kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kindkit at 06:05am on 29/08/2012
At what university are you conducting your research? In what field? Could you please tell us about your research in more detail? What are you trying to demonstrate/explore with this survey? And, crucially, do you have approval from your institution's IRB or other authority to conduct research on human subjects?

Fandom has been burned more than once by people claiming to be conducting academic research. The last time, it turned out to be in the service of a non-academic book making all kinds of sexist claims about male and female sexuality based in part upon a hideously designed, intrusive survey that they asked fandom people to take.

The lack of concrete information in your post makes me nervous, and I certainly won't take your survey before I see your response to these questions.
hildlos: A picture of books. (Books_2 by Itzik Gur)
posted by [personal profile] hildlos at 09:15am on 29/08/2012
Thank you for asking! I realise that I'm a bit too used to posting on the Internet under a form of anonymity, and so I didn't give any details. I also wanted to keep things short, which may have been a mistake as I left out some information.

I'm with the English department at Trinity College, Dublin, and like I mentioned I'm doing my thesis on fan fiction and popular literature genres. I am examining the definitions and formulas of three popular literature genres (romance, humour, and action/adventure) that are also popular categories on FanFiction.Net, in order to highlight the relationship between popular literature and fan fiction.

I am looking at fan fiction from Doctor Who, NCIS, and Harry Potter in an attempt to determine if fan fiction in these genres follows the same genre conventions as popular literature or if the genres have changed in any way.

With this survey I mostly want two things:
1) It allows me to point at a (pretty limited, but still) set of recent facts for my thesis, such as "what is the gender/age distribution amongst fan fiction readers and writers in these fandoms?"
2) As well as using close reading of fan fiction to study genre conventions, this survey will give me an insight into what fan fiction readers and writers themselves look for when they read or write a genre.

Now, it might have been wiser to try and restrict the survey to fans of these three genres, but trying to gain a bigger overview of fandom and its thoughts on genre was very tempting, and it might yield some interesting results.

As for approval - no, I don't have that, and thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! My supervisor, who suggested I do a survey, didn't mention it, and I didn't think of it - which I should have, since I remember the survey debacle well and was determined not to act like they did... :/

I'll be emailing her now to sort out approval, and if for some reason I don't get it, rest assured that I won't be using this survey.

I hope this helps!

ETA: I've been told to contact someone else; he's apparently out of town right now but I hope he gets back to me soon.
Edited Date: 2012-08-29 10:00 am (UTC)
kindkit: Captain Kirk writing on a PADD, text: "And then they had sex. The end." (Star Trek TOS: Kirk writes fic)
posted by [personal profile] kindkit at 04:29pm on 29/08/2012
Thanks for clarifying things.

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