Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Interviewing the interviewer

May 25, 2010

From Weerakkody’s chapter 10: Research Interviewing and indeed the first reading as covered by alyson and Lauren i found myself wondering how many pages were left! At the same time i was admonishing the increasingly required effort on my assignment whilst thinking to myself: is it that hard to be nice when interviewing someone? I guess depending on who you are interviewing thats either an easy question or a tough one…

Weerakkody’s chapter deals with the different kinds of interviews, including structured, semi-structured and unstructured. All of these pretty much depend on how much preperation you did for the interview, and how far outside the guidelines you are willing to stray. For instance, taking a mass survey/interviews would require structured interviews so as to collate/compare the data returned from people’s responses. Semi structured has room for this as well, however becomes less credible as many variables can arise.

Essentially it was about establishing a rapport with your subject, and how far cultural differences can interfere with this. It explained how it might be easy to “break the ice” first, which seems like common sense to me, and also not to ask close-ended questions (also, quite common sense). heres an interview with evander holyfield after his upset win over mike tyson:

I feel sorry for the interviewer here he seems to be pushing hard for a question that couldn’t possibly be answered by religion, haha although if someone is determined, the are going to say it.

Essentially the articles prepared us for our assignments however after asking (and for the majority of us, getting) for a detailed diary of some their most intimate media habits… i think an interview will sit just fine.

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Open braket. Close braket.

May 25, 2010

I found this weeks readings a bit all over the place. The majority of first reading focused on the Quantitative methodology of collecting research. This was my personal downfall in the first paper. Not that it necessarily effected my overall mark, but it mean’t that I didn’t get an overall understand of the reasons behind my subjects media use, rather just their uses on a daily basis. So the first reading was lot on me seeing as the second half of the reading was very simple “don’t ask closed end questions if you want a real tangible response” etc etc. It all seems pretty simple.

However, we then got to the juicy stuff! 🙂 The focused outlined in Liamputtong’s writings shows us that we need to make sure that there is a clear orientation of our writing, that we’re writing for a purpose and one that can be clearly explained in qualitative research. And that is what we’re left with, explaining our points clearly. Easy right?

Not so, I agree with Lauren, this could be a really cathartic experience for us in getting the informations we’ve stored and rattled around out of heads and onto paper in, hopefully, eloquently written research report.

Here’s for hoping our subjects don’t kick up a fuss 🙂 I know mine is wearing thin with my probing questions.

Writing towards my own health

May 25, 2010

To be honest I found these readings to be somewhat boring yet at the same time they managed to sufficiently stress me out about this final paper (I guess it is time to put my research and interview down on paper so that maybe someday it will have a lasting impact on the world.) Haha. Well I guess we may not be the famously published writers that will improve public health and welfare through our writings as Liamputtong suggests, but I do appreciate the idea that writing helps us grow. Although it may not impact public health, digesting all the information we have covered this semester into one concise report will definitely help my health. Hopefully the ideas will stop being a jumbled mess all mixed up in my head and rather organize themselves into something that makes sense when put down on paper.

It is also my hope that we will all be able to learn a little about ourselves, and the world around us via this assignment. Liamputtong suggests that writing on what we researched expands our life experiences, in the end teaching us more than we would have learned simply in a classroom. This I wholeheartedly agree with. Although teachers can assign as many readings as they like and lecture for two hours on a topic, I for one, find that I learn the most when I have to apply what has been taught to my own works. Taking the general concepts of the course such as domestication, combining it with research, and producing a work that looks at the big picture impact on society is no easy task. Although finding the big picture of these topics is rather daunting to me currently, I look forward to discovering what they may be.

Throughout the course we have many topics, which I have found to be extremely relevant to my life and generation. I guess in the end, I will come to understand what the impacts of our current media usage on the future of our society, and how this will shape the world. Although I do not know the answers yet, hopefully (before next week!) they will present themselves with the upmost clarity. After all, Liamputtong suggests that writing about my research should cure me of my discouragement and boredom, right? I guess writing this blog I have already been cured of my boredom over the readings, hopefully if I continue on this path I will not face too much discouragement trying to discover the bigger pictures of media, culture and everyday life.

The ways of the Researcher

May 24, 2010

Who needs to stress about writing up the final research paper when we have the likes of Liamputtong’s advice to push us along in the right direction. In the reading “Writing a Qualitative Research Report”, we are provided the fundamental tools and ideas to make our qualitative research papers ‘good’.

Firstly we need to understand the nature of qualitative research writings. In a nut shell they need to be long. This is due to factors like:

–          Detailed descriptions

–          Freedom to use literary devices

–          The need to explain what and why

Next we are told that we need to distinguish who we are writing for, which can be a critical aspect that determines the ‘goodness’ of the report. Liamputong tells us that “qualitative writing needs to be constructed according to the needs and concerns of the audience”. By doing this your findings will be better understood if they are aimed at a particular audience type e.g. scientists v. publisher

Next we look to the structure of qualitative writing. There are 3 main types:

1)      Reports: they seem to be “more pragmatic” and focused on “policy issues” and as a result will have a greater impact on the groups described in the research

2)      Articles: are condensed forms of the research, normally broken up into subgroups of ideas presented, “discussing a specific issue in depth”

3)      Books and monographs: normally have minimal limitations and allow freedom in writing for the researcher. Structure will vary depending on characteristics of the writer themselves but content still needs to flow and vast descriptions need to be made

And to make our lives even easier we are then provided the Holy Grail: what makes for good writing; guys our job is done for us at this point. The key factors include:

–          Writing needs to be as “readable” as possible and “straightforward and understandable” – ok so this is an obvious

–          It should be “cogent, conceptually coherent, and comprehensive” – ok another obvious one, so this Holy Grail is looking more like a chocolate bar

–          Aesthetics are important e.g. catchy titles, grammatically correct, citations to match references, etc – wow I could have told you that as well

Ok so my high spirits when I began this article thought that I’d find the perfect answers to make my writing for this final assessment perfect, but inevitably, just like everything, there are no easy answers, just a little help to sway you in the right direction…thank you Liamputong. Good luck everyone for the research paper, if I go by the quality of your blogs I’m sure you all will kill it.

Give me a sign

May 19, 2010

A key point I that I felt was illustrated was that we can make explicit the meaning we want to create through the use of binaries.  For example if someone said the picture a sandwich to me today I would automatically think of the chicken schnitzel sandwich I had as a late night snack last night.  If this person were trying to tell me a sandwich was a healthy choice, in the context of my reality it wouldn’t work –I wouldn’t make the connection.  However if they were to say, “you could eat a greasy Big Mac, on the other hand you could have a sandwich” by explaining what they are not talking about I gain an understanding of what they are trying to convey.

The problem with Saussure’s ideas on semitoics and signs is that he doesn’t take into account that the signified (concerpt being evoked by the signifier) is also a signifier in itself.  If you say cats I think

But then when you think about it that image of a cat can change from person to person and therefore depending on the image evokes a different concept.

I felt that the Lury reading further explored Peirce.

“something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. It addresses somebody, that is, creates in the mind of that person an equivalent sign, or perhaps a more developed sign.”

When doing some further reading on Peirce his ideas involving the connection between a sign, the object and interpretant follow very closely to Saussure it still leaves room for interpretation and context.

I guess essentially signs/logos/language is all about the attempt to control meaning and therefore a power struggle between those conveying a message and those receiving.

A sign of the meaning

May 18, 2010

Shirato & Yell’s reading, signs and meaning, was one that i thoroughly enjoyed due to the simple yet paradoxical nature of their points. The reading explores what and how we take meaning from the signs (images, ads, actual signs, situations) around us.

I personally believe, as the authors have pointed out, that it really is all about context. A stop sign tghat we see on the street carries the meaning that we associate with it on the street. For instance, if we were to see that exact sign say… on the toilet, it carry a similiar meaning but be entirely different, due to the context. one of the definitions that the reading points out is:

“contexts are never identical for, or completely shared by, particpants.”

So every situation we see around us carries seemingly similar meaning, yet differs in an almost infinite number of possibilities. The authors of the article discuss Saussure, which this video covers quite well:

I think to simply this morning and recognise, like the example used in the piece (the ‘violence’ example) that words can take entirely different meanings. Tony Abbot’s gaffe about his remarks in ‘heated or robust discussion’ have stirred the media and in reality voters to question the validity of all of his responses. the words he used, would they be used in a different context, would take on the meaning of someone merely admitting a mistake. however, as the authors concluded:

  1. words do not function as labels that can be unproblematically attached to things or acts or experiences;

What we ordinarily define as a ‘sign’ is simply a static form of communication. all communicating, whether be by language, body language, viral, signs, etc etc etc etc, carries a unique set of meanings that we associate to each part of the equation. The responder communicates by sending data (hand signals, words, facial expressions) and the respondee interprets this data against the set of meanings normally associated with it. It all sounds very digital and unhuman but seems the easiest way of metaphorically describing the communication between two humans (ironic hey). to end i’ll leave you guys with a little abstract video about semiotics.

*tip: read into the meaning whatever you want





Is it a boy or a girl? … I think it’s a little early to start imposing roles on it, don’t you?

May 18, 2010

Until this week’s reading “Signs and Meanings” I have never really sat down to contemplate how meaning is produced by words, in my head it just was, that is a ‘dog’ is a dog. But when you put this term into different contexts you find yourself extracting a number of meanings from this word, this sign. A dog can be an animal we all know and love (except for those weird looking balding, miniature dogs people like Paris Hilton keep in their handbags, I don’t really care for those things) or if we shake up the context in which we use the term ‘dog’ we can change it to symbolize a derogatory term for a female, or use it to describe a friend who has abandoned you. Already we have found three different meanings for the one word so where do we go from here.

I tend to agree that we need to move away from the idealistic take that Saussure uses (even though many points he raises are true in that “reality, the world, and material conditions are not given, but rather are produced as meaningful through signs”, to agree more with the Marxist take of Volosinov where he advocates that there is “no such thing as an autonomous language system”. The three summarized propositions taken from Volosinov were:

  1. Signs are adaptable and changeable (e.g. the different meanings of the term ‘dog’)
  2. Words have a history of meanings (e.g. using ‘dog’ in a derogatory sense established later in history as part of colloquial language)
  3. The meanings created by signifiers are dependent on context (the meaning we take from the signifier ‘dog’ changes upon the way and situation it is used for)

The 3rd proposition is most important because the context of a symbol can have a powerful impact on individuals in their everyday life and the idea of “politicising meaning” as a result of context can often become detrimental for individuals associated with these symbols. E.g. the idea that the word ‘woman’ is associated with “emotionality, lack of reason, unprofessionalism…” These meanings are not extracted by all of society but there is a large sector that still associates these ideas with the word ‘woman’ and this meaning can affect women on a number of levels while trying to sustain a more worthwhile image within society.

So, inevitably, people are going to take their own meaning from the words (symbols) that are produced in everyday life; my advice is…try to be as careful as you can when raising an argument or point of view because the number of meanings read into what you say can sometimes get you into a lot of trouble..Sometimes, however, the meaning you take is right. Here’s a clip of George. W. Bush bloopers.

experience is the new reality

May 10, 2010

Hey guys,

After reading Leslie Haddon’s piece, Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape, i breathed what i found to be, a rationalist breath of fresh air. Her article primarily deals with viewing the media not so much as an entirely new entity but rather as a continuity of human use and experience. Of course its a narrow view to (and as Leslie puts it, ‘conservative’) simply judge every new media as simply ‘a fad re-worked’, however many gains in researching the ‘evolving communications landscape’ can be made by simply comparing them to the past.

Leslie looked at what she defined as our ‘media repertoire’, which in her study focused on mobile phones, emails and the telephone. She argues that in some ways this ‘new media’ revolution is simply a greater expansion upon the technologies that were current 40-50 years ago. And by simply assuming a conservative stance she therefore argues that patterns emerge from use, such as young male teens playing early computer games become most likely to adopt new technologies such as peer-to-peer playing experiences.

However overall what Leslie touches on, and what i would like to focus on, is the repertoire of media that we have present at our fingers. I would argue personally that this repertoire is quite paradoxically expanding and contracting – expanding our choice whilst contracting our devices (Mr. iphone everything anyone?) This in turn relates heavily to last weeks topic of convergance, however in Leslie’s article she chooses not to “discuss the social consequences” but rather set out the framework through which we can establish a valid set of data.

I’d like to show you guys this video entitled “prosumer: experience is the new reality” which offers massive food for thought. It has become quite controversial (as you will probably see) because it is essentially forecasting the future – something most people i believe, end up saying we will have flying cars in 2 years when it really takes 40/none at all. So after about halfway in the vid i tend to disagree and it is german so some context is that broadband internet is free there and second life is massive.So, enjoy!

so yeh, pretty massive guesses taken there but an interesting opinion into just how far our new media repertoire can take us.

Someday im gonna be famous…

May 10, 2010

The “Media Audience”… who are they? Where are they hiding out? What are they doing with their time?

Once again we are hearing Nick Couldry’s thoughts, this time on the topic of the media audience. He delves into the concepts of the “diffused audience”, “media culture” and the “extended audience”.

The “diffused audience” is a modern concept that observes the blurred line between the audience and the performer; i.e. people “are simultaneously watchers and being watched”. What better example can we see than that of Big Brother in which television watchers become the ones being watched. This example is of modern audience narcissism at its best, where ordinary people feel they are interesting/exciting/shocking enough to become media spectacles.

This idea of narcissism also extends to the concept of “media culture” in which new media technologies has allowed us, as individuals, to become the producers and broadcast our own lives out into the public domain as Couldrey describes it as the “process of self-commodification as self-expression”. In a sense new media audiences have generally lost their inhibitions for the desire to become the performer; inevitably everyone wants, and essentially feel they deserve, their fifteen minutes of fame. To back up this idea we can look at the YouTube phenomenon where any individual, young, old, pretty, unfortunate looking… have the potential to be famous and no matter what, become the performer whilst also being a part of the audience. But yet, even with this ability to become the performer we, as audiences, are still in awe of media personalities, why else would media-set pilgrimages occur in order to see a set of something we see every day in our own living rooms. Even with these technological changes there is still this distance that exists between us and the performer, hence the popularity of magazine media commenting on celebrities.

This final concept of the “extended audience” is the one in which I agree with the most. The “diffused audience” fails to recognize the power of media institution. I argue with Couldrey in that although we, as an audience, have increased power (as a result of new media technologies, e.g. TV. programming to our own schedule, web blogs, etc) we still live in a media saturated world where, often subconsciously, we are consuming media. Ads on the side of buses, pop-up advertisement while surfing the net, televisions blaring in shopping centres and shop windows…the list goes on. So we come back to the “extended audience” which is a mix of the “diffused audience” whilst still recognizing the power relationship between media institutions and the audience.

I’ll leave you with some of the lyrics to the Brad Paisley song clebrity.

Someday I’m gonna be famous
Do I have talent well no
These days you don’t really need it
Thanks to reality shows
Can’t wait to date a supermodel
Can’t wait to sue my dad
Can’t wait to wreck a Ferrari
On my way to Rehab

Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
You can act just like a fool
And people think you’re cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can throw a major fit
When my latte isn’t just how I like it
They say I’ve gone insane
I’ll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with….
Being a Celebrity

Playing with the List

May 6, 2010

First of all, sorry that this is so late and that i wasn’t in the tute, i’ve been attacked by a vicious flu and am bed bound for another day or two. But on the bounce up, i’m taking the opportunity to catch up on my overdue blog love.

I’ll be focusing mostly on “Programming Your Own Channel”. I hold a particular interest in networks, mobility and the use of space and time, and this reading really fascinated me. I have a confession. I am a TV addict. Not in a “spending my whole night watching crap”, but every night before bed, often when i’m doing work, or just conducting life admin, i will be watching something. Whether it be Brothers and Sisters, Bondi Rescue, The Zoo, Royal Pains or How I Met your Mother, I appreciate the power and creativity of good TV. Unlike previous couch potatoisms being thrown around, i do not feel guilt, remorse or shame for this constant TV watching. Rather i put it down to a well planned, scheduled day. I can watch what i want, when i want, how i want and why i want to. And i have playlists to thank for that.

According to Rizzo – I am able to defy time, i am empowered by choice and i can personalise my viewing experience. Therefore life is dandy! But I don’t think this would work for everyone. My personalisation revolves around evolving drama series, sit coms, and reality based events of little “newsworthiness”. However, if it was my brother subscribing to my media habits, then things would be different. He would know the Sports scores before he could watch it, his friends would’ve already told him what happened in underbelly, and the news stories would be broadcast across various media platforms that what is record would be irrelevant. However, what if my brother was much more reliant on mobile media devices rather than tv and playlists, his network preference differs, but suits him and his tastes.

No matter the changing network choices, the flow remains a constant issue, we are both being advertised to constantly. Even when i’m watching catch up episodes on the channel 10 website i’m exposed to advertising in breaks of my shows which i have no control over. Much like my brother browsing the web on his phone, there is a constant flow of advertising and strategic messages customised for our network choices.

Either way, these networks are well constructed and thought through processes of which there is a constant understanding and deliberate architecture of flow. So, Rizzo, am i really empowered?