t be on my phone as much as I am.

If I am in my bedroom or somewhere by myself I feel totally fine being on my phone all the time, because I am not usually controlled by rules and regulations in these particular spaces. Depending on the situation and people I am surrounded by, determines how I act and use my mobile phone.

In my family, we usually sit on the lounge eating our dinner most nights, but when we go out for dinner or sit at the table, the no mobile phone rule is enforced. I don’t think this rule has been properly established, but I feel like it has come about from my mum or dad commenting on my phone habits during dinner and have made this rule up myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle trying not to look at my phone. Although this is sort of a rule in my family, my sister still is glued to her phone during dinner which kind of annoys me because I see dinner time is family time. But to my sister, it is prime time to upload a selfie and get all the Instagram likes.

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“Studies showed that if a mobile is visible during a conversation it causes people to feel less positive towards the person with whom they are chatting”, according to research conducted by the Daily Mail Australia. Daily Mail reported a study where a team of psychologists asked 37 pairs of strangers to talk for 10 minutes about an exciting event that has happened in their lives in the past month. In this study, the participants sat on chairs in a private room and a mobile phone was put on a desk next to them. Concluding this study, the researchers found that those who had talked with a mobile phone present were significantly less positive that the other participants whom didn’t have a mobile phone nearby.

Canstar Blue put out a survey and found that 2/5 Australians use their phone when in the company of friends and family – even at the dinner table. Research also found that Gen Y survey respondents were 3 times as likely as Baby Boomers to commit mobile etiquette crimes, and women were worse than men. 2/3 of those surveys admitted to feeling guilty when using their phone instead of paying more attention to the people they are with.

Referring to these two studies, I think using a mobile phone at dinner or while talking to someone will get slightly more acceptable as technology is evolving and is such an important part in society now. Although mobile phone regulations and rules may not be set in stone, in my opinion not using your mobile phone in intimate places is just being polite.

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STOP! Collaborate and Listen…

Once again we get given a topic that I have never heard of before. Ethnographic research… sorry what? After opening 20 different tabs and clicking every website that had the word ‘ethnographic’ in it, I can define ethnographic research as “the observation of groups of people or a culture in the field or, in other words, in a natural setting” (Hurst, n.d.) Ethnography is collaborative (Lassiter, 2005). It is also a form of qualitative research and data.

Lassiter (2005) described collaborative ethnography as “an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it—from project conceptualization, to fieldwork, and, especially, through the writing process”. So why do researchers use collaborative ethnography? Do you ever wonder how advertising agencies and broadcasting companies decide which shows they want to air in a certain time slot? Yep, though collaborative ethnographic research!

Sometimes this method can be inaccurate and not as reliable due to the emergence of various technological devices such as phones, computers and iPads. For example, the 2014 season finale of the television show ‘The Block‘ had 2.764 million viewers which was the biggest audience of the year for any non-sporting program. But how accurate is this? How many people actually watched the show? I know I started watching it and then ended up on my phone an in the other room, with the show just playing in the background.

This is why the qualitative research aspect is important rather than just using a quantitative research methodology. Qualitative research “aims to produce factual descriptions based on face-to-face knowledge of individuals and social groups in their natural settings”, whereas quantitative research “is more logical and data-led approach, which provides a measure of what people think from a statistical and numerical point of view”.

So back to my previous example of the TV show ‘The Block’. This example is the result of quantitative research. It is critical to analyse the reasons behind individuals media movements rather than just the numbers side of things. A research method like this would assist marketing and advertising companies. This would enable them to dig deeper into what consumers watch, buy, use and do.


References: 

Hurst, M. (n.d.). What Is Ethnography? – Studying Cultural Phenomena – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Study.com. Available at: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-ethnography-studying-cultural-phenomena.html [Accessed 16 Aug. 2015].

LeCompte, M. and Goetz, J. (1982). Problems of Reliability and Validity in Ethnographic Research. Review of Educational Research, 52(1), pp.31-60.

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.

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