Reflection and Conclusions: ‘What audience share does reality television have amongst university students’

This project required a great deal of integrity and accountability from myself as a researcher due to my curiosity being the driving force of this project. To understand the ethical practices of research and incorporate these practices in my project, I first had to understand that “the values of respect, research merit and integrity, justice, and beneficence have become prominent in the ethics of human research.” (National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, Australian Vice -Chancellors’ Committee, 2015). In undertaking this research and in communicating and representing my participants effectively and respectively, I decided to focus on the integrity of my research and the accountability which I have as a researcher. In this way I am responsible for the fair and honest reporting of results, the ethical conduct of my researching methods, communicating effectively with my audience and the safety of my participants privacy and information.

The ethical standards of a research project are extremely important, Resnik (2015) states that “ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness” (Resnik, 2015). To have this trust within my research creates a safe environment for my participants and stakeholders, as a project without these ethical standards “can significantly harm human and animal subjects, students, and the public” (Resnik, 2015). To abide by these ethical standards is compulsory for my project, and to be accountable for my actions and integrity is integral to this project’s findings and outcome.

In my second assessment I made myself a code of conduct which I would abide by in my research practices to communicate effectively with my audience and participants. In this code of conduct was my communication plan. My communication plan for this task was semi-successful. This is due to my engagement being quite high when I used the #BCM212 twitter feed and posted on my wordpress blog, however deteriorated when I became inactive due to my sudden illness. This inhibited a feeling of limbo within my research project as I was gathering interesting findings with a strange mix of interactivity and no interactivity within my audience.

I believe therefore that I failed and broke my code of conduct which I created in the past, due to the communication with my audience breaking down and the lack of posts on my wordpress and twitter. I hypothesised that individuals would be interested and curious in the project that I was creating, however this was wrong and I should have communicated my project more efficiently and effectively. I should have planned my time more effectively and engaged with my stakeholders. I failed ethically in the accountability of my work.

In the future, I would remain consistent and have a schedule for which I would post and communicate effectively with my stakeholders. Without stakeholders a project can be forgotten.

The 75 participants of whom filled out my survey will be pleased to know their assistance on my work was appreciated and helped identify major and key findings in my project. Each and every participant in my survey and focus group were extremely important.

These findings however were not what I expected nor what I truly wanted from this project either. This is where the Integrity of myself as a researcher comes into play. The National Health and Medical Research Council (2014) identified that to have integrity is to remain unbiased towards information a researcher is presented with, to have an open mind and be content with the findings.

I believe that I have outlined my goals and aims for this project honestly, with no hidden agendas for this research. The consent which I give my participants before each data aggregation session or survey adds to the communication which I have with my participants and adds to the honesty which we share with each other.

As an individual who romanticises the idea of reality within a world of fictional characters, I wanted my project to reveal shocking results of individuals agreeing with me. However, they did not. Participants agreed to an extent that reality television was genuine, however there was notion of production and fabrication of this ‘reality’ that could not be overlooked.

At first I rejected these ideas of others, however identifying that I was rejecting these ideas was the first step to realising this project needed integrity to becoming a successful project.

I have learned a variety of skills and techniques as well as lessons which will assist in my research practice in the future. Firstly, to have a successful project, you must first have ethical research practices and the responsibility of your participants information and ideologies, if you do not it could harm people (Resnik, 2015). Secondly, time management and scheduling is crucial to communicating with your stakeholders, becoming accountable and aware of this is crucial to create a following for a project. Lastly, to remain impartial and remove all prejudice towards your chosen topic is difficult, however, it is your duty as a researcher to have integrity and honesty with your stakeholders and participants.

In the future, I hope to be able to work on these research practices and focus on these skills to create a larger project while practicing research ethically.

References

National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, Australian Vice -Chancellors’ Committee (2015). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/e72_national_statement_may_2015_150514_a.pdf> [accessed 7 June 2017].

Resnik, D (2015). ‘What is Ethics in Research and Why is it Important?’, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. [online]. Available from: <https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/> [accessed 8 June 2017].

National Health and Medical Research Council 2014, National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, NHMRC, Canberra, viewed 19 April 2017, <https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/book/chapter-3-1-qualitative-methods&gt;.

Bowles, K. (2017). BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication: Week 5, Accountability.

Bowles, K. (2017). BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication: Week 7, Integrity.

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