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WEEK 4: Guest Speakers – Approaches to Research

Lisa French: cinema/television research, feminist approach.

Possible approaches to research:
– textual (looking closely at texts themselves)
– industrial
– creative
– theoretical
– cultural/historical

What is good research?
People are curious – they want to understand their world and create new understandings based on what they already know (creative – bring what you know and see what you can add). It is unwise to jump to conclusions from incomplete data. It is never possible to determine if you’ve found truth, so research is a risky business (you might not like what you’ve found). Be open, ask open questions, be open to what the research reveals.

Question: What’s the most interesting research you’ve done and what made it so interesting?

• What do you want to know?
• What are you most passionately engaged with/interested in?
• A topic doesn’t get you anywhere, i.e. abstract photography, but a question – what is the difference between …….. and ………? is a better option.
• Use a mind map? (What should I include? What should I leave out? Does this source help answer my question?)

• Finding problems to solve.
• Read the whole text if you understand the abstract.
• Find passion, find authors you find engaging, use that as a system of making things easier.

The academic research process:
– look at others’ work
– think about it (valuable input to body of knowledge)
– identify gaps in knowledge
– design a process to close the gap (clear, logical, sequential process of doing things in order to inform your knowledge – i.e. read a variety of things, then start engaging with methodology. What are my skills? What can I contribute?)

Learning journal: write down what you’ve read, what you thought about it, etc.

Building block concept:
– one layer at a time
– you build on what comes before
– mortar is important
– concrete facts make the best bricks
– experts make differing contributions in different ways at different times and of differing values… BUT… it’s about what you find possible to say, what you want to say, what you’ve found, etc.

Selecting an appropriate method:
– what does appropriate mean? i.e. don’t use a bulldozer to gather up leaves.
– if you end a question with just one question mark, is it enough of a question?!

How to make these choices?
– availability of expertise (if you hate stats, don’t use them!)
– time
– availability of sample
– human effort
– ethics

• Linear v. transmission model of communication
i.e. sender to medium to message to receiver
v.
summary of intrapersonal, interpersonal and group communication.

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