Reflecting on Balance

DSCF5622This report was difficult to create and complete. Coming up with my research topic seemed easy enough and it was. But to actually do this report and in time was a challenge. Mostly a personal challenge, but a bit of a mind game also. I chose this topic and stuck with it because I feel like it is a subject that needs to be more thoroughly explored by universities. This is to conduct more research into support that students of all different backgrounds and lives, whether it be financial and psychological. I feel like this was a good choice and even though this report did not go to plan ( no more than 13 people even responded, and I was unable to conduct a research focus group), I am still happy I did it on this. I made a conscious decision to be reflexive while undertaking this research. I know that my views and opinions about living out of home, stress and balance may have influenced both my decision to do this report and also my final outcome.

I had hoped to create with this research an awareness in the reader of the different circumstances other students may be in around them. I found myself becoming more insightful as the data and research I had undertaken was laid out in front of me.

The way I conducted my research was through making critical judgment on the resources I had found, by being curious about my research and respectful to those who participated. I wanted to be an ethical researcher, whether it be by being accountable as a researcher, respectful and socially responsible.

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Ethical researching has its opponents like in The Radical Imagination by Max Haiven and Alex Khasnabish (2014) who question the legitimacy of “highly systematic and formulaic research methods” in regards to academics and universities creating objective research as the priority. I find this impertinent personally as I feel being an ethical researcher does not restrict you but allows you to understand others in a greater way. Another part of ethical research is not committing misconduct which will only get you caught out. There are many ways one can conduct research without committing research misconduct and as David B. Resnik has pointed out in his article What is Ethics in Research and Why is it Important, most people would have learnt ethics in their childhood and in social settings. Ethical issues in research is still a problem though because researchers can apply their own interpretation on them, and ethics can be misconstrued due to different life experiences (Resnik, 2015)

As a beginner researcher I feel like the ethical principles aren’t something that should be ignored. I first identified what my topic was that I wanted to research, then find out what my research aimed to solve or change and also find what harm I could do and or the social risks involved in my research. My topic involved questions about a person’s home life and possibly financial situation so I had to be mindful of how I undertook my research. A survey (even though I had wanted to do a focus group also) made sure that the level of anonymity was great enough that people may answer truthfully.

I feel like I engaged those who participated in my survey respectfully and with honesty. I allowed them to choose whether or not after reading my introduction into my research topic they still wanted to participate. I feel because I never asked for personal information such as ages, names, place they lived or anything that would make them recognisable, I was being respectful and professional. If people had wanted to know more, my blog that kept people updated on my progress of this report was part of the communication with potential participants.

The tutorial with Susan about ambiguity was a wake up call for knowing how I actually deal with problems as they arise. I had to be flexible and negotiate with potential problems that arose whilst I was doing my research. Problems such as a two jobs, working everyday and having other family commitments meant that I had to constantly reevaluate where I was in my own projected timeline for this assignment.

This research report as an assignment has created an experience that I can learn from and use in future for my further studies. I have learnt to be ethical, respectful, negotiable, flexible and reflexive in my research.

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References 

Resnik, D. (2015). What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important?. [online] National Institute of Environmental Health Services. Available at: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/ [Accessed Jun. 2017].

Haiven, M. (2014). The radical imagination. 1st ed. Nova Scotia: Fernwood, p.221.

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