My action research is perhaps the most important part of the research section of my project; without it, the novella I write as my artefact will not be able to hit my brief. As I intend to create the ‘ideal dystopia for a modern audience’, I need to understand the commonly held fears throughout society. This will allow me to tailor my project to the public, rather than just writing a dystopia based on my personal fears and creating a plot which is only effective to myself and people who share my personal views.
I plan to use SurveyMonkey.com due to its good reputation and professionalism as a site. I will be able to email and post the link on social media, allowing me to get as many results as possible.
Obviously, it is impossible for me to meet everybody’s needs as the spectrum of fears and personality is too vast. Therefore, I need to be careful in what I ask to allow myself to create a diverse audience for my project. To do this, I have constructed a plan for my survey and split it into 3 sections:
Section 1: Personal Information
This section will provide insight into the participant’s age, gender, nationality, and other personal information. This is necessary for a number of reasons:
- Creating diversity: without this information, I will not be able to ensure that my dystopian novella is targeting a diverse audience. As stated before, my self-set brief is to create the ‘ideal dystopia for a modern audience’, therefore the plot that I create can only hit the brief if I target modern society as a whole. To do this I need to ensure that I am including answers from the most diverse selection of participants possible.
- Contextual detail: from personal experience, I know that a plot needs to be relatable in order for me to feel emotionally attached to it. As my survey participants will be the implied audience of my piece, I need to ensure that they can relate to it at a personal level in order for the dystopia (and the moral it holds) to be effective.
Section 2: Dystopian Interest
Finding out what dystopian books and films my implied audience already know and enjoy will allow me to get an idea as to what dystopian features are important to them. This will be especially important in deciding which dystopian control to use (ReadThinkWrite, 2006, http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf).
In this section I will also find out what my implied audience feel is most important in a story, particularly focusing on the idea of romance and conflict. This will be important when planning my plot.
Section 3: Fears
The lifeblood of my project. Without fear, you cannot have a dystopia. This section will enable me to learn what the most commonly held fears are towards society and politics, linking them to current affairs to develop an allegory which will stand as the backbone of my novella’s plot.
The Pros and Cons of Action Research and Online Surveys
- Enables me to personalise my novella for my target audience, meaning that the end result will be more interactive, relatable and therefore effective.
- Provides me with accurate data which I can use in my report and presentation.
- The online format provides anonymity, meaning that people should feel more comfortable giving answers. This is particularly important in the case of my EPQ, as fears could be considered a particularly sensitive topic for some people.
- Being online, I can reach participants from all over the world. This will heighten the diversity of my results, providing me with more accurate data.
- Some people may not want to take the time to fill out a survey.
- People may be dishonest in their answers; due to the anonymity, it is impossible to tell whether a participant is being honest.
- There is a possibility of technical issues which may effect my results.