Reflecting back on the last 13 weeks of BCM212, I find myself continuously drifting back to week one’s topic about curiosity and how it truly is the stem of great research. It is not often that I find myself genuinely intrigued by university assignments, however my topic about the impact of social media on adolescent’s body image is something that I am curious about and thus was eager to conduct my research project each week to find out more. Throughout this project I have learnt a lot about being both an efficient and ethical researcher, two traits that I now know to be fundamental aspects of great research. As we have progressed week by week I have learnt how to look at my research from a professional approach, and within this short reflection would like to outline the key topics that influenced my research project along the way.
In week 8 we looked at the concept flexibility, and how important it is in when conducting research. I struggled in terms of adapting to change when something went wrong within my research or the feedback I was given was constructive but something needed to change. After the research proposal, I was told my question was too broad and to narrow it down to something specific within my research that I may have found interesting. In the week 8 lecture a quote that has really stuck with me “sometimes a desire path is an improvement on what was planned. Can you think about how to change to take advantage of what its telling you?” This quote helped me realise that my tutor was giving me a blessing in disguise and I must adapt and narrow my findings to one specific issue concerning the impact of social media affecting body image. I took this quote and looked at my research and I found myself linking my question with eating disorders and how there is a small percentage of people taking extreme measures because they don’t like the way they perceive themselves.
As we were to use a lot of sources in this research project, both primary and secondary, it was imperative that we conduct our projects with integrity. In week 7 we looked at the concept of integrity, and how important it is in ethical research practices. The University of Duke Office of Research website that was introduced to us outlined the correct way to construct a consent form. Following De Vaus’ advice I had chosen to conduct a survey due to its many benefits, and the process of integrity and the Duke consent form aided me in ensuring that I gained informed consent from all of my research participants in the correct way. We also reviewed the UOW Academic Integrity Policy, which was something that I had not read before. The policy discussed the importance of honesty, fairness, trust and responsibility, factors that I ensured I had within my assessment along the way.
Lastly, we looked at the importance of acknowledging the limitations of your study. Reflecting back on the last 13 weeks of research, I can definitely say there were many limitations. Obviously, time was a big constraint for me personally. I started the year off doing 4 subjects plus a job that required me to complete 32 hours of work per week. My time management and procrastination got the best of me and I couldn’t handle the stress, I dropped down to 2 subjects all whilst juggling 32 hours of work. Overall, I had to delegate time for this project to ensure I stayed on track. If I were to continue to research this project, I would like to be able to conduct informal interviews to gain deeper insights and perspectives into my topic. I have learnt a lot about ethical research practices from bcm212, and feel that my confidence has dramatically grown in terms of conducting research projects.