Upon receiving this assignment and joining a group, I have to admit that I did not know a whole a lot about the subject we were tackling. When we first began our topic, initially it was, ‘What impact does ownership have on ownership on press freedom in Australia?’ I discussed how I was going to approach this topic in my blog post ‘The Research Methodology – Worksheet 3′ (http://raws.adc.rmit.edu.au/~s3290645/blog2/?p=1023) due to my unfamiliarity with the idiosyncrasies of the subject as a whole. In the post I talk about how Hugh knew quite a lot the topic and how this assisted me in knowing what information to look for, as I didn’t really know what it was that needed to be researched.
I felt it was necessary to include this because it was my experiences early in class that helped me define my role in the group as the semester progressed. For the first few weeks the groups roles were undefined as we were still trying to figure out what issues in regards to media ownership we were concentrating on. In the initial developing stages of our topic we decided to change the first section of our scoping document to put a greater emphasis on the effect media concentration is having on Australia’s democracy as opposed to journalistic standards and regulations.
Once we had worked out what it was we were exactly doing, the role I was assigned was to investigate arguments for and against Media Concentration and decide if they are for or against democracy. Did either of these arguments contradict our predetermined definition of democracy?
As I grew more confident with my knowledge (as a result of extensive research) I felt more confident in my abilities to offer advice to other group members in regards to the issue they were focusing on and also felt more of a liberty to help out with the putting together of graphs, the presentation etc
I feel when it comes to displaying the progress in my research capabilities my first post on self-assessment is quite indicative as to how meticulous I became with my research
(Read post here: http://raws.adc.rmit.edu.au/~s3290645/blog2/?p=1029). In one of my earlier blog posts I discussed how I felt that with a large amount of my assignments in the past, I would work on them but never really get that invested so I didn’t take that much away from the work I put into the assignments. With this particular assignment I felt quite motivated for this not to be the case, as I wanted to be able to feel like I gained something out of the task, especially after dedicating a semesters worth of work to it. Therefore I made sure I was quite anal and thorough with not only how I approached my research but also how it was executed.
In regards to progress in observing my learning behaviours, I feel like this assignment was a perfect gauge of finding this out. Largely due to my relatively small knowledge on the subject I was researching. This small amount of knowledge meant that because I was basically beginning with a blank slate; it then gave me the ability to look back as to what knowledge I possessed when I first begun in comparison to now. When it comes to my learning behaviour, and sorry to get all cliché on you here, I think my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness.
Whenever I’m involved with something that I’m not to familiar with or if it’s a little bit foreign, my anxiety usually acts as a catalyst for me to put a great amount of effort into whatever it is. So that eventually, the anxiety is eventually replaced by comfort. This assignment was no different. When you’re working with other people, you do not have the luxury to be complacent with ‘doing it the night before’ or whatever other reason for putting off an assignment. Group work needs to be a collaborative process in which people are able to benefit off each other’s knowledge and insights. My initial limited knowledge and desire to be a decent group member is what motivated my learning.
As mentioned in the above section, I went into quite a lot of detail of my research strategies in one of my blog posts. Here they are again:
The strategy I utilised in my research initially consisted of my going straight to the bibliography of the case study we began our research with. I decided to start here because the information the thesis contained was obviously informed and backed up by information from other sources. This includes, essays, other thesis’, newspaper articles etc. Another benefit of doing this is the fact that the other resources the bibliography leads me to, only leads me to more related information sources via the latter’s bibliographies.
However, even once I had done this, I still felt that I had not fully grasped the concept and what I was doing. As a result of this, I tried to get a little more focused and structured with my research strategies. Even if this meant starting with the simplest of strategies:
My research strategy breakdown
-Background reading (seek advice and consult reference tools to identify some basic key works)
-Defining the topic
-Compiling a list of keywords (I found it helped to state the topic as a series of questions, something KB and Hugh thankfully did)
-Record the topic in the form of search statement/s (I found having a bunch of refined keywords helped me yield better search results)
- Selecting appropriate research tools – Catalogues & Bibliographies & Indexes (for published sources), the RMIT library research database.
-Discussing and posing questions to my fellow group members.
Upon finding sources
-Checking the – Authority, Objectivity, Currency, Accuracy and Relevance of sources (in all formats, especially internet sources)
-Reviews and citation indexes to check authority, objectivity and accuracy.
-Documenting sources via the correct citation method.
-Maintain complete records of all references – Author, title and publication details (and in the case of internet resources, URL and date accessed)
I also attempted to organise interviews with people related to our topic. I got in touch with the chair of the Australian Press Council, Julian Disney but they unfortunately declined an interview. Which is understandable because Australia’s media situation is quite a hot topic at the moment.
Although in some ways it may seem a bit meticulous, all this detail to my research really helped me when putting my final product together.
The main problem I encountered has been being able to find supporting arguments for both sides. As we were making a case study of our own, it would be unfair of our group to provide information that is not impartial. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the majority of the material I came across arguing their point in relation to media concentration and if its for/or against democracy has said that they’re against media concentration as it compromises the idea of democracy.
Although this was not technically a ‘problem’ so to speak, it was still a bit of a hindrance that I encountered. In the case study we chose to focus on, the findings aren’t blatantly opposed to media concentration, but in some cases, usually in countries with weak democracies, it does state that ownership concentration does lead to a lack of pluralism.
What I gathered from this is that, the idea of media concentration effecting democracy could possibly be a subjective thing depending on the countries they are in, what their media ownership is like etc. I considered this to be a little bit of a hindrance mainly because this realisation revealed to me that there are going to be several different instances (of media ownership effecting democracy in countries) that may not be necessarily black and white, wrong and right, for and against.
There was no real way to resolve this problem other than dedicating quite a lot of time to reading a lot of related resources until I was able to find specific case studies that addressed all sides effectively.
Connections & Intersections
To be completely honest I’m not really 100% sure as to what the value of this course is to me yet. This is not to discredit the subject at all, but it’s just that we’ve been working in group scenarios for the last three years so the collaborative process is not that unfamiliar, for me at least. So from that point of view I don’t think I’ve learnt too much.
I do feel this assignment did help me refine my research skills however. This is largely due to the fact that I went in with the mentality that I really wanted to get something out of this assignment. Both on an educational and personal level. By personal I mainly mean in regards to work ethic etc.
I feel like because I’ve only just recently finished the assessment that’s it’s a bit hard to get an idea of what I’ve learnt about myself via the process of the content of my research fitting into my future career development and future work. After the dust has settled and I’ve had time to properly reflect on the process I feel that I will be able to see what I have taken from the assignment.