Television has produced many memories for all individuals. The nostalgia of reminiscing on cherished childhood cartoons, or historical sporting moments draws a smile to any face. As I read various other blog entries surrounding the subject of television I noticed a few things. There were many aspects throughout various blogs that all had similar themes. It was evident that the interviewees were enthusiastic when reflecting on their past television memories. Many recalled that the introduction of Television was a defining moment in their lives, and changed the whole dynamic of how they lived. In my case, my Father stated that free time after school would usually be spent watching old westerns in front of the TV, which differed from past years where kids would spent most of their time outside after school. Another common theme amongst many blogs was their interviewee’s distinct memory of one particular historical event- the moon landing. Many citied this as their most vivid memory in recalling their interaction with television.
However, this process does have some relative strengths and weaknesses.
To help reflect on memories of television we all first needed a collaborator- the obvious choice was one of our parents, an easy choice. However, how does this test our skills as a researcher and communicator? Does it really push us outside our boundaries? There is already a comfortable relationship formed between parent and child, and so at times this can only limit us to our comfort zone. The researcher can thus overlook deeper investigations into harder and intrusive questions or theories.
Certainly I realize there are obvious matters of convenience, which are hard to ignore. Though despite this, of all the blogs I read, not one expanded my preconceived thoughts on early television memories, and all collaborators gave standard and expected answers. The researcher can bias the results of a study in countless ways, both consciously or unconsciously. For instance, the researcher might look pleased when participants give a desired answer. If this is what causes the response, it would be wrong to label the response as a treatment effect (Trochim, 2006).
Gathering research is not all about the data you receive. To gain a more thorough understanding of your audience’s particular interaction with statements and theories, researchers need to also analyze particular reactions and responses to questions. This can help represent how the audience gauges particular issues in your research. In my ethnographic collaboration, I conducted a phone interview, which didn’t allow me to witness my Father’s facial expressions, or body language when asked questions. I’m sure this is only an issue for non-locals, however it still has to be identified.
Although explained as a weakness above, conducting research with someone close to you can also be helpful. Although sometimes we can overlook pressing our research subjects further on particular questions, many researchers enjoy the comfort factor associated with someone close to them. This can lead to a flowing conversation throughout the proceedings of the research. We can have a set of questions prepared, but when you are interacting with your collaborator you can expand more on questions, or clarify responses if you are unsure. This is much different to collecting data from a survey (for example), where most questions are close-questions and responses are very black and white. In closed-ended questions, the interviewee has limited, predetermined range of answers, such as “yes-no”, and “male-female”. With open-ended questions research participants can give any answer they choose, rather than selecting from a range of options (Grinnel, Unrau, 2008).
Another notable strength in this approach to research is the importance of a primary source. The collaborators can give you primary information, which you can then use to cross reference dates and particular events with secondary sources. This is an important example of good research practice.
Ethnographic collaboration is an approach to research, which is excellent for conducting thorough and accurate primary research. Although there are many weaknesses surrounding this approach, this process feels much more in depth than that of mass research with closed questions, like surveys. This method is not always feasible, for the sake of both time management and data collection, however it still remains the most comprehensive process of research for some research tasks.
Richard Grinnel, Yvonne Unrau (2008). Social Work Research and Evaluation. Google Books. [online] [Accessed 17 Aug. 2016].
Trochim, W. (2006). Threats to Construct Validity. [online] Socialresearchmethods.net. Available at: http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/consthre.php [Accessed 17 Aug. 2016].