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;.

 

Collaborative research: pros and cons.

In Week 2 of BCM240, each of us had to conduct an interview about TV memories and blogged about the experience acquired from that conversation. For week 3, we had the chance to take a look at others’ blogs of the same topic and it was a great opportunity to look at the topic on different angles. In this post, I will explain my personal analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of this method.

First of all, the advantage of collaborative research is that I was able to reinforce my own understandings. After reading several posts from my peers, I realized that there were lots of similarities in our interviews. For example, according to Sophie‘s interviewee, in her time there were only two channels and the TV only broadcasted from 6am to midnight, which was exactly the same as what I got from my conversation as SBS and ABC were the only two TV stations available at the time. I also found people that shared the same thoughts with me about the topic such as Charlotte that I agree with her about the experience of people from previous generations maybe equivalent with that of young people with smart devices as they are all main recreational devices at their prime. Moreover, this method is a great way to approach different points of view. ‘Family gathering’ was a common theme in our posts but the way it was formed were different in various cases. My interviewee said that he simply felt that based on the fact that he used to watch cartoons with his brother but Claudia‘s interviewee might obtained that from the horror movies memories with his mother. This interesting point relates to the idea that research should based on not only quantitative data but also ethnographic study as learners can understand the importance of diversity in every aspect (Banerjee 2015). In this way, I feel more confident as I am going the right way but I  am also be able to reinforce or review the existing opinions to make them more comprehensive.

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Source: freshwallpapers.net

 

On the other hand, reading other blogs may also result in incomprehensive research. For example, when I came up with the fact that TV in old time only had two channels from Sophie‘s blog post, I might take it for granted that that was the only case (Ellison and Wu, 2008). Therefore, I might ignored that details in other blogs which can be different such as Charlotte‘s interviewee stated that although there were actually limited choices, the number of channels could reach seven. The interviewees are people who are only older than us so they could be grandparents, parents or siblings who vary greatly in ages. Therefore, difference in generation could result in such variations mentioned above. The same situation can happen when I considered TV was really special at the time due to my conversation and other posts that shared the same idea so I would not challenge that opinion. According to Charlotte, she was also surprised that TV was ‘a very normal and common part’ of her mom’s life as a child. As stated previously, generation difference or economy condition could be possible reasons for these difference. If I had just stuck with the existing idea, I would have skipped this interesting detail and the chance to research more deeply. Once again, the necessity of ethnography or anthropology emerges.

To conclude, collaborative research allows me to reinforce as well as to approach different points of views. However, it is possible that I would miss the opportunity to challenge my own opinion when coming up with similar ideas. Therefore, to utilize this method, it is essential to spend much effort and analyze other resources rationally. It also indicates that various approaches ranging from qualitative to ethnographic study should be collaborated for a better research process.

Reference:

Banerjee, R K 2015, Will collaborative learning benefit your students ? A teacher’s perspective, Brighthubeducation, viewed 12th August 2016, <http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/70619-benefits-and-drawbacks-to-collaborative-learning/&gt;

Ellison and Wu, 2008, To blog or not to blog, viewed 12th August 2016, <http://blogteam423.blogspot.com.au/p/secondary.html&gt;