13 weeks later and the research project is complete!
Since deciding on my topic and doing a research proposal, I have developed my research project a bit further.
Firstly, I’ve done a lot more background research on the topic and found some very valuable resources that have helped shed some light on previous studies that have been done and theories that have evolved in light of those studies. One in particular has definitely shaped the direction of my research project – Social Media and Credibility indicators: The effect of influence cues’. This study, although primarily based on a look into twitter, established that source credibility has been typically characterised into three dimensions: expertise/competence, trustworthiness and goodwill. This is something that I have used in my survey; using questions to try and get the respondents to evaluate why they believe something is credible compared with something that they believe is not.
Besides my survey, I will also be conducting a small focus group session with a minimum of 5 people, in which I am to give them 3 different articles by three different sources, but on the same topic. I will then ask the participants to place the articles in order of most credible to least credible (in their opinion), and to explain their reasons for doing so. This will hopefully give greater insight into the reasoning behind the individual’s filtering process and will give further insight into my research topic – how millennials use social media for news and how we determine what news is credible.
Where to from here? I will need to collect and analyse the data from both my survey and focus groups, and do some more secondary research into the topic, collate all the information together and finalise the research report!
The ‘fake news’ phenomenon was brought to the forefront of conversation during and after the 2016 US Presidential Election, particularly in President Trump’s first address as President. It brought more awareness to the authenticity of what news sources were saying, and in effect, the trust in truthful journalism was and remains, threatened.
I found that calling out news sources across the world and claiming that they are either ‘fake news’ or that the stories they produced are ‘fake news’, to be interesting in todays media climate – where we aren’t restrained to print news but rather have an abundance of sources literally at our fingertips 24/7. It made me question the news sources that I heavily rely on to keep up to date and informed – Were they telling the truth? Was anyone fact-checking them? and even more importantly, what were the news sources that I consumed on a daily basis?