Interview with a communications and media student

What is media research? 

It kills me how open-ended this question is, especially when this course is about asking people questions and figuring out exactly what questions you should be asking. I might start this blog with an old classic.

Before the lecture, what did you think research was?

The word “research” always conjures a pretty vivid image in my head of me in a library with my head bent over a book. Usually, the book’s language is quite obtuse I’m combing through it for some semblance of a message I can use in an essay. I might even picture the Summons home page (for those of you not studying at University of Wollongong, Summons is the catalogue system for our library).

How did the lecture change your mind?

I had never considered asking my friend what brand of nail polish she was wearing, or what she knew about the guy sitting across from us, to be research. It is a kind of research, one Marion McCutcheon labels as “everyday” research. This kind of research is different from the kind I was picturing before; it is often flawed due to it being subjective, mostly common sense, casually acquired, sometimes intuitive and always selective. Everyday research may suit my needs but it is by no means something an academic paper can stand on.

Academic research has greater concerns in veracity. It must be as objective as possible in order to have relevance in the real world, i.e. beyond my own life. This means the processes required are more protracted and systematic.

A research question might lend themselves to a specific kind of research: quantitative versus qualitative. So, if I am wondering about the percentage of Australian uni students who use torrenting to access television shows, this is going to require quantitative research. I’m going to need to survey a big sample of uni students in order to have as accurate as possible data. If I am wondering why they use torrenting, this is going to require qualitative research, often in the form of a questionnaire or interview.

What aspect of the media would you like to research?

Funny you ask that, I was just talking about how Australian uni students access their television shows. I am an extremely passionate fan of many television series. As an Australian who has to deal with the delay in transmission of shows from the US and UK to Australia, I personally utilise many different access points in order to get my fill. I’m curious to see how others like me access their shows and what this means for the shows, copyright, profit and legal recourse.

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2 comments

  1. Research is essentially occurring around us every day. It is different to media research but the same sort of formula applies. It does make you question how much you research without even noticing like in the interview, “I had never considered asking my friend what brand of nail polish she was wearing” is an example of research that we don’t even notice. Good use of an interview to analyse media research.

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