We made it! 13 weeks and 1 major research project later, BCM212 is done and dusted. Cast your minds back to Week 3 when we were all thinking to ourselves: “Why do we have an assessment task due so early in the semester?” Now we’re submitting our final assessment task for the subject. Below is a visual representation of how I’m feeling right now.
As the title of the post suggests, this will be a personal reflection of my research project entitled: ‘Should voluntary euthanasia be legalised in Australia?’
So, let’s start with the concept of ‘reflexivity’. Reflexivity recognises that we are all participants in trying to understand the world we live in. “It applies exclusively to situations that have thinking participants. The participants’ thinking serves two functions. One is to understand the world which we live in; I call this the cognitive function. The other is to change the situation to our advantage. I call this the … manipulative function” (Soros 2009). Reflexivity helped me to create my proposal for this research project. I wanted to understand the reasons for and against the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia in Australia. This curiosity was driven by the recent passing of my Uncle and Grandmother to terminal illness.
This leads me into ‘critical judgement’. When researching, it is important to evaluate whether the information you’re using is beneficial to your study. I found that the CRAAP Test helped to achieve this. As outlined by the Meriam Library (2010), CRAAP is an acronym for:
- Currency: the timeliness of the information;
- Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs;
- Authority: the source of the information;
- Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content; and
- Purpose: the reason for the information.
I applied the CRAAP Test when conducting background research for my project. You will find that the information I have included is current and relevant; is taken from reliable sources which confirms the validity of the information; and is purposeful to my overall research.
I have also incorporated socially responsible research design into my project. Following the steps outlined by O’Donnell (2011), I created a gantt chart which outlined how I planned to complete this study. I also used the steps outlined by Lozier (2014) to create a risk matrix to identify the probability and severity of risks that may arise whilst conducting this project.
This brings me to my final concept – ‘respect’. Through conducting this research project, I have learnt the importance of axiology. “Axiology is the ethics or morals that guide the search for knowledge and judge which information is worthy of searching for” (Wilson 2008). Before I even began to research my chosen topic, I knew that it would be confronting to some people. Because of this, I made it aware to participants that their involvement in this project was completely voluntary and their responses would remain confidential. I also asked respondents in my online survey for consent to use their answers for further research. Consent is outlined in ‘Respect’ under the 4 Lean Research Principles. “Respectful research places the dignity and delight of the human subject at the centre of the research experience. It offers a clear, intelligible informed consent process, in which research subjects feel truly free to reject participation without fearing negative consequences” (MIT D-Lab 2015). Participants were asked for consent in Question 10 of the online survey.
Applying the above research concepts as well as others highlighted in the course lectures, I believe I have conducted a successful research project. I received a total 56 responses on my online survey which was more than anticipated. The use of an online survey was effective in engaging people in my research project as I could easily share it on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and forums. I also utilised my WordPress blog as a way for participants to track the progress of my research project.
If I was to continue this research, I would conduct face-to-face interviews and focus groups with the different age groups I used in my online survey. I would interview an individual who is currently suffering from a terminal illness and question whether they are for or against the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia in Australia. I would also conduct research into different religious groups’ viewpoints on the topic.
Over the course of this semester, my professional research skills have improved by implementing the course material to this research project. One of the most important concepts I have learnt is respect when conducting research and that you are accountable for how and what you study. Overall, this subject has made me a better researcher which will only benefit me as I continue my university studies.
To conclude, I would just like to thank all of you who participated in the online survey. I truly appreciate you sharing your personal experiences and opinions. Without your input, this research project would not be possible. Thank you to lecturer Kate Bowles and tutor Susan Maloney for your constant encouragement throughout the course of the semester. Your guidance and feedback have made me a better researcher. Finally, thank you to my Uncle and Grandmother for inspiring me to pursue this research project. You both fought until the very end and your resilience and strength have made me a stronger person. For that, I am forever grateful.
If you would like to view my research project report, you can do so here: Matthew Sias – Reflective Portfolio (BCM212 – Assessment 3) [PDF]
Lozier, T 2014, Risk Assessment: Creating a Risk Matrix, SlideShare, 4 April, viewed 23 April 2017, <https://www.slideshare.net/etq/5-mo-riskmatrix-33144347>.
Meriam Library 2010, Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test, California State University, viewed 4 May 2017, <https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf>.
MIT D-Lab 2015, The Lean Research Framework, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, viewed 4 May 2017, <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B36nNXj12OvSMmJhZHRpOHZBMmM/view>.
O’Donnell, J 2011, How to make a simple Gantt chart, The Research Whisperer, weblog, 13 September, viewed 23 April 2017, <https://theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/gantt-chart/>.
Soros, G 2009, ‘General Theory of Reflexivity’, Financial Times, 27 October, viewed 4 May 2017, <https://www.ft.com/content/0ca06172-bfe9-11de-aed2-00144feab49a?mhq5j=e1>.
Wilson, S 2008, Research is Ceremony – Indigenous Research Methods, Fernwood Publishing, Canada.