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 ūüė¶

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 ūüėõ

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.

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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.

BCM240 Blog Reflection

During my study of BCM240: Media, Audience and Place this semester, blogging is an essential part. Throughout nine weeks engaging in this task, I have gained a certain understanding of how to properly write posts, design blog as well as engage with others to build a media place of my own. Therefore, in this short piece of writing, I will briefly explain my nine-week blogging experience.

First of all, one of my important aims when performing this task is to familiarize myself with research blogging. According to Zivkovic 2011, one feature of research blogging is to discover and explain new research. Therefore, I always try to come up with new findings supported by previous research effort in every single post of mine. Thanks to the guidance I received from lectures, tutorials and weekly materials, I am able to partly understand how research is properly conducted to gather information supporting personal opinions to make them more persuasive to readers. Only by approaching readings and sources can I design a good resource to show readers that although my presented opinions are original, they are concluded based on critically analysing others‚Äô ideas. For example, in my final project proposal, in order to prove that my idea approach of making vines is reasonable, I had reached a range of sources from articles explaining the advantages of the genre, posts analysing my choice of platform to ones that inspire me to choose the particular topic for my content. This is also one part of the feedback I received from Task 1 as my tutor encouraged me to include additional sources because they can ‚Äėadd weight to my discussion and compliment my insights nicely‚Äô. By doing this, I am able to reinforce my own thinking as well as to review and figure out other details to add in and make it better.

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Secondly, I have achieved knowledge of how to engage with readers throughout the blogging process. One suggestion from Connell 2016 is to mention others in my posts in order to create traffic. I find this suggestion really useful in the way that when I link my post to related bloggers, they will be able to know, read and contribute ideas. Moreover, I also have the opportunity to reinforce my existing ideas as well as to approach new way of thinking to enrich my understanding. For instance, when writing about my experience of reading other people‚Äôs interviews, I mentioned several peers whose blogs I found interesting and useful. As a result, some of them realized then followed by blog and gave me suggestions. In the feedback I received for Task 1, my tutor suggested me to link my blog to other blogs and websites to improve my media space so I designed one category called ‚ÄėFriends and Fellows‚Äô on my blog showing people that I follow and interact regularly with. Moreover, links to other websites that are of my interest are also included. My tutor also suggested me to have additional hashtags, which I found really useful as I used to include hashtags related to UOW and BCM240 network only. By adding in hashtags that are relevant to the topic, I am able to reach potential readers in various fields. According to Connell 2016, publishing content often is a good way to engage with readers. Therefore, I maintain my blogging momentum by publishing at least 2 posts a week in order to be active online. As a result, there are familiar users that follow and comment on my blog quite regularly.

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Thirdly, I have improved the quality of my blog by understanding how to address the problem in a constructive way. Stated by Williams, one attribute of constructive communication is to be problem-oriented. Therefore, in every single blog, I always try to focus on the main problems that are raised. Zenger 2014 also suggests to start with theories as the foundation for further discussion. I found this tip useful in the way that an academic theory will set the base for the post as it provides readers with a general idea about the topic. Another advantage of this approach is I am able to have a reliable supporting argument for my opinions. For instance, when writing about one of my cinema experience and relating that experience to the notion of space and place, I began by citing Hagerstrand’s three constraints and analyse my case based on them. Furthermore, this task allowed me to be more aware of the importance of using examples to support my arguments. Including examples or real-life case studies enabled me to justify my ideas as well as to clarify them for readers. For example, in my blog post explaining the Australian Classification Board and its influence on the idea of media space and place, I analysed the example of the movie Star Wars: The force awakens as a related case.

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Finally, I have gained understanding of how to use my blog to engage with the ideas of the subject. I have been blogging for three sessions so far but before doing this subject, I still considered blog is just a place for one-way communication. However, at the moment I realized that blog is also a media space where information is conveyed flexibly between writers and readers, which also leads to the trend of user-generated content as I am able to gather new content from people engaging with my blog. This is an important transition that turns user into produser (Bruns 2006). Therefore, in order for my readers to feel like being in a real media space rather than a reading website, I have done a lot to improve my blog. For example, in this session I have designed categories on top of the site for readers to navigate easily, linked my blog to other platforms (Twitter, Facebook) so people can have a ‚Äėmedia convergence‚Äô experience (Jenkins 2006) and included different types of media (pictures, videos, inforgraphics, memes) for users to really engaged in a media space when interacting with my blog.

To conclude, nine weeks of blogging in BCM240: Media, audience and place this semester have been a great experience for me so far. I have been able to develop my skills in research blogging, understand how to engage with readers effectively, gain knowledge about constructively address problems and above all, use my blog as a tool to practice what I have learned in the subject. This will undoubtedly be a memorable and useful experience in my media journey here in UOW, as well as in my future career.

References:

Bruns, Axel 2006, Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production. In Sudweeks, Fay and Hrachovec, Herbert and Ess, Charles, Eds. Proceedings Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology 2006, pages pp. 275-284, Tartu, Estonia.

Connell, Adam 2016, How to boost engagement on your blog (so it doesn’t look like a ghost town), Blogging Wizard, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.bloggingwizard.com/reader-engagement/&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry 2006, Welcome to the convergence culture, The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed October 1st 2016, <http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html&gt;.

Williams, Scott, Communicating constructively, Wright State University, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/communicating.htm&gt;.

Zenger, T 2014, Start with a theory, not a strategy, Harvard Business Review, viewed September 30th 2016, <https://hbr.org/2014/06/start-with-a-theory-not-a-strategy&gt;.

Zivkovic, Bora 2011, What is: Research Blogging, Scientific American, viewed September 2016, <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/network-central/what-is-researchblogging-org/&gt;.