2018/19 Project Abstracts

Clarke: The psychological (cognitive/behavioural) impact of social media interactions and Brexit on the public: Thematic Analysis

Social media is widely used in today’s society. Research suggests that social media was a key entity in the result of swaying public opinion in relation to the EU referendum. The objective of this study was to explore themes which highlight the impact that social media and Brexit has had on the public domain. This was orchestrated through a series of 10 sourced newspaper articles which all focused on social media, the referendum and the influence it had on the UK. A thematic analysis using Braun and Clarke (2006) identifies themes across all sources that contributed to our understanding of campaigning, strategy and the impact of social media because of Brexit.

Dogan: Past racial experience on academic development

Many researchers have examined the effects of racism on the academic performance and the mental and physical health of ethnic minority groups, and the importance of focus on the psychological support.  These studies were focused in America and Canada, and lack of research on the effects of racism is apparent on the academic development of ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom. Fourteen participants from different backgrounds of origin were interviewed using semi-structured interviews to examine their experiences of racism in high school and college on their academic development. Whether individuals’ academic development was impacted negatively or positively by the experience of racism in high school and college was based on interindividual differences. Findings revealed that some individuals were demotivated from studies due to their experiences of racial discrimination, and some were motivated to perform better academically to avoid and break the negative racial stereotypes. Implications for these results and future research are further discussed.

Farmer: Breaking news: The discursive power of the press and migrant representation during the EU referendum

Previous research highlighted an absence of investigations into the representation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the media and how media power is used during a period of political upheaval. Therefore, this research uses Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1995) and Framing Analysis (Pan & Kosicki,1993) to investigate the power of the media during the 2016 EU Referendum. This study qualitatively analysed thirty-five articles which debated topics of social and political interest. The analysis showed there were specific frames used within all articles that contributed to the influence the content had on the reader. This includes themes of nationalism and patriotism, blame, references to famous individuals and the power that knowledge has. It was concluded that the media is often used as a surveillance device, created by the elite in society, in order to maintain inequalities and promote social classification and the emergence of social identity. Limitations of this research saw that readers are not passive agents and often analysis is based on interpretation leading to different findings dependant on the individual researching. Future research should investigate how migrants are used in the media to re-claim their social identities during political upheaval, as well as investigating the relationship between the public and politicians.

Gravell: A thematic analysis of the gender stereotypes and diversity of children’s television programmes from the 1960s compared to present day 2019

Gender stereotyping is a big problem in the media, not only for adults but also for children and their understanding of sexuality and gender. This paper aims to explore four popular children’s television programmes from the 1980s to present day and determine if there are any differences in what gender roles and language are being used. Using Braun and Clarkes (2006) thematic analysis four main themes emerged; Empowering and Emotive Language vs Strong Male and Female Role Models, and Sexist Use of Language vs Superiority in Male Characters. Future research needs to go into how this apparent gender discrimination can affect a child’s subconscious and what implications this might lead to later in life, it would also be interesting to explore how children’s traditional toys, books and films have changed throughout time and what differences there are now.

Hilton: Is the implicit racial prejudice and subsequent subtle racism portrayed in ‘Get Out’ representative of the real-life experiences of its writer-director, and lead actor? And, what are the wider impacts of implicit racial prejudice and subtle racism on the Black American community?

In 2017 social thriller ‘Get Out’ (Peele, Blum, McKittrick & Hamm, 2017) was released; it depicted the experiences of the Black community and cinematically portrayed the subtle racism they are frequently subjected to in real life. A conversation was sparked, and White audiences were forced to consider the probability that they hold implicit racial prejudice which seeps into their consciousness and subsequently influences their behaviour during interracial interactions. ‘Get Out’ (Peele, Blum, McKittrick & Hamm, 2017) plays on the sinister undertones of implicit racial prejudice and subtle racism to create a jump-inducing but thought-provoking film. This research paper uses Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to identify whether the subtle racism portrayed in the film is a reflection of the real-life experiences of its writer-director, Jordan Peele, and lead actor Daniel Kaluuya and to what degree it is representative of the Black American community’s experiences with subtle racism. The paper will conclude with a review of the evidence that identifies the wider impacts of implicit racial prejudice and subtle racism on the psychological and physical well-being of the Black American community. Although deemed polite ‘chit-chat’ by White Americans, subtle racism and the implicit racial prejudice it represents have unfortunate consequences for those subjected to it and Western society as a whole.

Wellington: An interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the BAME perspective of BAME educational achievement

The Office for National Statistics (2018) has undoubtedly provided accounts for the underachievement of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. The disparities in educational achievement have often been explained through socio-economic factors. Much research has found contrasting perspectives surrounding BAME underachievement, some explaining underachievement as a mere lack of representation. Whereas others considered identity and discrimination that BAME students are subject to. However, this paper explores three important aspects that have been shown to influence the academic attainment of BAME students. This is illustrated with three major components, success is subjective, educational expectations and the BAME perspective of the educational system. Using semi-structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis the purpose and value of school is examined, whilst taking into consideration the experiences and factors that can prohibit or encourage BAME academic success. The lived experience of BAME undergraduates was captured and results show that the purpose of school has now transgressed into an institution that is form of loco parentis. This was shown with the overwhelming desire for students to be educated surrounding other issues, aside from academia, examples include workplace skills. Furthermore, class was explored and the socio-economic disadvantages, that a mass number of BAME students are subject to. This was considered to negatively impact academic achievement. These perspectives have implications in intervention programmes and workshops in schools to improve the academic achievement of BAME students.

Yusuf: Religious influences on self-esteem and self-worth: An interpretative phenomenological exploration

Although the association between religiosity and life satisfaction is well documented, much theoretical controversy surrounds the question of how religion serves as a dominant function in shaping social processes such as self-esteem. Existing literature provides a substantial amount of research on factors that influence self-esteem yet many have ignored the influence of religion. Given the significance religion plays in the lives of others, it can be argued an individual’s spirituality and beliefs can impact perceptions of self-worth. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), this study offers an insight into the factors that influence self-esteem by conducting interviews on six students at University of Roehampton. The results indicated media, religion, family and friends to all have a significant influence on self-esteem and character. The relationship between media and religion on self-esteem was most profound with a large proportion of participants commenting on its dominant influence. Future consideration of religion serving as a social identity and a belief system that effects an individual’s self-worth, may facilitate better understanding of the variability in its importance across all populations.