Outline of Research Process • Phase 1: essential first steps • Phase 2: data collection • Phase 3: analysis and interpretation
Phase 1 • Clarify the issue to be researched and select research method(s). • Essential because a question that is unclear or too broad cannot be answered. • The research method allows the research to be conducted according to a plan or design.
Phase 1 cont. • Clarifying the question and method enables the researcher to be clearer about the data that is needed • Therefore to make a decision about what sample size, or the amount of data, is needed.
Cyborgs: • Interviews : I identified four categories of people to interview: • performers working in the field of cyborg performance art; • disabled people whose bodies had been modified; • scientists making prosthetics; • and the main funders of technological research – the military.
Performers • The first category was relatively easy – I knew people who could put me in touch with these performers, and I quickly secured interviews with two of the leading figures in the field – • Stelarc • Eduardo Kac.
Disabled People • The second category was the most difficult, in many ways, not least because of the ethical dimension of undertaking such interviews. • As it turned out, approaches to the prosthetic department in the university for assistance in identifying potential interviewees went unanswered. • However, one disabled person, Ju Gosling, author of the website “My Not So Secret Life as a Cyborg”, attending a Performance Research conference and giving a paper about her experiences, gladly agreed to give me an interview, and from her experience and awareness of the issues gave me probably a far more insightful interview than I might otherwise have been able to achieve.
Scientists • For the third category I simply made a search on the internet. • Most of the cutting edge prostheticians seemed to be based in the US. • Of particular interest were the very small number of neuro-prostheticians, and the celebrated Utah Array – a tiny chipset that, once implanted in the brain, can both read and transmit signals between brain and computer. • Fascinated, I wrote to its inventor, Professor Richard Norman, in Salt Lake City, and he agreed to give me an interview.
The Military • None of the other scientists I approached was able to grant me an interview at the time but one of them wrote to me to tell me about the forthcoming conference, in Washington DC, run by the US Department of Defence, entitled “Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation.” • This would be perfect for the fourth category. • Having read Ballard’s “Crash” (Ballard 1995) I was already interested in how the car forms an inorganic skin to a specific and very modern role played out by huge numbers of us in the west every time we sit behind the wheel. How much more so would the inorganic skin of a military exoskeleton – a high tech suit of armour - make its impact upon our personalities!?
Phase 2 • Collecting the data • surveys, interviews, literature review, participant observation, etc….. • I undertook the interviews I had arranged, recording them, then transcribing the recordings • I attended the EHPA conference and made copious notes throughout • Summarising and organising the data • Excerpts from and summaries of transcripts • Thoughts arising from notes on conference
Phase 3 • Analysis, interpretation • Relating the data to the research question • Drawing conclusions • Assessing the limitations of the study
Reporting and Writing up • Writing up occurs after the research is done • Not everything that is done is reported • Have to leave some stuff out!! • The research report summarises the activities in such a way that they are clear to the reader, and so the reader could repeat the research.
A Research Report • A Research Report should generally include: • Statement of problem • review of relevant literature • statement of hypothesis or research objectives • description of research design • selection and operationalization of variables • description of sample selection procedure • description of how data was collected • data presented and summarised in words • conclusion, limitations, and implications • bibliography or references cited • appendices
Cyborgs Research Report • The Cyborgs Research Report included: • Statement of problem • statement of research objectives • description of research design • description of how data was collected • review of relevant literature • collected data, presented and summarised in words • conclusion, limitations, and implications • bibliography and references cited • appendices - the interview transcripts and the complete notes from the EHPA conference