CHOOSING YOUR RESEARCH SOURCES

Brief summary of activity

This activity will look at different types of sources that can be used to research specific topics for radio programmes.

Aim of the activity

To identify different kind of sources available outside the ‘experts’ being used by mainstream media.

Expected Outcomes

The following activity will make the group aware of the different research sources that are available and important to community radio producers.

experience and skills required

Trainer needs to have a broad knowledge of research sources and an understanding of the community radio ethos when it comes to define relevant information sources.

infrastructure, setting, resources

training room with chairs.
Playback equipment.

Length

60 minutes

Materials

Flipchart and markers, writing Materials for Learners (not for vision impaired).
Recordings from commercial and public service current affairs programmes

How the activity should take place

Play recordings from commercial and public service current affairs programmes. Ask your participants to note where the information is coming from and who is being interview or the information being attributed to. Ask participants where most of the information comes from.

Sourcing tends to reflect the distribution of power in society (Statutory bodies and governments institutions feature more than voluntary sector). The result is a reinforcement of the dominant ideology and to set the agenda.

Going back to the previous sources exercise, ask participants to list alternative sources to those used by commercial and public service media that might offer information on the same issue but from a different point of view. Distribute handout Alternative Sources and discuss it with participants.

Ask participants what they expect from the information being offered to them by media. Note it on the flipchart. Trainer might prompt: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness)

Ask participants what skills would be required to become a good researcher. Some of them should be

• Knowledge of the media law and regulations
• being suspicious of all sources
• good Communication Skills
• Curiosity
• Ask all the questions
• Be prepared
• Read plenty
• protect your sources
• Remember the 5 Ws + H (Who did What, Where, When and Why and How it was done)

Recommended max. number of participants and trainees to trainers ratio

10 to 1
4 to 1 for Vision Impaired/blind learners and trainees with learning difficulties.

Variations

The trainer could use a print out of the front page of news agencies from one date and then play headlines or bring newspapers from the day after and discuss how new agencies control the flux of information and the editorial decision of what is news.

Tips for Trainers

Try to keep the focus of the activity on the discussion around sources, as in many occasions participants tend to discuss the content of the news item.

This workshop has a media literacy lining , as t is also worth briefly returning to the definition of Community Media here - pointing out that community radio considers that individuals that live specific situations are the real ‘experts’. Also that community radio tends to draw their sources from the community and organisations and groups under-represented in media outputs.

Analysis and evaluation

Trainer should evaluate whether participants are aware of the different research sources that are available and important to community radio producers.

Scheduling

Before interviewing. As part of the research module.
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