350MC Working with Photography in Context – Lecture 6

On Tuesday 4th November 2014, for our 350MC Symposium module, we stepped away from our dedicated timetable and adapted our day based around a talk that we had with Shaun Hides about Research Methodologies and Skills. We therefore started the day splitting into our production teams where my group continued with creating the structure for the symposium event in regards to the presentation groups and individual orders. Then, at 11 o’clock (as stated above), Shaun Hides came in to our class and talked to us about Research Methodologies and Skills. After lunch, we then completed the days session by looking through our timetable and adapting it in order for it to fit in better with our current symposium progress. Below you will find the notes from today:

Shaun Hides Talk about Research Methodologies and Skills:

  • Shaun has a more conventional academic research based working background
  • Need to think about academic research the same way you think about practical research
  • Researching is an iterative process – we do it again and again but it’s slightly developed to the time before
  • Inspiration is bullshit – Inspiration comes out of hard work and doing things systematically
  • You shouldn’t read to get the idea – you should read to develop on an idea you already have so that you can contextualize it
  • In a research process you must always be asking a question that can be answered
  • You cannot persuade someone against their opinion
  • You need to be able to come to some form of conclusion – you can come argue against someone’s theory by researching into the subject
  • Find a project that is quite closely designed and specific
  • Who are we trying to speak to and what is the best way that we can present the outcome? – We need to think about the mode of address and the structure of the outcome
  • How do I make it academic? – Don’t use words that you wouldn’t use normally in order to try an appear more intelligent and academic
  • The best academic writers are those that can look at an explain complex ideas and theories but put it across simply
  • When it comes to research, why do it twice? – Use research that is already available to you
  • The source of the information matters profoundly


Discussion about our Research:

  • How do we find the right question?
  • What do I read?
  • What resources are credible?
  • How do we make evaluations of evidence?
  • How do we begin to synthesize and make an argument?
  • How do I make what I’m saying sound rigorous, thoughtful, well argued?
  • How do we end up with an outcome?


Research Recipe:


  • What’s the question? – Should be specific, something I can answer within the time I have and the resources that are available
  • Why does this question matter? Why am I doing this? – We need a question that matters
    • Why does this question matter to me? – If you don’t care about it, no one else will
    • You can argue a specific point if you have research to back up both sides of the argument
    • You want a hook, a “so what?”


  • What do we read, why do read? – When you’ve defined your question, you will need to understand key ideas, how we’re going to use the concept, and evidence for your project (find somebody’s theory that you trust)
    • Concept
    • Evidence
    • Framework
  • Make sure your reading answers the question – if you don’t think it does, leave it for after the project

Tools and Methodology:

  • Your time is a very precious resource
  • Primary research will tell you a lot of things that you didn’t know but wanted to know

Analysis and Interpretation:

  • Framework from your reading will come back into play
  • The interpretation of the evidence should give you sub-headings that will help you answer your question
    • You should have about 3-6 different sub-sections


  • Answer to the question
  • This is what I have found, this is what I can now argue
    • I think [theorist] is wrong because of [x] and I have found research that agrees with this through [explain theories]