Test Survey

This week’s blog post is about a phone interview I conducted with a BCM210 student. I had them answer a series of questions from a survey my group and I are creating for the BCM210 subject. Our group has come up with 10 different questions regarding the issue of piracy. The focus question that we have decided to study for this assessment is “What are people’s perceptions of downloading?”

The questions that I asked the BCM210 student were:

Question 1: Are you aware some people illegally download content?

  • Yes
  • No

Question 2: Do you think the chances of someone being caught illegally downloading content are:

  • Very Likely
  • Likely
  • Neither Likely or Unlikely
  • Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely

Question 3: Are you aware that there are consequences for illegally downloading content?

  • Yes
  • No

Question 4: To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding why people illegally download content: (This will be a ranked answer with the options being: strongly agree, agree, neither agree or disagree, disagree, strongly disagree)

  • Illegally downloading content is convenient because it is easy
  • Illegally downloading content is convenient because content can be accessed anywhere
  • Illegally downloading content is convenient because downloaded content can be re-used endlessly
  • Illegally downloading content is attractive because there is no cost
  • Illegally downloading content gives people access to content not available/readily available in Australia

Question 5: Do you believe there are other reasons why people download? Explain why:

Question 6: Do you think anti-downloading advertisements reduce illegal downloading?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don’t know

Question 7: Are you:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Other

Question 8: How old are you? Please write your age on the line provided:

Question 9: Do you think a person’s age group affects their downloading habits? Please explain your answer:

Question 10: For the purpose of this survey please provide your postcode for an area analysis:

The respondent was able to answer every question without difficulty, and after they had finished the survey, I had the opportunity to ask them for some feedback on the questions asked. The respondent thought that the first question was good for an introductory question but felt that the second question could have had a follow up question, something along the lines of “Do you think they could be prosecuted for illegally downloading content?” The respondent did ask what question 10 was designed to measure which I told them we were using it to see if there were different perceptions between people who lived in rural areas versus those in suburban city areas about illegally downloading content. They thought this was a clever question that explored something worth measuring.

Overall, the respondent thought our group’s survey was well thought out. Going forward, I don’t think there is much we would change as this glowing evaluation, I believe, demonstrated that we are moving in the right direction.

Image Link: http://www.apexhr.com.au/funded-courses/survey/

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Not THAT Kind of Deviant!

This week’s blog is not about those types of deviants I swear! This week, I’m going to look at a journal article by Robert Cluley which is called “Downloading Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism and Unauthorised File Sharing.” In this article, Cluley structures arguments about illegally downloading music and how those who do so are deviants according to the labelling theory of deviance. What qualifies him to do so? Cluley (2015) is a lecturer of the University of Nottingham with a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Arts, a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy under his belt, making him more than qualified to examine this area. This article is great because it utilises understandable language to communicate concepts and is organised into sections that follows an order which best unloads, links information, and forms basic understandings for others so they can perform further research, it is a great starting point of an article.

Cluley presents an article that is formal and objective. He doesn’t appear to favour one side over another and fairly presents the arguments he has included into his work. He constantly refers back to some scholars work over others like Becker, Giesler, and Fullerton and Punj. Fullerton and Punj’s works were used throughout Cluley’s (2013) article as a structure for his writing which you can see when he says that they recommended the labelling theory of deviance “for ‘illuminat[ing] the significance of moral ‘‘relativism’’ in understanding consumer misbehavior’ (pg. 266).” He (Cluley 2013) also refers to Fullerton and Punj in other instances, such as when he says they predicted it would be difficult to control consumer deviance (pp 263-264), and that strategies to make visible illegal downloading and punishing those who do, map onto concepts developed by Fullerton and Punj such as deterrence and education (pg. 268).

The findings of this article were very sound and informed, with no visible issues or problems with how he collected data. Cluley (2013) also backs up what he says very well, looking at how illegal downloaders (deviants) turn the argument that they are depriving artists of hard-earned money right back at the music industry and uses Condry’s analysis of how students justify their downloading habits to prove this (pp 269-270).

Overall, I would say that this article is effective in providing a background to the issue and is effective in communicating to its audience – the music industry or deviant downloaders perhaps – why methods to prevent file sharing are ineffective and at least one aspect as to why deviants download.

References:

Cluley, R 2013, “Downloading Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism and Unauthorised File Sharing”, Marketing Theory, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 263-274

Cluley, R 2015, Robert Cluley, LinkedIn, viewed 8 April 2015, https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/robert-cluley/65/538/a25

Colorado State University 2015, Analyzing a Written Text – Thomas, Colorado State University, viewed 8 April 2015, http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/co301aman/pop7b3.cfm

Jazzylemonade 2009, Albert Flasher, image, DeviantArt, viewed 9 April 2015, http://jazzylemonade.deviantart.com/art/Albert-Flasher-139576339

Are Research Ethics Important?

Why are research ethics important? Before we answer this, we should define what research is. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) et al (2007) defines research as “original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, understanding and insight (pg. 6).” However, research that involves humans cannot be undertaken unless the methods for data collection are approved by an ethics committee/council.

NHMRC et al, Tinkler, and Weerakkody (2007; 2013; 2008) all mention that research projects must be approved by such a committee before they can begin to perform research or have their project funded by institutions. If research projects that involve humans cannot be conducted until the ethical nature and methods of these projects are analysed, then surely ethics are very important in the research process. If research projects were not approved by ethics committees there would be no funding, and without funding, there would be no project.

If ethics are important then researchers have a duty to “…foster and maintain a research environment of intellectual honesty and integrity, and scholarly and scientific rigour (NHMRC et al 2007 pg. 10).” According to NHMRC et al (2007 pg. 10), researchers have a duty to be respectful of their participants and their rights. This means that subjects need to be shown courtesy and have their choices respected in the research process if they wish to remain anonymous, be censored in photographs, etc.

Tinkler (2013 pp. 197-198) uses Rolph, Johnson, and Smith’s study on the elderly and residential care as an example of ethical research, highlighting their methods which included: deleting photos of nurses and residents upon request after showing them their photos, censoring residents faces in photos upon request, avoiding taking photos of residents that could be deemed as undignified, and taking the time to explain to and gain consent from residents of frail mind or who had dementia. These methods can be considered ethical because the researchers treated their subjects and their decisions with respect, gained consent from their subjects to involve them in their project, and avoided presenting their subjects in undignified ways.

In deference to The Nuremberg Code, Weerakkody (2008) says “…research should avoid the possibility of causing unnecessary physical or psychological suffering, nor should it inflict pain, trauma, injury or harm to subjects (pg. 77).” To emphasise this, Weerakkody (2008) uses the example of an American university instructor who organised a simulation where he had an acquaintance take his class hostage with an unloaded gun so he could observe the behavior and actions of his students (pg. 78). The instructor did not receive approval for this experiment from his superiors or an ethics committee, it was also later revealed a regular student of that class brought a gun with them but happened to be absent that day (Weerakkody 2008 pg. 78). This experiment was human based yet received no approval from an ethics committee automatically making it an unethical experiment, but apart from this, the experiment not only had the propensity to cause psychological trauma, but also physical harm and even death.

Ethics are undoubtedly important in research and researchers need to follow the correct procedures to act ethically so they do not break laws or cause harm to those they are involving in their projects.

References:

National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Council, Universities Australia 2007, Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, pp. 01-41

Tinkler, P 2013, ‘Ethical Issues and Legalities’, Using Photographs in Social and Historical Research, SAGE Publications, London, pp. 195-208

Weerakkody, N 2008, ‘Research ethics in media and communication’, Research Methods for Media and Communications, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 73-91

CSU’s Method

When researching, it is helpful to have a framework which you can use to analyse texts like reports or journal articles. Such a frame work might include the Colorado State University guide to analysing a text. For the purpose of this blog post, I will be using this framework to analyse Penny Tinkler’s ‘Ethical Issues and Legalities’ chapter from her book Using Photographs in Social and Historical Research.

Purpose/context

The purpose of the chapter ‘Ethical Issues and Legalities’ is to explain about the ethical issues involved in taking, borrowing, and publishing photos. The content of this chapter is instructive and serves as a guide on how to act ethically in terms of taking, borrowing, and publishing photos.

Who is the author?

The author of the chapter, ‘Ethical Issues and Legalities’, is Penny Tinkler. Tinkler is an academic who disciplines in the areas of sociology and history. She has a history degree from the School of Social Sciences at Sussex University and has completed a PhD on the cultural construction of girlhood in the Department of Education Research at Lancaster University. She is also a part of the Department of Sociology at the University of Manchester.

Who is the audience for the work?

This chapter is intended for students and may be interesting for students of photography or journalism. This chapter aims to inform about the ethical choices students must make when taking, borrowing, or publishing photos in the future. The author does not expect any reaction from her audience but hopes they will learn something they can implement into their conduct.

Topic and position

Tinkler’s position is clear as she is trying to educate readers about ethical issues and legalities and the steps you can take to ensure you are acting ethically. The information is presented objectively and presents others viewpoints to provide information about the debates surrounding aspects of ethics.

Research/sources

There is no bibliography at the end of the chapter so we can assume that the sources used are listed in the back of the book. Tinkler does reference the work of others throughout her chapter and doesn’t seem to use one source more than others. Her sources are not that up to date but, considering that she is drawing on past examples to illustrate the correct way to act now, this is fine.

Proof/evidence

Tinkler paraphrases from other scholars and researchers to defend her ideas. Tinkler references the works of others to illustrate points. E.g. Tinkler references the research of Louisa Allen and her project involving sexual cultures in New Zealand schools to show why research participants are placed under the same ethical constraints that researchers are.

Organisation

This chapter was designed for clarity, making use of headings and subheadings for quick reference. Some sections are summarised into point forms for ease of access to knowledge. However, the chapter was dominated by large chunks of text making it heavy to read.

Style

Tinkler writes in a formal first person style that is mostly understandable. Some ideas were unclear but this did not occur often.

Draw a conclusion

Tinkler is concerned about the ethical issues and legalities around taking, borrowing, and publishing photos. She successfully shows ways and solutions for acting ethically and provides convincing evidence as to why we should do so.

References

NoCoast 2014, Checklist, Image, NoCoast, viewed 23 March 2015, http://nocoast.pro/ecommerce-conversion-checklist/

Tinkler, P 2013, ‘Ethical Issues and Legalities’, Using Photographs in Social and Historical Research, SAGE Publications, London, pp. 195-208

What is media research?

What is media research? This is a hard question to answer. Media scholars and researchers who specialise in this field conduct media research on many different topics from a large pool of areas. Some of these areas can be:

  • Literary fiction
  • Comics
  • Genres of music
  • Art film
  • Reality TV
  • Politics
  • Etc.

The topics that media scholars and researchers examine are also broad and can include topics such as: Katie Ellis’s study into how Australian broadband-based TV is moving to the internet and how people with disabilities are having trouble accessing it; and Alan McKee, Anthony Walsh, and Anne-Frances Watson’s research into how young men can be informed about healthy sexual development through the use of vulgar comedy. The vast difference between the topics mentioned above indicate that media research can be about nearly anything.

Arthur Berger (Berger 2014) looks at what research is in his book Media and Communication Research Methods: An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches and says that media and communication research can be split into either ‘qualitative’ or ‘quantitative’ research (pg. 26). Berger (2014) compares both research types and says qualitative research is theoretical which looks at and interprets the aesthetics of media texts which then leads to an evaluation (pg. 27). Berger (2014) says quantitative research is more about collecting data that can be counted and measured, it is more statistical, and it leads to the formation of a theory or hypothesis (pp. 26-27).

There are criticism that come with each method. Qualitative researchers are “…accused of ‘reading into’ texts things that are not there…” (Berger 2014, pg. 26) and that some opinions or interpretations can be “…excessive or even idiosyncratic” (pg. 27). Quantitative researchers are criticised for “…being too narrow, basing their research on what they can count, measure, and observe and neglecting other matters” (Berger 2014, pg. 26).

Katie Ellis’s Television’s Transition to the Internet: Disability Accessibility and Broadband-Based TV in Australia and Alan McKee, Anthony Walsh, and Anne-Frances Watson’s Using Digitally Distributed Vulgar Comedy to Reach Young Men with Information about Healthy Sexual Development are both hybrid examples of qualitative and quantitative research. These types of reports are more effective because they take their data and interpret it or make interpretations and use data to back up their positions.

For example, Ellis (2014) looks at how television accessibility is covered by the Broadcasting Services Act and the Disability Discrimination Act which says “…people with disability must have access to goods and services unless provision of this access causes an unjustifiable hardship” (pg. 56). Ellis looks at how TV services are applying for exemptions for providing captioning to those who are disabled and backs this up with a list of services and channels that are exempt from doing so. This research is more qualitative but uses some quantitative research to make it stronger.

McKee et al in comparison are more quantitative than qualitative. Mckee’s et al (2014) “…conducted 20 focus groups with 89 young people between the ages of fourteen and sixteen from five Brisbane schools…” (pg. 129) to collect data. This data was then analysed to draw conclusions about how vulgar comedy can be used as a form of entertainment education to teach teenage boys about healthy sexual development. This is a strong text because the data they have allows them to draw informed conclusions that are more credible than just purely qualitative research articles.

Overall, media research can be split into two categories, qualitative, and quantitative. Each category has its pros and cons but together can create research that is informed, strong, and credible.

References:

Berger, A.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

Bonnybbx 2014, Mystic Library, image, Pixabay, viewed 13 March 2015, http://pixabay.com/p-425730/?no_redirect

Ellis, K 2014, ‘Television’s transition to the internet: disability accessibility and broadband-based TV in Australia’, Media international Australia, Vol. 153, No. November, pp. 53-63

McKee, A, Walsh, A & Watson, A.F. 2014, ‘Using digitally distributed vulgar comedy to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development’, Media International Australia, Vol. 153, No. November, pp. 128-137