Interview and Focus Group Trial!

I Like

The last blog for the semester is here and its all about, yep you guessed it, research! In preparation for our next assignment, a research paper on an aspect of the media. Todays blog will be a discussion on a trial interview, shall we say, for the real deal. My last blog was a basic literature review that will help myself and my group gain an understanding of the research question we will be asking. Our research question thus far is based around media bias, and how different news corporations report differently on the same event. The interview questions trialed today were a good indication of how we need to tweak and re work the question for the real focus group. It was however great practice for what we will be actually doing within the focus groups.

Where do you source your news? TV was the most popular, followed closely with the Internet. However the girls in my group said they don’t particularly plan to sought news from the Internet, it is almost an unconscious experience. Now that social media is such a prominent feature of news telling, stories are so quick to be reported. The type of news most mentioned were that published on Facebook pages or Twitter feeds.

Between abc, channel 7, and triple J radio, what news medium to you believe is the most accurate? Abc was a popular choice due to the fact that participants found it more accurate, believable and free of commercialisation. Abc in most opinions was the most objective, solely concerned with telling the news rather than telling a good story.

What source of news do you believe reaches audiences the fastest? Again social media was definitely the most discussed forum. We discussed the Kenya University shooting that was all over the news a few weeks ago and how each person found out about it first. Social media was definitely the top answer and others said online articles in general.

When asked if they needed to visit another news source in order to clarify the information, most said no as they followed credible sources on Facebook, or had a credible website as their computer home page.

Do you think this has an impact on accuracy or bias? Again, the girls in my group based their sourcing of news on what they believe to be credible sources. However they were both aware about that fact that many sources are bias, and that it can affect the truthfulness of the story.

Do you believe there is a relationship between age and the source most preferred by these users? Personally, I think definitely. Both of these girls are under 21, so social media played a major part in how they source their news. This can be seen as a reflection on age and the generation to which they grew up in. social media, and the online world in general is so significant, and plays a crucial part in everyday life. Thus it is expected that this form of news is where younger Australians find out about news stories first.

In the real focus group I think we need to specify the questions a little better, and narrow down the possible answers. For example we need to be clear about which news channels we are comparing, and then further compare with a news event.


Media bias? No, never!

Bias amongst media outlets is a very fore coming concern in today’s Journalism practices. It is evident that amongst different broadcasting avenues i.e, (channel 7 compared with abc) bias within these newsroom effect the way the news is presented and the credibility of a particular story. For the major group research paper we will be digging deeper into this issue and relating aspects of bias to a particular news story, and then comparing how to news forums have reported the issue.

Todays I will be conducted a short literature review/analysis of research paper on media bias by Utilise, a credible blogged aimed at providing articles for university students in particular. The article is simply called ‘Research paper on media bias.’


The purpose/context of the article is clear in the title; To analyse media bias in the reporting of the ‘difficult battle in planning the budget in relation to taxation and spending cuts’, as well as the appointment of jack lew as treasury secretary. The paper focuses on the differences in which the same issue is presented between the NBC news corp, CNN and Fox News a fairly left-wing bias compared with a right-wing preference and then an accurate or unbiased version. Essentially bias can influence the extremity of the situation and can even distort the message in such lengths that the real message is not even clear.

The article itself has no political motivation or other motivation for that matter for it to be bias, so it is a very objective research paper aimed for the utilization of University students. Thus the author and topic position is credible and objective. The piece is written by an unknown free-lance journalist as a part of a Utlist, a ‘trusted provider of academic content.’

Key values and assumptions: the main conclusions given were that bias has a very crucial impact on the way in which news is presented to us. In this article it was proven that the NBC news and Fox news were both very bias, with apposing views, when delivering the same story. CNN however was much more objective, accurate and justified and allowed for the audience to make up their own, well-informed opinion. It is thus important to look at who is telling the story, what background bias the media has, what sources are used to form the story and who is being quoted.

Proof/evidence: The evidence used to back up the information presented was well credited and referenced at the conclusion of the article. He quoted aspects of news coverage from all three organization when evaluating how biased was used (or not used) to portray the message. For example when making the point that the CNN was more unbiased in contrast to fox news and NBC, the author used an example from the coverage ‘The facts of the story are clearly stated such as in the follow passage: “The president will depart the White House at 10:50 AM, and his remarks in Norfolk will come a little after 1 PM,” (CNN).’ The full reference list was included at the end.


Audience: the audience is clearly aimed at students and/or anyone studying media bias or researching the media in journalism. It is a fair a justified article that clearly shares the facts about bias in media and references this with a specific news stor(ies)y.

Organisation: the layout of this particular article was very clear, with standout headings that categorise each topic/subject the author wanted to discuss. In saying that, although the heading allowed you to navigate the material that was relevant to the reader, information under each category was in one big block paragraph. This made it a little confronting and hard to read, and the main points within the subheading were not highlighted.

To conclude, a quote from the article sums up the main points mentioned extremely well. ‘NBC news will provide a very left of centre outlook on all of the nation’s political stories that it posts, Fox News will provide a very right of centre outlook on basically the same stories, and CNN will provide a very factual account that is a very neutral version of the actual event or issue.  It is extremely important for a reader to remember this when they are encountering a new event that is breaking in the political news world.’


Why be ethical? Who decides?

The role of ethics is an extremely important, ‘unwritten rule’, that every single individual, group, organisation and business abides by. There is no single, clear-cut set of rules or a list of ethics; ethics is subjective and is embedded in culture, beliefs and in individual moral compasses. Standards vary according to discipline, political system, legal system, religious and social systems, research content, setting/institution, and time in history. When it comes to media research it is extremely important to be completely ethical, as this research, if not ethical, may affect participants in a number of ways, and thus reflect badly on you and your professionalism.


“Ethics are widely agreed moral principles about what is wright and wrong” – (Tinker, Penny, 2013)

Ethics is extremely crucial when ones research involves human participants. According to tinker, Penny 2013, participants in any type of research where legal rights and ownership are concerned, they must provide informed consent.

This all seems pretty straightforward and obvious to me, and would to many others with any sort of moral/ethical compass, however I wanted to explore some examples where particular media research was breached of any ethical consideration.

An unethical example of a research paper that was undertaken, which I will be using as a case study in this blog titled ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’. This experiment undertaken by Cornell and the University of san Francisco (affiliates of Facebook) and was deemed unethical by the use of manipulation of users’ emotions. The research consisted of exposing random users to only negative posts, by which they evaluated whether or not this made a difference by what they then posted on Facebook. Hundreds of thousands of users of Facebook were not only used in this social experiment by which they were not informed about, but they were also made to feel sad and/or other manipulation of emotions. According to Weerakody (2008) , under the category of ‘honesty and integrity’, this research experiment is deemed completely unethical as it caused ‘harm, embarrassment and pain.’

For any type of human experimentation it is of a legal right to ask for consent. Facebook, and Cornell however argued that by clicking ‘I agree’ when signing up to a Facebook account, that they had been informed that their content could be used for research. This in itself it unethical, and nowhere has been made clear that users may be purposely physiologically affected. So thus, while this research may be legal, it is definitely not ethical in my eyes, and in the eyes of many others.


Facebook also argued, that due to it having no government funding, a private company per say, the research did not have to obey by the ‘common rule’, thus the information gathered was used for ‘discussion purposes only’, and used to evaluate ones experience with Facebook.

Ethics is very individualized according to Weerakoday. Different people will have different meanings and expectations as to what is right and what is wrong, thus it is not often that legal action can be taken over the debate of ethics. In relation to this case study, Facebook had a clear and respected argument as to why they viewed it as right. Nevertheless, this research was frowned upon by many critics, and thus reputation of the scholars involved was degraded.

Legal? Yes. But ethical? Who decides?

Let’s Talk Healthy Sexual Development – Analysing Media Research Part 1

Welcome back to my fun-filled (and research filled) blog of BCM210!!! Today I will be analysing a research paper by Alan McKee, Anthony Walsh and Anne-Frances Watson called …


Purpose/context: This particular research paper uses qualitative measures to address the issues of vulgarity (the language of ordinary people) and comedy in relation to the way it portrays and educated young mean about healthy sex practices. The paper looks at and identifies the gap between young and women and their access to the media and thus information about healthy sexual

Author + topic and position: One of the main authors, Alan Mckee is a professional in entertainment and healthy sexual development, and as a result his expertise is reflected in the research article with a fairly objective view shown throughout. Anthony Walsh is a Manager in Regional Services and Projects, Family Planning Queensland. (hense the use of the case-study organised by FPQ) and thirdly Anne-Frances Watson is a Lecturer in Communication, Queensland University of Technology.

The paper is primarily about the way in which young men are NOT as exposed to enough information about healthy sex in comparison to young women. As result of this the text leans slightly bias towards the promotion (Blokes Talking) as a positive form of education. As a whole however, the text is objective in its findings, and accurately portrays information, citing a number of sources.

Organisation: the layout of this article was very clear and succinct, categorising chunks of information into sections/headings such as ‘using comedy’ and embracing vulgarity.’ The information was communicated in a very formal, first person style, which made it very easy to follow and to read.

Audience: the overall audience of this piece may be other health researches, university students (like myself), parents, teachers or even the media. I think the authors were expecting a reaction by the audience in which they can take action and become more aware of these serious health risks/factors. I think the main aim of the text is to spread awareness about the particular issue and promote an equal distribution of heath education.

Proof/evidence: The research method they used to conduct and put together this paper was through the use of focus group discussions. 89 young people from five different Brisbane schools were split into groups and asked a series of questions relating to their knowledge of safe sexual health practices and whether or not particular vulgar comedies (such as family guy, or south park), educated them on any issued related to sex. Most just found the shows as funny or ‘making fun of sex.’ The article includes a number of sources, both for and against the idea of comedy educating young men, which added an element of legitimacy and depth to the research paper; however most of the sources were out-dated and not as relevant to current times.


Key values and assumptions that the authors portray is that vulgar comedy, not matter how frowned-upon and disputed it may be, offers an avenue for education that becomes embedded in young boy minds. The main example they used in the paper was the ‘Blokes Talking’ project which “raises important issues for any attempt to communicate sexual health information to young people – and indeed, for health communication more generally.” The comments by these comedians/educators illustrate a vulgar tone however by also speaking to young men in ‘lay’ language about sexual health issues that are important to educators, and important to young men.

Overall I feel as thought the text excellently portrayed the need for more education in young boys, and the fact that this type of comedic/vulgar sexual health promotion can be a positive avenue of learning.

Below I will list a few links to similar articles that explore the gender-specific education barrier amongst young people so you can make a comparison of the type of research done in each article.

Researching Research

Woohoo! First blog back since semester 1 last year! In this post I will be talking about what media research is and what aspects of the media I would love to eventually research! Research is an exceptionally broad topic, and often difficult to academically define, however it is an essential skill in everyday life. Any body can research. Anybody can ‘Google’ a word they don’t know the meaning to, or the reason why you have a tooth ache, or whether your favourite band is playing in Sydney this year or not. However Academic and scholarly research is slightly different than hunting down where Kim Kardashian gets her makeup done (sorry gals.) According to Berger (2014), research means “to search for, to find.” Scholarly research is a lot more systematic and professional than everyday research and requires critical thinking, a lot of time and direction. It is much more objective and requires a more crucial element of truthfulness according to Mckutcheon. The research process as described by Mckutcheon includes seven steps: Observation, initial data gathering, theory/hypothesis formulation, further data gathering, qualitative, Quantitative and Deduction. Qualitative research covers a more broad and informative research techniques including Journal articles, literary reviews, experimentation, surveys, interviews and much more, in order to grasp a large and more valuable amount of content. Quantitative. Research refers to numbers and statistics and is quite a bit more limited than Qualitative research. Untitled All research begins with a vast capacity to read. Without reading not only will you not be able to come up with ideas and new ways of thinking but you simply won’t be able to acquire knowledge, facts, and supporting documents that will strengthen your researching. Below is a model illustrated by the Missisipi College explaining the research process. Untitled.pngm Google (as we all are surely aware) is an exceptional platform in which we can access articles, blogs, journals and of course social media. Social Media is HUGE aspect of everyday research, life, communication, news, information and socialising (duh! SOCIAL media.) Thus, speaking very broadly (and I will probably refine or even change my course of thought later o in the semester), I am choosing Social media as an aspect of the media in which I will research more thoroughly. I’m going to read extensively, find statistics, ask critical questions and conduct surveys. WHY is social media important? HOW does social media interfere with the way you find things out, meet up with people, do your homework or change your perspective on things? WHAT is your preferred social media platform and WHY? Social media sites such Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Youtube and Pintrest have millions of active users who acquire information immediately- faster now than conventional media (ie, Newspapers, TV etc.) It is no wonder that social media is becoming a primary avenue for news. I am yet to decide what angle I will explore within social media, but nonetheless I will research the implications and benefits behind this world-wide news, informational and social platform! So watch this space 🙂