Identifying and Evaluating Resources for Academic and Applied Research

Over the course, of the two years I have been attending university, I have learnt to use a variety of resources used to aid research and gather data. During Media Audiences, we were asked to create a research project, I chose to research into Henry Jenkins ‘Participatory Culture’- the interactive audience. In order to gather data, I used TOPSY, a company who had a database in which you could perform social search’s gathering tweets on a particular topic and analytic’s tool, as it had a function in which it would create graphs showing the popularity of the program or subject you searched, over a certain amount of dates. As a result, along side using Nielsen Social and Kantar Media, to further look at the popularity of the programs, I was able to gather a large amount of tweets, understand the popularity and confirm, the existence of Henry Jenkins Interactive audience. This tool, however will not be useful in my analysis of a new genre of detective drama’s, as aside from two of the sites since shutting down, I do not need to gather any data of a social media kind in order to perform my research.

Other than, the analytic’s tool mentioned above I haven’t used other tools such as google analytic’s to complete work and so, it could be useful to learn how to use this for my proposed dissertation topic. It looks at internet traffic, which isn’t useful for this topic, however I may be able to use it, if I changed my topic a little, to analyse audiences, as internet traffic surrounding New Tricks, could suggest the popularity of the detective drama.

One possible resource, I could untilise is a through interviewing a lecturer, with expertise in television and audiences i.e. Hilary or Ruth or Chris all of whom are knowledgeable in the area of television thus, they could help in assisting myself with my chosen topic, instructing me on possible analytical tools, resources such as Nexis etc. Furthermore, I could research personnel and actors involved in the making of New Tricks, and possibly organise an interview with them questioning whether they would consider New Tricks, as a new genre of detective drama but I would research this possibility further i.e. getting in contact and organising an interview as well as developing ethics forms which would allow me to use them in my dissertation but also, get it signed off with someone at the university. I haven’t had much time to research and am unsure of how to do an interview of this type so, I would need to talk to the university and gather more information surrounding what would be needed to make this happen.

In terms of using Library Gateway as a resource,I have discovered that although there are many peer-reviewed journals/articles/books etc on detective drama’s it is difficult without sorting through them all, to find relevant sources. I discovered one book that may come in useful written by Lee Horsley (2005) which analyses genre and crime fiction with a relation to theories such as post colonial feminism. However, in researching New Tricks, I have discovered little written via scholars which has an advantage, in that this work could be first analysis of New Tricks as a new genre of detective drama and thus, the subject is open to my interpretation, data and analysis. However, it is disadvantaged as no one has written on New Tricks, in particular and so I would be the first to analyse this, and so peers would be more critical of my work and I have no way to relate my work to other relevant theories.

As I didn’t attend the library workshop, due to illness I missed valuable resources/tools being taught to students. I have since, looked at the PowerPoint and found it difficult to understand what I need to do, in terms of searching within databases. In order, to assist my dissertation I have decided to look for library sessions based around this subject so to, sign on and gain the knowledge I need to improve a dissertation topic and use resources. As a result, despite being ill, I have decided I will try and make a session such as this, instead of staying off as it is important in completing my dissertation. Furthermore, I have tried to use recommended databases such as Mintel, which we were informed about via the PAD WordPress site, and I have struggled to understand how to use this. So, I am going to try and broaden my database horizons, so to make the most out of the Library Gateway resources on offer.

As mentioned above, I haven’t had much use of analytic tools or databases and so, I am not confident in using them to gather the data I need. So, to change my confidence with this issue, I need to speak to an expert within the university, as well as play around with different resources until I am much more confident in using them. As a result, if I do not alter my lacking knowledge, I could produce a poor piece of work for my dissertation.

I have previously mentioned, my ambition to work for a council or a institute such as the polices media department. In terms of using resources within the business world I could possibly use google analytic’s. For example, if I were asked about the popularity of a council’s website, and media page I could use google analytic’s to track the internet traffic for the site. And then, produce a strategy to increase the councils website and media page. In relation, to audience research, I could use websites such as TOPSY and Nielsen Social similar to the way I did for my research project. Thus, I could then analyse how people receive certain shows and inform production companies of the popularity of a particular program, so they could cancel it, or renew it, or make-over the program in question.