Research is everywhere and for the majority of our existence we unconsciously research things on a daily basis. Weighing up on whether to take a jacket with you for the day ahead is research, as is scrolling through your timeline to see what your friends are up to on Facebook. Alongside this, we pick and choose what to eat, where and how to travel and consider the most efficient way to get our study done (or not done if you are a procrastinator like me). Thus, researching is inescapable and it consequently inhabits the society all around us. Research is defined by Arthur Berger as seeking information. Yet Berger establishes a difference between the everyday kind of research I mentioned earlier and something he dubs ‘scholarly research’. Scholarly research is much more systematic and thought out, with a clear aim in mind. Scholarly research involves a focus on “economic, political and social considerations” (Berger, 2014, p.16) and consequently requires a more considered theoretical approach to the topic at hand. The everyday kind of research we all participate in on the other hand is much more fluid, casual and is based entirely on personal experience. Berger continues to explore research through a binary lens as he notes the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. As a former Society and Culture student, the significant difference between the two types of research is something that is not new to me, but I will explain it anyway.
Above is an interview Ellen DeGeneres conducted with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in which he expresses his perspective on feminism. This interview is an example of qualitative research. Qualitative research aims to make an understanding of personal opinion and experience, and thus is much more interested in judgements and interpretations of information and ideas. On the other hand, below I have included a sample of a survey established by Buzzfeed as they question perspectives on feminism and issues of gender equality. This survey is exemplary in portraying the features of quantitative research. Quantitative research is primarily characterised by its interest in numbers, statistics and factual figures rather than opinion based material. When a combination of the two types of research are utilised, the answers to the questions you were looking for are a lot easier to come by. When asked the question, “What Research are you Interested in?”, I immediately thought about social media. Social media is basically the be all and end all of my life (alongside my awful addiction to binge watching TV shows – maybe I could research that?), and its impact on how I interact with people has become more and more apparent to me as I am getting older. Given the opportunity, I would like to research generational opinions on social media, and the consequences this has had upon social interaction. In a nutshell, I want to know if we as individuals have become more or less social because of tech savvy social media networks. References: Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32