It is time to reflect and farewell a project that has, thanks to all involved, provided some interesting insights and a space to explore the values and practicalities of research. The process has not been entirely smooth but it has been rewarding. There are three interconnected research values that underpinned the axiology, the concepts with the aim to make the researcher identify what is worth researching and the ethical and moral obligations in respect to the use and collection of this knowledge (Wilson 2008, pp. 77-79). The values are accountability, respect and integrity.
Accountability in research is concerned with who is responsible for the study and how do they manage and react to the challenges associated with completing the study (Bowles 2017). Accountability is interconnected with respect and integrity. Respect in research can be achieved by being sensitive to individual participants and the research’s contexts, with all involved, particularly, the researcher and participants gaining something from the research (Tilly 1998). Integrity refers to performing research that follows the principles of honesty, fairness, trust and responsibility as well as a respect for knowledge and its development throughout the research process (University of Wollongong (UOW) 2017). To conduct research with integrity there must be respect for the research and the ‘researched’ (O’Leary 2005 pp. 71-77 and O’Leary 2010 pp. 40-47).
Accountability within this research was observed through the application and response to three questions outlined in the week five lecture:
“1. Who is expecting the research to be delivered?
2. Who is helping you do the research?
3. Who may be affected by the research?” (Bowles 2017, p. 24)
Through these questions, the required respect for ethical and moral obligations such as honesty, fairness and independence found in the Australian Media Alliance Code of Ethics (n.d.) as well as maintaining integrity and respect for the research and the ‘researched’ is highlighted as crucial for credible research practice.
In the case of this research to answer the first and second question, those involved included my subject lecturer, tutor, participants and myself. With all mentioned individuals aiding and informing the research in some manner. All the parties are expected that my research would reach fruition, that their labour would create something. This means that careful project management, interaction and communication was vital in response to this expectation. To ensure that this occurred in this project a timeline and calendar of my activities, for the most part, was followed. Communication and interaction was maintained through tutorial and lecture attendance used alongside project related tweets, Moodle platform posts and blog posts (1, 2). Although I received no personal/feedback communication from the online channels, 15 out of the 24 responses to the survey came from the online posts. The offline bounds of interaction and communication with participants was also considered. The participants could meet myself in person at the lecture, in my tutorial, particularly in the week ten lecture when the paper copy of the survey was distributed.
The third question within the concept accountability refers to the wider implications of the research’s process, communication, results. Particularly how these, in turn, can affect the other parties indirectly and directly involved. Ways in which I addressed this aspect included, a declaration on the survey that the research was not affiliated or approved of by the institution that the research was conducted within (UOW). Every survey response was anonymous and survey responses could be withdrawn. The survey also contained contact details to the subject lecturer, for those who may have wished to raise an issue with someone other than myself. To maintain the integrity of the survey, none of the participant’s responses were altered, even with the Q4 invalid answers caused by participants not following the questions instructions. These and many other details were all applied to ensure that I maintained accountability, respect and integrity within my research and that I addressed the effects that may have affected related parties and directly involved individuals.
What I found difficult throughout this process was time management. I would plan selected times in the future to complete research objectives. Not all the time, but often, I was willing throughout this project to let myself justify that I still have more time and thus delayed the necessary work. This fails to align with my aspiration to achieve and maintain accountability, respect, and integrity within my research practices. I lacked the respect for the time required for research. I failed to maintain my accountability for providing the time needed to carefully and precisely conduct the research. Lastly, I lost some of my own and the project’s integrity due to rushing and leaving aspects incomplete or not properly developed. Therefore, for my future research practice, I am now aware that I must strive to manage and approach the process with increased integrity, respectfulness and accountability.
Until next time though…
Artwork by yours truly & public domain floral design.
Bowles, K 2017, ‘Accountability’, Google Doc Slides, BCM212, University of Wollongong, viewed 5 June 2017, <https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1McO13yNUhDmdcK2esyA2_ulkgfsO6sfajnvFYAwB0EY/edit?usp=sharing>.
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) n.d., Code of Ethics, Australian Broadcasting Services (ABC), <https://www.meaa.org/meaa-media/code-of-ethics/>.
O’Leary, Z 2005, Researching Real-World Problems, SAGE publications, pp. 1- 296.
O’Leary, Z 2010, The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project, SAGE publications, pp. 1-305.
Tilley, S A 1998, ‘Conducting Respectful Research: A Critique of Practice’, Canadian Journal of Education / Revue canadienne de l’éducation, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 316-328, JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 June 2017, <http://ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.10.2307.1585942&site=eds-live>.
University of Wollongong (UOW) 2017, Academic Integrity Policy, University of Wollongong (UOW), viewed 5 June 2017, < http://www.uow.edu.au/about/policy/UOW058648.html#P66_2049>
Wilson, S 2008, Research Is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods, Fernwood, Halifax and Winnipeg, pp. 1-144, viewed 05 June 2017, <http://www.sjsu.edu/people/marcos.pizarro/courses/240/s0/Wilson.pdf>.