The Media is the Method
Research Methods in the Digital Age.
I get to work with some of the most interesting people on earth. Nothing makes me happier than exploring new ideas and making discoveries that might be able to help others. Doing this work means collaboration with teams of experts from different fields. It is incredibly exciting and puts me in contact with people and teams around the world. There is only one problem...
The more we collaborate with people with different expertise, different experiences and different cultural and linguistic backgrounds the harder it is to share the results of our work. As someone who specializes in performance, technology and research methods, I would like to offer a solution. Instead of doing your work and then working on how to present it after you are done, consider that in our current circumstances, full-spectrum media is our common language. That means that old approaches to research methods and publication will not serve your work as well as the realization that:
Media = Research Methods
Research methods in areas that I work in, such as Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Human Robot Interaction (HRI) and performance bring complex knowledge sets together. We capture data in many different ways, and academic associations are increasingly asking for visual and audio support for our work.
Given that we are expected to use media as part of our publication process, try asking yourself this question:
If your project involves computer science, electrical engineering and pyschology, how do you put your team together? Simple, right? You work with an expert from each field. Why is it then that when you turn to publication you slap together media without any attention to expertise.
Next time you do an experiment or start a project consider embedding media from the beginning - as an integral part of your research methods. It will allow you to capture better data, analyze it more precisely, and make the dissemination of your results more effective.
The Media is the Method
Marshal McLuhan's famous phrase "the medium is the message," told us that the medium being used can share as much or more informaiton than the content. If we remember this, we come to realize that media are our primary means of communication. Without expertise in this area your work is doomed to be degraded by being sent through a substandard means of communication.