Research Methods 1 Reflection

This module has allowed for various objectives to be worked towards and learning objectives to be met, whilst working towards my objectives in relation to my research topic.

This module has allowed for me to research into:

  • Topics within the Professional Context module
  • Topics/processes related with Practice and Professional Development
  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Technological Advances
  • Industry Contacts – New and Existing
  • Contextual Information
  • Quantitive and Qualitative Data
  • Cross-Cultural/Cultural Perspectives

This has been done via the below methodologies:

  • Literature
  • Online Sources; particularly for sourcing new contacts/links, policies related to practice/statistics, facts, etc
  • Instagram and Social Media, i.e. YouTube, Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Freelance Clients
  • Contacting existing Contacts both Nationally and Internationally
  • Phonecalls
  • Practice based Researched: Making, Workshop Staff and Resources; Digital (CAD, Graphic Design), Print (Graphic Design, Screen Printing), Hands-on (Metal Work, Clay Work, Silicone Moulds, Laser Cutting, Book Binding)
  • Questionnaire’s and Ethics Policy
  • Critical-design (used throughout exploratory practical work, discussed in separate post)
  • Documentaries
  • Magazines

Going forwards I will use the following methodologies in addition to work towards achieving my objectives, whilst exploring a range of research methods to gain both quantitive and qualitative data:

  • Interviews
  • Further Questionnaires
  • Meetings with Organisations regarding policies
  • Field-research (technologies, visual, publications, copywriting, photography, etc) on both a National and International basis (London and Tokyo)

I feel this module I have had to the groundwork in regards to contacting those needed to gain the best research to work towards answering my goals, such as speaking with Vogue (objective 3) and both British and Japanese students (objective 1.A, 1.B, 3). Once these are arranged I would then in semester 2, like to set for measurable goals allowing for quantifiable data, such as, I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to achieve this. More on this specifically can be found here.

I have found researching into key theoretical perspectives to be key to working towards my goals and objectives, and have found that my practice informs my research, and in turn, my research also informs my practice. This has been made most prominent via using a critical-design led approach to research using Instagram as a platform of communication for initial research, thoughts and findings. Feedback and engagement from such posts were received and analysed in turn directing future research and future directions of practical work also. This is evidently seen with the Instagram Post (objective 4.A) and Poster/Promo Pack projects (4.C), whilst being in mind with the Social Media Wellbeing Campaign   (objective 4.B). Furthermore, practice led research has also taken form of methods such as experimenting with aesthetics, booking binding processes, print methods and stocks, for example in order to develop ideas and practical work going forwards in semester 2.

I found however, as noted in my first professional context presentation that, I had researched into many theories and had to narrow down to find the key theories which really underpin my practice, my professional context and the interdisciplinary artists of collaboration. I found this process useful, as I am aware of many different key ideologies and perspectives in relation to my research topic which may be required at a later date, and also are good to be aware of for thorough critical analysis and reflection, whilst posing good for debate and ideas generation. Going forwards, I would like to keep using the key theories noted in my professional context presentation and report, and would like to also look at these from different perspectives following feedback, i.e. male perceptions, and as recently discussed in a post regarding Brittany Rhodes, female body builders. Discussing different perspectives as of that of Brittany Rhodes has been discussed in detail on a previous blog post specifically related to this, however have found that being open-minded to different perspectives has allowed for more doors and opportunities open in regards to objectives 1, 3 and 4. This as noted, has allowed for a different perspective to be considered in regard to my research question, noting a huge fitness trend surging the UK currently, with gym wear also become more readily available in ‘fashion retailers’ deeming it now fashionable to work out and go to the gym. Therefore, these perspectives have allowed me for the reflect on both my practice and research to date.

Working towards objectives, 1, 2, 3 and 5, I have used industry links and new contacts as discussed to secure meetings and interviews for semester 2. I have found that contacting individuals, organisations and HE institutions in both the UK and Japan have been invaluable and have led to further contacts being formed, whilst also allowing for problem solving with some organisations, i.e. Vogue UK being extremely hard to make contact with. This has been solved through perseverance and also attempting different methods of contact – phone, email, linkedin. This was also the case for Vogue Japan with no direct contact information being readily available to the public. I did call the Conde Nast International office, whom gave me a direct phone number for Vogue in Tokyo, however could not get through. Through further online research, I found 2 contacts which I emailed, and have since been in contact with the PA to the CEO of Conde Nast Japan and a Beauty Editor. I have found that at first, attempting to make contacts such as this in an aim to work towards my objectives, quite daunting and time consuming, however gained confidence in doing this throughout the process, becoming much more comptentant in relaying my research question and needs to the individual being spoken to. I have also accounted for the possibility of a translator being need in Japan, therefore making additional industry contacts through existing links. I have also found existing and new freelance clients to be of use also towards working toward the objectives noted above. Going forward I would like to contact organisations and charities such as B-EAT and the APPG, in regards to objectives 2, 3 and 5.

In order to carry out the above however, the LCA ethics policy has been of most importance whilst deigning and planning my research studies, as well as writing a consent form and information sheet to be distributed to participants in due course. These have currently been sent to those who are being interviewed early in semester 2 (January) for forward planning, and have undergone ethical checks by both my tutor and the course leader. This way of working/research has not been something I have had to do before, i.e. working on consent forms and information sheets, however have found this good practice, and has also enabled my participants to fully understand the project, their role, pros, cons and details on data use, confidentiality and assessment for example. Going forwards this is something that I will do prior to starting research.

Going forwards I would like to use the noted methodologies as noted above, whilst further reflecting on Karen’s lecture series regarding research methods and ethics which I feel have really supported my own research and work throughout this semester. In addition to this, I will also be undertaking two field-research trips to both London and Tokyo in January in order to gain different perspectives, insights and both comparable and quantifiable data, in aim of working towards objectives 1 – 4 specifically. Evidence of this can be found throughout my blog in regards to planning and itineraries for London in particular, whilst beginning to cover the ground work for Japan also. I have not had time to complete all of my research surrounding my itinerary or cover as much contextual information as I had hoped and plan on continuing this over christmas and into semester 2 in order to further work towards my objectives also.

Below shows the learning objectives for this particular module, and feel through my on-going blog (research journal), presentations and report to date that I have evident objectives 7A6, 7B4, 7C2, 7D4, competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.