Research and Human Curiosity

“So we are always doing research, even though we do not think of what we are doing as such. We do this because we have to make choices about matters such as what we want to buy, what we want to take at college, and where we want to live. Even when we have limited budgets, generally speaking, we still have to make choices.” – Berger, 2014.

Research in general is an everyday occurrence, when spoken in the form of academia it is a little bit more specific but ultimately still very similar to the human process of discovery and deduction. Media research specifically in basic terms is the act of gathering, organising and making conclusions from information based on media formats. This information can be different mediums, whether it be TV, Radio, News Media, Film, Novels or other sources.

The process of research has a few usual steps, these include but are not limited to, observation (your original inspiration for researching a certain topic), data gathering, theory formulation, hypothesis formulation, extensive data gathering, data analysis and finally deduction. These steps in some ways mirror the common human process of everyday information gathering and deduction, but in a more formal context. This process can be seen in Heston Blumenthal’s television series, Heston’s Feast’s, attempting to research the context of Duck a l’Orange’s popularity in the 1960’s and whether it could be recreated in a modern context. It’s a great example as the show makes the whole process very visually identifiable, as Heston slowly moves through the process of data recovery, hypothesis formulation and deduction.

But ultimately we are talking about scholarly research, which while mimicking general information gathering is a little different. It is meant to be a systematic process which all research articles usually conform to, with guidelines for maintaining objectivity. When we go through our day we usually assess our surroundings in an informal, subjective and personal many, which would be counter intuitive to scholarly research.

Media research is interesting because it is not based on either qualitative or quantitative information, but rather a mixture of the two. This makes the prospect of researching media more interesting to me. At this point I’m considering researching the different representations of minorities in television series, or maybe more broadly video media, with a possible emphasis on vegetarian and vegan characters. Recently I watched an episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and realised that one of the characters was vegetarian, which I believe is the first instance of me encountering this minority in a television series. This observation is the first step of the research process and a stepping stone to writing my research report. Now I need to do some initial investigation and discover whether it worthy of investigation, hopefully it proves to be a sustainable research topic with enough data to form clear and concise deductions, informing whether the vegetarian vegan minority is over or under represented in popular culture.

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