A critical reflection on research for Media Audience Space.
Completing a double degree brings with it many challenges- Not just in learning in two different fields, but learning to learn two different ways. The switch from Law student to Media Student takes a different approach and switching the hats takes constant effort.
The approach for qualitative research work is vastly different from reading volumes and volumes of cases and legal documents. The dynamic between writing formally, and writing for a blog post is a balancing act that is difficultfor me to manage. The freedom to set your own tone with how you present your work is music to some students ears and I loved reading others post and blogs. But as far as creating something engaging- I am much more suited to standard essays. I like having a defined structure and knowing exactly what I am expected to bring forth.
In order to get this balance right, I researched some grammatical rules and found William Safire’s Fumblerules: a collection of self contracting rules for writing. They were written in such a humorous way I had to include one of them in my post – “avoid clichés like the plague; They’re old hat”.
In terms of the BCM240 Digital story telling project- my options about which form to present it in were limited- in terms of time, and ability. I had many ideas for a visual story telling aspect, but demands on my time, and my poor video editing skills meant this was simply not viable. So a blog post was essential.
Writing for the intended audience, while making it digital story telling project accessible to everybody was also a challenge that was a balancing act. Taking cues from Neidlinger, I decided to write for a specific person in mind- Kate Bowles.
There is art to being able to write an ethnographic study, from the perspective of the person who is giving you the information. The topic of the post was Media in a spatial context- and in that sense I chose how we use media in the toilet. This immediately overcome any concerns in making the project spatial. However it did present its own hurdles- namely making the project a story, and telling this story from someone else’s perspective.
To do this I had to change my initial standpoint. My collaborator had to become my muse. He would tell me his story, I would do some research on that, then come back to him to find a new hole in the fence as it were, and push forward.
The research aspect was simple enough- a mix of Internet searches, a look through academic journals. I created an online poll, specifically to be viewed through a mobile on my blog. There was difficulty in creating the poll so it looked good in both laptop and mobile view- but in the end I went with what looked better on mobile; after all that was my intended viewing device. The QR code was simple enough to set up, however getting people to use it was not as successful as I would have hoped- time deficiencies prevented me from refining this.
The main issue faced with this task was my topic was actually socially a very sensitive or embarrassing topic. Sharing how we use the bathroom is almost taboo- despite us all doing it every day. This roadblock caused me a lot of worry.
How can I tell an ethnographic digital story telling narrative if I can’t get my collaborators to talk? I needed to think outside the box. I decided to encourage some work mates to ask there partners if and how they used their phone in the bathroom, perhaps they would be more willing to share their experiences. In the end I realised that the research could go in a way that I had originally missed- it wasn’t in what my collaborators were saying that was important, it was what they were not saying.
In this sense I feel I had a break through and was able to create a story and get to where I wanted it to go.
The final step was to re-read my previous feedback, adjust accordingly. (such as making sure the text was not centered giving it a ‘christmas tree’ effect. Then finally view my peers post before pressing publish. I wish that I had done this sooner. By seeing what worked, and what didn’t work with fellow students posts, I was able to learn from their mistakes, and pick up their wins- the BCM240 Google spread sheet was a fantastic resource that I have underutilized until now. It the end it really helped shape and refine my own work.
Janine Warner 2005, Writing a Good Blog from Creating Family Websites for Dummies, For Dummies, viewed 28th October, http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/writing-a-good-blog.html
Neidlinger, J 2014a, How to Write for Your Intended Audience, CoSchedule Blog, viewed 28th October 2015, http://coschedule.com/blog/intended-audience/.