Shaping my research question.. some musings

Shaping a research question is a daunting task. The year felt like it had  barely begun before we had to decide on a direction to take our research for Digital Humanities. To my understanding the question was simply a centrepiece on which to focus our investigative methods. After a lot of deliberation about what kind of research I could do a worthwhile survey and interview around – I was drawn to social media. Namely I was drawn to the area of social media marketing and transparency of marketing online. For a long time now it has annoyed me that companies online aren’t held to the same marketing ethical standards as IRL. When companies pay bloggers and Youtubers astronomical amounts of money to feature their products (an issue Youtube does try to address but can’t always help failing at ) it’s unfair for the consumer of content to assume that what they are watching is genuine, unpaid for and not subversive advertising.

When I did my survey (below) my research question was merely a concept. MY survey has been worked on quite a bit and I’m now happy with the final result. There are two sections.

”What kind of marketing practices are noticed by the consumer online, and for what reasons? Should advertising online be more transparent..”

– Is what I’ve somewhat ended up with. Truth be told that’s the first time I’ve written out a concise title for the research I was doing. I wish I would have done that before I did my interviews (I did two). This whole process has been a great learning experience, and learning is all about making mistakes. In my interviews there are a few things I’d change when doing it again. I would choose people from different demographics if doing more than one interview again. I chose two young women in UCC who have similar interests – and while the answers they gave were certainly different they didn’t give wholly opposing views in any question. I would also structure my interview questions in a better way – some were very similar to each other and there were repetitive answers. I would have liked to interview more people but since a large part of the task was transcribing, which is a very time consuming process, I left it at two for my own sanity. It drove home the need for decent voice transcription software being available to the public though. There is also not a good ending to my transcription because at the end we waffled on a bit about nothing too relevant so the transcription cuts off abruptly from where I decided to leave it.  Below is a link to one of my transcriptions, let me know what you think!





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