In reflecting on this project and the whole subject, I have come to realise the importance of research. Research has always been something I’ve done but have never really taken the time to understand the entire process.
Throughout the semester we have been engaged with a multitude of research values that have influenced our engagement with this project. In following these processes, some have definitely influenced my research process more than others. These include:
In initialising this project, I wanted to research something that has always interested me but have never known too much about. In my inquisitive nature I decided to venture into the unknown and focus on the topic of recycling. Coming from a small rural town in the Central West of NSW; I never recycled as surprisingly enough it was not encouraged as all waste went in the one bin. I was also never properly educated about recycling and the massive impact that it does have on the environment. This drove me to find out more regarding the topic and made me curious to uncover more information. After deciding the topic of my project and submitting my first task, Renee noted that Alexandria Litchfield and I had a very similar research question. This got Alex and I talking and decided to work on this project together.
Reflexivity refers “to situations that have thinking participants. The participants’ thinking serves two functions. One is to understand the world in which we live… The other is to change the situation to our advantage.” (Soros 2009) This research value pins the idea that research can be one-sided and biased to the particular researcher’s beliefs and ideologies. The value of reflexivity benefited myself in this project through after researching I was able to take a step back and observe and learn more about the way in which recycling is such a major issue while taking in others opinions on the issues and keeping mine out of the way, to focus on the greater picture of getting all the data and information possible to gain a clear and coherent perspective.
In conducting our two surveys and two focus groups, treating our participants with the utmost respect was extremely important to Alex and I. Within our surveys and focus groups we firstly asked our participants to give us their consent as to whether they agreed to be a part of our research. I looked to the Lean Research Method in making sure that our research was rigorous and that it would ultimately benefit our project while it was also being respectful to participants. That the questions and activities were relevant and right-sized in that the sampling group would be of great insight. (Lean Research Method 2015)
Though we have access to more information than we ever deemed possible through the internet, it still does not answer all the many of our questions as researchers. Thrive Thinking notes that insight is a way of “discovery about the underlying motivations that drive people’s actions.” (Dalton 2016) Alex and I captured a strong insight into student’s recycling patterns through the focus group. Though we had a mere insight into how people recycled throughout our surveys, by running two focus groups allowed students to have a say and give their opinion which inevitably gave us a much stronger insight into how people think about their waste. Though this gave us a very good insight into how people thought about recycling and the level of knowledge they had on the topic “the most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings.” (Dalton 2016) That’s where the research value of creativity came into our project in a compulsory way.
Creativity was a research value that played a very strong part in this project. Being graphic designers, both Alex and I have a strong eye for visuals and demonstrating our research in a visually communicative way. Alex’s re-design of the bin posters and our process of creating the product package labelling system was a way in which we used our creative skills to inform people of how to dispose of their waste in a sustainable manner. This was done using the component of creativity – curiosity. (AuLive) This process was something that we wanted to focus on and see if within our focus groups whether students would adopt to this new system rather than accept the current UOW recycling signage. We found that our creativity benefited us very well and our designs were well received from our focus groups which encouraged us that we were on the right track.
Overall, this project has been an extremely positive experience in gaining a new perspective on the endless possibilities of research and the way in which the entire process is so important not just the end result.
Dalton, J 2016, What is Insight? The five principles of effective insight definition, Thrive Thinking, viewed 4 June 2017, < https://thrivethinking.com/2016/03/28/what-is-insight-definition/>.
Soros, G 2009, General Theory of Reflexivity, Financial Times, viewed 4 June 2017, <https://www.ft.com/content/0ca06172-bfe9-11de-aed2-00144feab49a#axzz425HnJh93>.
Test My Creativity, AuLive Innovation Logic, viewed 4 June 2017, <http://www.testmycreativity.com/>.
The Lean Research Framework 2015, Feinstein International Center, viewed 4 June 2017, <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B36nNXj12OvSMmJhZHRpOHZBMmM/view>.