Monday, 14 December 2009

Flawed research methodology?

Back to the blog after more than a month's absence which is not good. For the last month, marking, one of the least exciting elements of a lecturer's job, has badly skewed my work-life balance. But I have managed to fit in writing my first academic assignment for more than six years - a critique of a the research methodology of a published paper on the links between media systems in four different countries and levels of public knowledge in those countries. The assignment was for the research methods module I have been doing as part of my PhD research training programme at Sheffield and I found it worryingly easy to critique the methodology of the paper. Worrying for two reasons: a) I may be wrong and my tutor will think I'm at best naive and at worst, stupid or b) I may be right and research papers get published regularly with flawed methodology. We'll see. I won't name the paper until I see what grade I get....

In the meantime, I'm catching up on what else is going on. The BBC hasn't been idle and has launched a new journalism training academy. The BBC Academy is not just for journalists but for all licence payers. All the BBC training materials I've seen are slick and expensive, as befits an organisation with plenty of licence fee money at its disposal. Will university journalism schools buckle under the competition?