Category Archives: Research Participants

Transcription time!

So we’re well into 2012 and I’ve been busy transcribing my interviews since before Christmas along with arranging the last phase of interview participants. Transcribing is a slow and laborious process. I’ve tried plenty of transcription software which managed to recognise words in the recordings (although often not the correct ones) but the real problem was that the words didn’t make any sense when put in sentences! Pretty useless really. It’s what you’d imagine using William Burroughs book writing software would look like. I could use a commercial transcription service to produce them for me but, apart for the fact that it costs money, I don’t think this is a good way of getting a rich understanding of the text. If you transcribe the interviews yourself it enables a greater understand of the themes that are developing within the data. It’s very time-consuming but necessary… I think.

On Monday I conducted an interview Peter Oakley who is well known for his YouTube channel geriatric 1927. He’s been broadcasting his thoughts through self-recorded online videos since 2006 and he regularly gets over 1600 hits for every video he posts. Pretty impressive. He’s a warm, easy-going and very approachable man who’s in the 9th decade of his life and still extremely alert and on the ball. It was a pleasure and a privilege to interview him. He gave me permission to mention him on this blog and to embed one of his videos.

After the interview we compared notes on our experiences of Art Foundation courses and going to Art College in different times and at different ages. Like Peter, my Art Foundation course was one of the most enjoyable and creative periods of my life. Anyway, here is Peter describing his thoughts and the experiences of his art education in one of his videos.

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

Interviews 5 -12

It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve been conducting more of my interviews in all of the three age groups and am at a stage where there is a equal mix though out the groups. Most of the interviews start as semi-structured and then develop into more personalised discussions dependent on each individual’s experiences. The interviews have varied from 35minutes to over an hour.

When the interviews have finished I as the participant to upload some of their comntent so that there is a record and example of the type of content they produce and share. I’m using Posterous as the hosting web service. It’s free and has the added advantage enabling participants to to email their content to an address and this will create a post on the site. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for participants to use as possible. About half the interviewees have uploaded which is encouraging. The site can be viewed here.

I’ve also just finished marking 38, 3000 word essays from the Creativity module which, as usual, has been a time consuming process. There really isn’t a quick way to mark as essay. This time I marked a few-a-day over a two week period.

I’m taking a break from the interviews now and off to Australia for a couple of weeks. It’ll give me chance to catch up on some reading. I’m also going to finish reading my supervisor, David Gauntlett’s, great new book Making is Connecting while I’m away.

When I come back I’ve got a very intensive summer period continuing the interviews, writing my methodology chapter and finishing my literature review before my transfer appraisal in October. I’m also helping with the Transforming Audiences 3 conference in September which I’ve been asked to present some of my research. It’s going to be a very busy summer!

Interviews 1 to 4

I finally started the interviews for my empirical research this week. It’s an interesting process which throws up lots of ideas and thoughts about what the data will reveal over the next few months. So far I’ve conducted three interviews in the 40 to 50 age group and one in the 18 to 28. They have all been male so far.

I’ve realised that as I progress with the interviews the process of finding the right participants will get more difficult as I’ll be more aware of getting a balanced sample. At the moment I seem to be getting university graduates and will need more diversity if I’m to keep the sample credible.

As for the interviews, I think my questions have a good flow and I’ve managed to stay quiet and give the interviewee time say exactly what is on their mind. I’m recording the interview on a digital voice recorder and all the recordings have been in very quiet environments. I was hoping that I could use the voice recognition feature of Adobe Soundbooth to transcribe the recordings as I tested it with a voice from a podcast. It returned about a 90% accurate transcription rate. However, when I inputed the interview recordings into the program the result was terrible, about 20% accurate. It read like an abstract poem using the cut-up technique. A kind of do-it-yourself William Burroughs. So it looks like I’ll be transcribing by hand.

Recruiting Participants for Research part 2

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been busy contacting organisation and individuals with a view to finding participants for my empirical research. I’ve managed  to get about a quarter of the required amount in the first week which has been really good progress and I’ve sent requests to a number of online sources and now waiting for some replies.

The most difficult group to penetrate are the 40 to 50 age range. I can’t yet find a natural online resting place where this age group create and upload content. Maybe they are too busy setting the parental control filtering software to have time to create content. I’ve been searching the web for creative communities and then posted  a PhD: call for participants pdf for them to respond.

University students on creative and media courses are very willing volunteers but I need to get a far wider reach than students to balance this study. But so far I’ve been encouraged by the response and speedy take-up of potential involvement. Still early days and a lot more work to do.

Download the call for participants pdf here.

Recruiting Participants for Research part 1

The winter break is over and 2011 is here. I’m now eager to start getting participants for my research. It’s a very important stage which is key to how my research progresses and is completed. I’ve already identified organisations I am going to contact in an attempt find appropriate participants.

I’m looking to recruit 15 to 20 web users in three age groups: 18 – 28, 40 – 50 and 65 – 75. All of the participants must already be engaged in the practice of creating and sharing content and not be in the process of learning. Obviously creating content could be considered anything from type a message to edited video but I’m defining content creation, in the context of this project, as an arrangement of visual and/or audio material that requires some element of composition or editing.

Earlier this week I went to give a short talk about my project to a U3A Science and technology group in Hillingdon. I’m hoping that I may be able recruit participants for the 65 – 75 age range from here. The U3A – The University Of The Third Age is a “self-help organisation for people no longer in full-time employment providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities”. The visit  went well with a very attentive, inquisitive and curious crowd. There were certainly a few members who could participate.

I’ve emailed a document of the project out to members of this group and they have forwarded it to other people in other groups. I now have meeting with the digital photography group on Monday.