Sunday, 27 January 2019

Unit 2: Effective Ways To Present & Evaluate Research Methods

Research techniques from RoryVickers95

For my music video production, I knew prior to any pre-production work that I would have to analyse music videos within my chosen genre in order to gain a better understanding of the codes and conventions of a successful and effective video.  Therefore I began my research project by gaining a brief knowledge of the music video theorists by sources provided to me by my teacher. Initially I took down notes on music video theorists Andrew Goodwin and Carol Vernallis which I then built upon once I began researching them in depth. For this part of the project I would be researching Goodwin and Vernallis' theories on music videos which would benefit my own production work in the future. I researched using secondary sources such as the theorists' published books as well as search engines (google) to find other peoples summaries of the theories in the form of powerpoint presentations on SlideShare. Using the published versions of the theorist's books was much more reliable as physical text-based sources are less prone to being changed or misinterpreted as they are on internet sites, digital articles etc. therefore I feel that as a main source of research the physical books themselves proved vital in my project. To ensure validity with my findings I cross-checked points made in other published presentations. I felt that this was effective as it some parts of the theories are put into simpler terminology than in the original books and cross-checking was also vital to ensure reliable results. 

My semiotic analysis of music videos played a vital part in the production of my own music video. It gave me a clear insight into the codes and conventions of music videos and the importance of the relationship between on screen visuals and music as well as the relationship between lyrics and visuals. My prior research methods Andrew Goodwin & Carol Vernallis using books and published online articles, proved very effective when it came to analysing Trip-Hop music videos. I specifically chose the videos as they were of the same genre as my future music video, therefore producing an in depth semiotic analysis of these chosen videos gave me both a solid understanding of how music videos of this genre are constructed visually as well as offering ideas and inspiration. 

My secondary research for this part of the project was in the form of a published review online, of the music that I planned to produce a music video for. Using search engines I came across reviews by the likes of Pitchfork. The content of the review went into the detail about the emotions associated with the piece, therefore this was a very useful in the pre-production process of my music video. This detailed review of the piece allowed me to not only see the music from somebody else view but it also reinforced my initial opinions of the music, in regards to its emotive aesthetic. Certain feelings and emotions mentioned within the review, I took note of and then went onto develop ideas around these, turning words from this review into a key theme within the video. The validity of this piece does not necessarily need to be questioned as, like my qualitative research (focus group) it is an opinion that has reinforced my own view of something therefore I believe it was a useful research method.

In doing this research project again I would definitely research and analyse more texts (music videos) and from a variety of artists in order to gain a varied and broader perspective of music videos in the genre of Trip-Hop.


In order to gain background facts and figures on music video audiences, I decided to create a questionnaire and get the students in the focus group I had organised to answer. I felt that to produce a thorough research project (that would inform my music video production) I would have to use a variety of research methods, gaining varied results. The two main aspects of my research being qualitative and quantitative. Whilst qualitative research offers quality and varied results, quantitative research is about asking people for their opinions in a structured way so that you can produce hard facts and statistics to guide you. The questionnaire I created was designed to give me an insight into what peoples opinions on certain aspects of music videos were, for example:

"What do you think makes a music video appealing?" with the multiple choice answers being "Narrative/Lighting/Colours/Clothes/StarImage" etc.

 I felt questions like this would offer quantitative results giving me hard facts and figures, yet would go onto informing my music video production. As I received back the students responses I soon realised this was not the case. I believe the data I collated afterwards was not as useful and informative as I initially hoped. Personally I put this down to the fact I arranged the questionnaire in a multiple choice format. This means that the students opinion is limited to 4 or 5 set answers. Therefore the reliability of my results is questionable.  

Focus Group

After producing sufficient reliable analysis on my chosen genre of music videos, I had done enough research to gain initial ideas about my future music video production. The purpose of the focus group was to gain qualitative data from a primary source, in this case face-to-face communication with A2 film students.

A positive of the focus group was getting the students to write down their thoughts and responses on paper which I would collect in at the end of the session. This was an effective decision as the majority of the students did not answer when asked a question but upon collecting the notes in at the end, I discovered that most of the students had wrote down many ideas they had not shared with the group. One improvement I believe could have been made was to produce an audio recording of the focus group. As it turned out, the notes I collected in was my primary source of the ideas generated by the focus group, however beforehand I did not know it would have gone this way therefore in future I would definitely use an audio recorder to capture the conversations between myself and students as back up. 

To ensure the validity and reliability of the students verbal answers, I would then get the student answering to develop of their answer somewhat, in order for my to gain a clear concise idea and their reason for this. In my opinion, this made the focus group all the more successful as in enhanced the communication between myself and the students in the group, which evidently allowed more thorough results. After the focus group was over I began collating the results I received back. As the data was qualitative not quantitive I found it difficult to analyse them in any structured way as every student said different things about each of the questions asked. There was however, certain points that the vast majority of students wrote down. An example being:

           What imagery would you expect to see in a music video for this style of music?                      (Locations/spaces also)

The vast majority of student that replied with their opinion, said they visualised 'industrial locations' when listening to the music. This is an example of student responses that confirmed my initial ideas on music video codes and conventions. I myself, shared the same view of the students as I felt the music had a ridged beat with a mechanical timbre, therefore an urban, industrial location would I think that results such as this one, were useful in confirming my approach but also reliable as it came from multiple sources. This meant that I could see what people expected to see in this music video, and therefore make it effective and successful. This process was the case for multiple questions that I put forward to the group therefore overall, I feel the Focus Group was a success and played a key role in the production of my music video.


Due to the nature of my production work, quantitive research methods such as questionnaires are not effective in bringing reliable, quality results. As the aim for this research project was to gain inspiration and ideas to take forward into my music video production work, it is evident from my collated results that qualitative research methods such as focus groups proved to be most effective as it gave me the opportunity to gather primary results in the form of student opinions and ideas that essentially went on to inform my music video production. Alongside this was my initial research on music video theory which I then applied when producing in depth analysis of Trip-Hop music videos. I felt that this early primary research using a combination of sources such as books and search engines, allowed me to gain a strong understanding of the theories. This then led to being able to produce thorough and quality analysis of Trip-Hop music videos using Youtube as the main source for this process. It is evident throughout this research project that internet sources have been very effective and useful for my music video production. It is however, vital that these sources should be cross-checked with either other secondary internet sources or books to ensure reliable and valid results.

Improvements to be made:
  • Record audio of focus group as backup method of gathering results
  • Organise a focus group with many more students in to increase both quantity and variety of qualitative results
  • Create a questionnaire with either more options (multiple choice) or give them the chance to write their answer in a 'other' box, ensuring more reliable and quality results.
  • More questions on questionnaire that specifically relate to music video production
  • More variety in music videos chosen for analysis; more thorough and select a number of different artists


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