BCM212 Final Project Reflection

For the final project of BCM212, I researched about how students make decisions to study at UOW and their majors, as well as how those decisions influence their perception about future careers. In this short blog post I will explain what I did to engage and represent others in my research in terms of ethics, and what I learned from doing it.

First of all, according to Lassiter 2005, an important element in ethical research is that researchers have to be granted consent by participants and to provide protections of participants’ privacy and confidentiality. In order to gather findings, I conducted both online surveys and interviews. In the first page of my survey, I clearly informed the respondents that by turning to the next page, they allow me to use the data for the purpose of this research and they can choose not to participate if they do not want to grant me the consent. All the answers were collected anonymously so the privacy and confidentiality were guaranteed. About my interviews, when asking the interviewees to participate, I informed them clearly that I would film and publicize the interviews, but only for those reading my research report (more details can be found in my Progress Update here). Therefore, I was granted full consent from the interviewees, and in return I provided protection to their privacy by setting the video setting to private on Youtube, so it can be viewed in my report only.

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Credit: Baycrest.org

Secondly, as stated by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, ethical research practices must aim to achieve honesty, fairness and accuracy. As stated above, I filmed and publicized the interviews. Because the interviews were all quite long, I had to edit the footage to highlight the most important points. Therefore, I had to make sure that the editing process only aims to achieve convenience for audience without any intention to stage. Before putting the video into my report, I showed it to all my interviewees so they can see that I made no major changes apart from trimming down pauses, embedding background music or categorizing the answers into a more logical order. About my survey, all the figures published in my report were totally based on the data analysis on the website where I set up the survey without any adjustments. The only thing I did was aggregating them and presenting in the form of charts and graphs. I also tried to achieve fairness by not leaning towards any particular argument or interest, but instead I initially indicated my personal considerations and used my findings to reflect back on them. Any unexpected point that came out of my prior anticipation was also clearly stated.

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Credit: respect-mag.com

Finally, I want to share my experience from doing this research. The first thing I learned in terms of research values is Accountability. According to UOW Human Research Ethics Committee, objectives of a research include protecting the welfare and rights of the participants and bringing about benefit. I have explained how I engaged and represented my participants in the above paragraphs to justify how I protected their rights. Moreover, I also tried to make my research outcome beneficial to certain people. By discovering the factors influencing students’ decisions to choose UOW and majors in relation with their future careers, I hope to support my UOW peers to be more confident in what they are doing or make any necessary adjustment. I also expect that my research can support future students to decide whether UOW is the best place for them.

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Credit: Pinterest.

The second research values I have understood is Flexibility. I am aware that planning is crucial in research because it allows me to keep track of my progress. However, there are always times when things come out of control. For example, my video editing took longer than I thought and I was a bit freaked out that I could not finish all the work in time. This challenge pushed me to reallocate my schedule flexibly to compensate for the lack of time. But I still do not  know whether I made it right, because I will be submitting everything in an hour and I’m still writing this one. However, I suppose staying in this ambiguity and uncertainty can be tolerated :P, said Dugan 2013.

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Credit: sophieandrews.com.au

Another values I obtained is Creativity. Although I’m not a visual expert, I somehow managed to present my survey findings in form of graphs and charts, in an desperate attempt to be creative and make it easier for readers. I also tried to make a highlights video of the interviews to make my report more interactive and less boring (if it is full of words). If it does not work, maybe I’m not creative enough, but I tried.

It feels good writing these last lines as I’m finally able to rest.

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It seems like I can’t rest, I still have exams. T.T

References:

Dugan, M 2013, Tolerating Ambiguity, Known Innovation, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://knowinnovation.com/2013/04/tolerating-ambiguity/&gt;.

Lassiter, L 2005, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Media Alliance Code of Ethics, abc.net.au, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/0921_meaaethics.pdf&gt;.

UOW Human Research Ethics Committee, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://www.uow.edu.au/research/ethics/UOW009378.html&gt;.

 

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BCM212 Project progress update and Communications strategy

As already mentioned in my Research Proposal blog post, I am working on a project researching about the students’ decisions to choose a university and majors as well as the reasons why they may change their choices and how the majors relate to their future careers.

In this short blog post I will not focus on the content of my project, but on my progress so far and communications strategy for the project instead. First of all, I would like to indicate my method to recruit people to participate in my survey and interviews. For my survey, which you can find here, I have put up a post on Moodle, my university platform, embedding the survey link in which I also explained briefly about my project. I have also tried to get more responses by putting the link up on Twitter with the hashtag #bcm112. So far, so good, I keep getting new responses everyday 😉

About my interview, I was a bit worried about how I can find the suitable interviewees. Fortunately, I have several friends whose stories according to my perception fit into the context of my project. However, another problem is that I plan to film the interview so consent can be a potential problem. Therefore, I am fully aware that only by communicating clearly the project topic which is just a daily and sensitive topic can I get their approval. Below is the example of how I contact one of my interviewees (he allowed me to upload this piece of conversation but I will secure his identity).

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For the progress of my project, check this chart below for the details of my schedule from the beginning of the project until the deadline, wish me luck and bravery to stick to this plan guys :).

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In general, this blog will me my main tool to communicate to people about my project. In response to my tutor’s feedback about my blog design, I have established an ‘About‘ section on my blog including some information about me and my contact details so who are interested in or have questions about my blog can contact my more easily.

That’s it for this time. I will update my progress real soon. Stay tuned !

Cuong.

BCM212 Research Proposal

In order to accomplish BCM212: Research Practices in Media and Communication this semester at UOW, I have to actually conduct a research. Therefore, in this post I will briefly explain my idea, purpose and approach to this project.

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This is really frustrating. It’s just week 3 😦

First of all, I will indicate the idea of my research project. As a young person and a student, future career is always among my greatest concerns and I strongly believe that my peers share the same interest. Therefore, choosing the field of study at university level is an essential decision because this is one of the very last stages before we get involved in the working world and the knowledge we acquire at school takes up the most space in our baggage to start this journey. However,  while some graduates apply what they have learnt into their jobs, others keep changing work areas sharing no relation to their degrees. Therefore, I want to examine how university students make their decision to declare major and to what degree do they consider their fields of study important to their future career.

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In some senses, maybe I  applied to UOW only because the campus is smoke-free.

Secondly, let me explain how I came up with this idea. Before I came to Australia to study Communication and Media, I used to be a Business student back in Vietnam, my home country. With the desire to become a businessman, I spent two years on this degree until realizing it was totally unsuitable and gave up. Following my elder brother’s suggestion about the media field which I had never thought of before, I started to research about it, then felt curious and came here. Therefore, I thoroughly understand that there are always potentials for us to be interested in something that stay out of our understanding. This is what Emily Graslie mentioned in her TED speech: ‘You will not feel curious about one thing if you do know it exists’. I relate this idea to the notion of reflexivity as students may make decision to choose field of study based on either their perception of themselves (Soros 2009) (what they like, what they are good at, etc) or perception/recognition of others about them (Taylor 1992) . A person can think of him in one way based on someone’s reflection on him but that perception can change if he comes up with other reflection of someone else.

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Somehow true ?

Finally, I will propose my possible approach. My main method will be directly interviewing students within UOW and conducting online survey. The questions will be designed to figure out the following:

  • What factors brought them to the decision to choose their current field of study, and whether those are objective or subjective.
  • Have they ever thought of (or felt curious about) studying something different from their current major.
  • To what degree do they think their current major will be relevant to their future career and why they think so.

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Above is my brief proposal for my upcoming research project and it is still early to say whether I will stay with this idea until the end because I may again feel curious about something else based on other reflection 😛

Reference:

Soros, G 2009, General Theory of Reflexivity, Financial Times, viewed March 8th 2017, <https://www.ft.com/content/0ca06172-bfe9-11de-aed2-00144feab49a#axzz425HnJh93&gt;.

Taylor, C 1992, “Multiculturalism and the politics of recognition”, Princeton University Press, USA.

Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay curious.

So finally I am back with uni after a long holiday back in my country to start a new semester, which means I am also back with blogging (which I have been abandoned for quite a while). This very first blog post of the semester will be for BCM112 – Research Practices in Media and Communication about an experience of mine about curiosity in learning.

To be honest, I do not enjoy studying. I find it is hard to stay focused for a long time reading pages and pages of theories or accomplishing tasks (although that feeling of submitting assessments is awesome). However, I have to admit that I did feel curious about learning, at least once, about which I am going to tell you in this post.

A bit about me, I am an international student from Vietnam. Before coming here in Australia, I did two years of college in Vietnam studying Business. Unfortunately, I did not find it suitable for me so I decided to give up, come here and start over again in Communication and Media. So far so good, although I have only finished a year and a half, still one more semester to reach the two-year mark so I cannot tell for sure whether I will stay still or quit again and do something else (just kidding, my parents will kick me out of the house if I come back and say I quit again so I will not).

Since I major in Marketing, I was excited about things I would learn in the first semester. Before Enrollment Day, I imagined about subjects that I would take such as ones in Advertising, Marketing or Public Relations. However, one really really really strange subject came up following the faculty’s suggestion: PHIL106, a philosophy subject. At that moment, I was frustrated and questions kept popping into my head: “I am a Media and Marketing student, what would I do with philosophy ? I do not need this. I come here to do something else’. And from that moment on, I realized how I feel about this event, and as you can all tell: CURIOUS.

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That was exactly what Emily Graslie said in her TED speech about the value of curiosity in 2015: ‘You will not feel curious about one thing if you do know it exists’. I kept feeling curious about this subject as the first few weeks passed by and I still could not find the purpose in doing it. However, by the end of the semester, I could really understand that things happen for a reason, and I did PHIL106 for a reason: it is a core subject, I have to do it……. Just kidding, I did enjoy it as it set a foundation for me to be respectful to other people’s perspectives, which is an essential element for all those working in Media and Marketing field.

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That was my story of how I first feel curious about studying here in Australia. It made a pretty good start for my journey here and made me curious about all the strange subjects at the beginning of each semester, although at the moment I am still curious about some of them that I did as I could not really tell the point in doing them (or simply because I hated them).

So that is the point, things do happen for reasons so it is important to stay hungry and foolish in studying, by which I mean we should be curious in learning as it might enhance the progress or at least create a motivation for us at the beginning, according to Charan Ranganath and Matthias Gruber in their findings about the impact of curiosity to the brain.

I feel curious about learning new things, I always have and I always will.