Category Archives: Methodology

Application to Transfer Interview

Yesterday I had my application to transfer interview. The interview as one would expect was quite tough and a couple of the questions were difficult to answer. The interview started with a review of the parts of my research that worked well but as this was more concerned with critical aspects of the research these were not discussed.

Much was made of a need to be more explicit with my conceptual framework with my regards to my use of motivation within the research. However, the theory and concepts relating to creativity, generations and literacy were judged to be more clearly argued. About half an hour after the interview I was called to be told that the panel had recommended that I transfer to PhD status. This was more of a relief than an celebration.

However I did go out last night. I’d  already got tickets to see my favourite band, The Fall, (left) at the indigO2, a few months back.  This helped take my mind off the events of the interview, although I have slightly wooly head this morning!

Anyway now I can get back to progressing forward with my research without the worry of having to re-apply in the summer.

CAMRI Symposium

It has now become a internal part of being a PhD student that every now and again we have to present our progress and research findings. This takes the form of giving presentations at conferences as with Transforming Audiences 3 (TA3) in the summer and with this symposium that is hosted by University of Westminster each November. There’s doctoral representatives from other media based universities within the London area. The subjects within this field are very diverse within this discipline varying from digital games to the social networks in China.

My presentation went fairly well (below). It was very similar to the TA3 presentation. I had quite a few questions from the audience all constructive and none too difficult.

View more presentations from Tim Riley

Submitting my Application to Transfer

Today I handed in my Application to Transfer document two days before the deadline and it’s quite a relief. It’s 132 pages long and well in excess of 32,000 words. I’ve spend large parts of the summer writing and it. The main body of the transfer document is the literature review (about 23,000 words) and the methodology chapter (about 7,000). But, of course, it’s not just about the amount of words – it helps if they are in the right order and make sense!

It’s now a month until the panel interview. I can now get back to finishing the interviews. I met Adrian Arthur from the British Library at the OxIS 2011 Survey launch on Monday and he has been very helpful in giving me links to the over 65 age group. I’ve also started to line up a few more interviews. It’s becoming a bit like spinning plates on top of sticks, as one job is attended to another two or three need attention.

Preparing my Application to Transfer

It’s been a long intensive summer of writing, researching and interviewing for my research project. This tended to move forward frustratingly at times in fits and starts but overall has been really quite enjoyable. I’m now at a stage where I need to hand in the work I’ve completed so far for assessment.

This is an internal type of verification and assessment system where the work is read by a few academics at the University before research students are asked to defend their work in front of a panel. This process is put in place to ensure that the work is an original contribution to knowledge and of a PhD standard. If it is deemed to pass this scrutiny then the candidate is allowed to transfer from an MPhil (Master of Philosophy) to a fully fledged PhD student.

The deadline for hand-in is Friday 21st and I want to get everything in a couple of days early. There are a lot of requirements for submission including many associated documents and signatures that accompany the written work. These are then compiled into one final document which needs to be copied and bound five times. The three main writing requirements are a literature review, a methodology chapter and 3,000 word application to transfer report..

I’ve finished the second draft of my 23,000 word literature review in July and have spent August writing the methodology chapter. On Monday I met with my supervisor to go through the methodology chapter and apart from some minor changes no major problems. The application to transfer report is done too. This was a laborious task as I need to recount and explain all of the processes I’d been through to get to this stage and give examples of why my research was original. It wasn’t difficult to do but I slightly frustration as I want to keep moving forward and, as a result of all this written work, I’ve had to delay progressing with the rest of my empirical research. However, I know this is an important and necessary process if I am to move forward.

Preparing for the Transforming Audience 3 Conference

I had a double meeting today down at the Marylebone campus today. The first was to receive feedback on my literature review with my supervisor and apart form very minor changes everything seems to be in order. As I’m just about to enter my third year I have to hand in the lit. review, a methodology chapter and a progress report in October as part of the ‘application to transfer’ from an MPhil to a PhD. This is standard practice on most UK doctoral programmes. So I’m pleased I don’t have massive re-writes. At the end of November each doctoral student is called before a panel to defend their work so far, a bit like a mini-viva.

The second meeting was about organising the Transforming Audiences 3 Conference hosted by the University of Westminster. It’s a bi-yearly event that flies in keynote speakers from around the world. This year the keynotes are Nancy Baym, author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age; Jean Burgess, co-author of YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture; Adriana de Souza e Silva, co-author of Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces and Net Locality; Patricia G. Lange, co-author of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out and University of Westminster’s very own David Gauntlett, author of Making is Connecting.

There are three doctoral students helping organise the conference, myself included, and we’re also each giving 15 minute presentation on one of the many panel sessions throughout the two days. I’ve also been asked to present at the pre-conference meeting of the COST project, Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies. COST is an “intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology”. I’m giving a 25 minute presentation which relates my industry experience to my current research. I’ve, therefore, entitled my presentation: ‘From Punch-cards to Social Media: A Digital Life’  This relates to my 30-year association with digital technology and content creation. Using my personal experiences throughout this period, I’m going to trace the history of computer-generated visual content. This will start with the humble punch-card, which was my introduction to computers in 1981, through the world of broadcasting and use of one of the first computer graphic workstations, the Quantel Paintbox, to the digital tools available today and my research project.

Methodology chapter

I’ve just finished the first draft of my methodology chapter. It’s been another long stint typing, reading and referencing and, although I was fairly unsure how to approach this initially, it came together quite naturally once I got going.

I started with definitions of the social media, digital content creation and sharing before moving on to the methodological outline. This was followed by a in-depth study into the meaning and use of ‘generations’ and whether there is a ‘digital generation’. This developed into a discussion that starts with Karl Mannheim’s generational theory and Norman B. Ryder’s concept of ‘cohorts’ along with references from David Kertzer and Pierre Bourdieu.

There’s much discussion about the notion of a ‘digital generation’, a generation who’ve grown up in a digital world. This has be promoted widely by Marc Prensky, who pits digital natives against digital immigrants, and Don Tapscott who champions the ‘net generation’ against the ‘baby-boomers’ and ‘generation x’ and ‘television generation’.

However, as analysis of generations shows, this is a rather simplistic and polemical view as there are many variations between the experiences, perceptions, interpretations and attitudes within generations and also ignores similarities that occur between generational groups too. This is summed up well by David Buckingham who argues:

“To a greater or lesser extent, technological change affects us all, adults included. Yet the consequences of technology depends crucially on how we use technology and what we use it for, and these things are subjected to a considerable degree of social variation within age groups as between them” (Buckingham, 2006:11).

Siva Vaidhyanathan talks of a ‘generational myth‘. “Not all young people are tech-savvy [and] talk of a ‘digital generation’ or people who are ‘born digital’ wilfully ignores the vast range of skills, knowledge, and experience of many segments of society”. This analysis has established that my research will not be a generational study but a study of age groups.

The methodology chapter continues by giving a detailed explanation of my sampling and data collection methods and data analysis procedure. I created a website repository for participants to upload content after the interviews and this has also proved to be fairly successful.  Well over half the participants have uploaded content. The site can be viewed here.