– Edited on the 4th of September 2020 –
Section 1 – Problematisation approach
Once I discovered the body positive community on TikTok, I found many features that I wish I had come across sooner, features I think others should know. Within in this niche, there are so many sub discussions happening within the community, for example, many women mention having cellulite, not having a flat stomach, stretch marks, acne and other features that aren’t traditionally considered beautiful on the media.
I want to research and observe this community so that I can further understand how certain trends in the community are created. Also, I wonder mostly how the community grew and how it continues to grow. I am curious if these members of this community on TikTok also communicate and create body-positive trends/ content on other social media platforms (I want to do this so I can fall deeper into the community myself and watch body positive content all day long!).
The results I analyse through my future research will be shared, here, on my blog, so that people who don’t know about this niche can learn and hopefully join the community. My target audience will also be for people within younger generations (12 – 30), who grew up and are a part of this current switch in mentality surrounding body images and rejecting society’s unrealistic beauty standards.
I have brainstormed other experiences that I might explore with this research opportunity. I may come across sub-communities within the body positive community on TikTok. I notice that there are mostly female creators on my feed that talk about topics of self-love, but I want to push myself to explore content created by male creators and creators that are also a part of the LGBTQI+ community. I am excited to see what I find!
Section 2 – Research Plan
So, what will I be doing?
I will undertake participatory, covert observations of the body positive community on TikTok, taking detailed notes on what I experience. I will follow trends, live streams, hashtags, popular creators’ accounts, and hopefully discover more avenues within the community.
As Christine and Holloway (2011, p. 151) explained, the data sources for an auto-ethnography are your own diaries and journal entries, where you record your thoughts, emotions, observations, personal stories and vignettes. I believe I will best be able to record my sensory experience including my emotions and observations by using audio recordings and written notes (possibly with some screenshots if needed). This way I can record my voice, capturing the authentic expressions and experiences I have when scrolling through TikTok and quickly note down key notes that will be important for my analysis.
I will also make written summary notes and the end of each session (which can be seen down below in my schedule). This was inspired again by Christine and Holloway (2011, p. 160) when they explained the step by step process into managing your field notes; “organise and order your data”, “break the material into manageable chunks (sentences, groups of words, paragraphs) and label these” and “group similar codes and commonalities together and label these into larger, more embracing categories”. These steps will help me stay organised and not feel overwhelmed later on when looking at my data to make an analysis.
Section 3 – Research Schedule
I will schedule 3 days a week (1 hour each day) for 4 – 5 weeks (I haven’t decided on a set number of weeks yet). Within this time, I will log in to TikTok under my account and scroll through body-positive creators, hashtags, music categories, etc. I will use my phone and then my laptop to allow myself to explore the different experiences between the two different devices.
This is my schedule for what I will be doing each week, including the time increments and devices I will be using:
Although this is a detailed plan, I am open to changing directions if necessary. This point was brought to my attention by Hasbrouck (2018, p. 14) who explained it is important to recognise that the knowledge gained from curiosity is often cumulative, and can sometimes inspire entirely new approaches to initiatives that are completely unrelated to a project’s original objectives. I am open to looking into different objectives if they come up during my research as it would help me build a deeper understanding of the body positive community and possibly bring an interesting new perspective into my analysis. For now though, I have left the schedule at four weeks to have a decent plan to collect enough research to make a basic auto-ethnographic study.
Christine, D & Holloway, I 2011, ‘Ethnography’, Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications, Routledge, New York, pp. 145-164.
Davis, T 2020, I have an addiction., online video, 17 August, TikTok, viewed 6 August 2020, <https://www.tiktok.com/@gleefullytim/video/6861664119368568070?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fkirstyroseyhome.wordpress.com%2F2020%2F08%2F21%2Fmy-research-plan%2F&referer_video_id=6861664119368568070>.
Hasbrouck, J 2018, ‘Cultivating Curiosity’, Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset, Routledge, New York, pp. 9-15.
Marie, T 2020, I’m glad I had another draft Bc the titles got so off after I posted my other one Idek how:( , online video, 9 July, TikTok, viewed 6 August 2020, <https://email@example.com/video/6847288712255048966?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fkirstyroseyhome.wordpress.com%2F2020%2F08%2F21%2Fmy-research-plan%2F&referer_video_id=6847288712255048966>.