Conducting An Interview

My group and I have decided to look at the connection between the way the news is accessed and one’s overall understanding of current events. We have decided to investigate news relevance, and what is more prominent (sensationalised or political). I decided to trial out some of the questions we drafted this week on two people to compare the results and see what is in need of improvement.

Subject is Male, aged 13-17

What media platforms do you get your news from?

Computer, phone, iPad, television and word of mouth.

What news outlets do you use?

Sky Sports, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald.

Do you use social media to access news?

Yes, but not all the time.

Which social media sites do you use to access the news?

Twitter and Facebook

Do you feel well informed on current events?

Yes

What have you heard more about: the Sydney Siege or Zayn leaving One Direction?

Zayn leaving One Direction.

Subject is Female, aged 30-40

What media platforms do you get your news from?

Newspaper, phone, iPad, television and the radio.

What news outlets do you use?

Daily Telegraph, Wollondilly Advertiser and the Macarthur Chronicle.

Do you use social media to access news?

Yes.

Which social media site/s do you use to access the news?

Twitter.

Do you feel well informed on current events?

No, only because I don’t actively seek it.

What have you heard more about: the Sydney Siege or Zayn leaving One Direction?

Zayn leaving One Direction because they media is still talking about it.

After conducting these interviews I found that the question asked didn’t really leave much room for an open ended answer. They’re all pretty straightforward questions that don’t have too much leeway for an answer. This will be very helpful in the end for us, as we won’t have a stack load of different responses. The second individual I interviewed hinted at popular culture being more prevalent in everyday media. Although the siege in Sydney was a massive thing, the media is still talking about, three to four weeks later, the decision someone made to leave a band.

I think the topic we have chosen will be an interesting one to investigate. The research question might need a little more work and our questions need to be refined and clearer in order to get the most information we can out of people. My two trial runs have left me feeling positive about what we are trying to achieve. I am very interested to see if there is a direct link between the sites and platforms people access and how informed they are about current events.

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What’s On Your Mind?

There isn’t really a clear definition of what ethics ideally are, but the most commonly referred to one is “the widely agreed moral principles about what is right and wrong” (Tinkler, 2013). Ethics are widely-agreed moral principles about what is right and wrong, and what is proper and improper. Ethical research ensures the researcher is doing the right thing by the project, its participants and overall society. The definition of ethics can vary from person to person though as everyone has their own set of ideals and beliefs. This can get a bit tricky in the workplace so a lot of organisations have created an ethical guideline for it’s employees to follow when conducting research. Even though these guidelines are set in place, some companies continue to conduct unethical research.

More often than not, what you read on social media can influence you’re opinion. I know personally, that is the case for me. Only recently did I read others posts on Twitter and found myself agreeing with what they were saying, only to change my mind on the topic when I read the other side on Tumblr. The people on both of these social media sites were arguing the same topic, but I was being influenced by every post I read. According to a recent controversial study involving Facebook, emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Certain words (love, nice, nasty, hurt for example) were being filtered in and out of these individuals news feeds to see if this emotional contagion was occurring. The article, Facebook puts ethics of research by private companies in spotlight by David Hunter, aims to discuss and explore the findings of the controversial study that was held by Facebook. The Emotional Manipulation Study caused international outrage in regard to the consent of Facebook users and concerns have been raised as to how the research was carried out.

Facebook gave these 689,003 people no clear indication that they were being studied for this research task. I don’t know about you but I’m always getting pointless notifications, so it couldn’t have been too hard to send another one out, right? The conductors of this study insist that everything was consistent with the policies set by Facebook at the time, but that wasn’t the case. It has now come out that the clauses relating to informed consent were added four months after the experiment was conducted.

The study reminds me of Erica Scourti. Over a year she emailed herself her daily diary over a Gmail account and created a video of herself reading the suggested ad topics Google algorithms created for her relating to the content of her email.

Reference:

Tinkler, Penny 2013, ‘Ethical issues and legalities’, in Using photographs in social and historical research, SAGE, London, pp. 195-208

What Is Media Research?

Media research is more than it implies; simply researching the media and its resources. To put it simply, research means ‘to search for, to find’ and is, in the end, looking for information about something(Berger, 2014). Media research in an investigation and there are a wide variety of methods used to gather information. We conduct interviews, surveys and questionnaires to find out what our media consumers prefer. To be able to properly access all of this new found data, we have to utilise the research process. There are many steps to this process. The research process includes observation, initial data gathering, theory formulation, hypothesis formulation, further data gathering, data analysis and deduction. These steps allow information to be fully processed and simplifies the final decision making process.

As discussed in the lecture, research can be broken down into many different categories and sub-categories. Some of the most common ones we use are everyday, scholarly, qualitative and quantitative. Everyday research informs us of the personal decisions we make everyday. Although this is the most common and most used form of research, it is often flawed. This is due to most of the things we do being subjected to common sense. Our choices are often casual and selective. Scholarly research is ‘more systematic, objective, careful and concerned about the correctness and truthfulness’ (Berger, 2014) when compared to everyday research. Its main focus is on knowledge about the real world, as opposed to personal knowledge. This form of research can be further split into qualitative and quantitative research categories.

Qualitative research refers to facts which are found through surveys, sampling, questionnaires and data analysis. It includes popular culture case studies, philosophies of communication, analysis of literature and text, and criticisms of the media. Quantitative research is the ‘numbers, magnitude and measurements’ (Berger, 2014) that are associated with the media.

The act of researching is almost second nature to us, as almost everything involves a bit of research. No matter what we do, we are exposed to all kinds of hot topics and news-worthy stories. Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few, provides you with ‘trending topics’. By simply clicking/ looking through each individual category, we are exposing ourselves to media, and are ultimately researching by reading up on it. I am interested to see how trending topics on social media effects what we deem as important news. The area of the media I am choosing to research is popular culture and the continuous changes associated with it (popular trends/ trending topics feature on social media sites).

References

Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32