TLDR – Today we discussed different research methods and how they might help us during our project. It was all very generic in terms of education, and not specifically related to RIPU.


LECTURE

We had another short lecture today, this time led by Suzie. It was all about methods of research and how to relate those to our work.

She started in earnest by discussing the differences between practice led research and applied research. Practice led research is methodological and emphasises the importance of the actual process (questions, context, methods, etc), while applied research can often speak for itself. The construction of the artefact is usually visible through the actual artefact, with less text to back up and inform the audience. In this context, my RIPU work will primarily be practice led (with the emphasis on my research, questions, surveys, etc), while my future work in documentary will be applied (as the study of the subject and the learned outcomes will be a part of any films made).

She briefly discussed Christopher Frayling (research through art and design) and Karl Popper (process and reflections), but I think the majority of our time was spent thinking about our own motivations and methodologies. Are we making for self understandingmedium exploration, or is it function led? While not applicable to RIPU, these are questions we should be considering through our other works. Each question affects the process and outcome, leading to potentially drastically different pieces of work.


SEMINAR

Rather helpfully (or not), Judith began our lecture by advising us not to get too hung up on the content of Suzie’s lecture – not to worry too much now about our methods or methodologies. By simply doing whatever research we deem necessary, we will shape our own project to our own needs, and we can put a label on the methods at a later date. Which, frankly, makes sense. I don’t want to spend the next two months thinking am I doing enough surveys or case studies?  I just want to do the work that I see fit, and then categorise it all at the end.

We also spent a long time today talking about the actual final work we would need to submit for this module. This will include:

  • A 2000 word research report,
  • A body of work that responds to the research,
  • An annotated research file

The specific breakdown of these things has been somewhat confusing to most people, so it was good to go over a few things. Our research report is quite obviously the question we will eventually come up with, along with its answer. The body of work should contain evidence of our practice based research resulting from the study (actually doing things), and the annotated research file is more of an extended appendix to the work (lists of works studies, summaries of why they were useful, etc). A reflective journal is also required for the other modules (though not specifically RIPU) which this blog forms a part of. I’ll be keeping it over the two years to keep track of my progress.

Back to the matters at hand, however, and we broke into small groups to discuss what sort of research we might be carrying out. Despite spending most Thursdays and Fridays studying with Emmaalouise, this was the first time we were in the same discussion group. We were also joined by Sam (Communication Design). The way we broke down our discussion was simple: What am I going to be doing (research), and how am I going to do it (methods)? Emma is thinking about how she can transfer from making art based short films to more narrative led feature films, and Sam is thinking about the best and most efficient ways to communicate information to the masses (at least at this stage, all of us are a bit fuzzy about the specifics). For me, it’s:

Reseach:

  • The historical context of documentaries,
  • The changing technological equipment,
  • The changing format and style,
  • The changing popularity / social impact over time.

Methods:

  • Documentative data research / analysis,
  • Qualitative research / surveys,
  • Case studies of various documentaries over time,
  • Comparisons of studies which used different equipment,
  • Experiments with different technologies and how audiences react

The important question(s) I need to continue to remind myself of is: How can I relate this research back to me / my work?


POST-LECTURE

Emmaalouise and I have been somewhat concerned of late about how little practical work we’re doing on the course at the minute, so we had a word with Judith and Suzie, who in turn sent us to Phil at the MRC (Media Resource Centre). We ended up sitting in on an induction for the centre, allowing us to take out some equipment when needed (and they have a lot of equipment). We’re hoping on going out tomorrow and filming something. Not sure what yet, it would just be nice to use a camera again.

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