a reflection on bcm212

From doing BCM241 (media ethnographies) in a previous semester I had the idea that qualitative research was quite hard and time consuming. When it came to taking on this subject at first, I want at all enthused. But after getting told I was allowed to work in a partnership, my worries eased. As well as finding a topic I was actually interested in, and cared about really actually helped me move along this seamster through all the assessments. If I didn’t choose a topic that I could relate too, I really wouldn’t have been as involved in BCM212 as I was.

What was challenging about the work itself was pushing surveys on the BCM212 cohort, everyone needed their survey done, and it felt like even if I was doing survey after survey, I still wasn’t getting traction on my own (in our final tally we only has 35 people do our survey), even if i was posting day after day about it.

What was beneficial about starting with the risk matrix was being able to recognize all these “failure” or problems beforehand, before the research actually began. Doing that made it easy on me to say, “hey, i knew this might be coming, and thats ok.”

The biggest hurdle of all through BCM214 was this final assessment, I don’t know if I feel confident about the direction of my opinion piece, as well as not knowing if i “assessed” my final research correctly. But overall I did find this subject really beneficial for researching audiences and social media patterns, I know that I will have to use what i’ve learnt here in my future careers.

my final thoughts; does fashion influence academic performance?

The choice someone comes too about their appearance when preparing to face the world matters. Even if someone doesn’t care for others’ opinions on their appearance, they still take their own opinions into account. If someone heavily takes the criticism of others to heart, they take that into account when choosing what to wear. When looking at fellow students, it’s important to be aware that each individual has an identity, some choose to reflect their personality visually through their clothes, but other might want you to try and know them through conversation rather than at first glance. This study was to show just that, for students to be aware of their own behaviour as well as their fellow students.

In early research of the project, my partner Chelsea and I looked at the effect of fashion on someone’s confidence in an article by Joanne Entwistle, “Fashion and the Fleshy Body: Dress as Embodied Practice”. Here I was able to define fashion as a “general term which can be used to refer to any kind of systematic changes run social life, in architecture or even academia: the fashion system as it pertains to dress refers to a particular set of arrangements for the production and distribution of clothing”. Fashion does not only protect one’s modesty and their body, but it has the ability to create an identity. An example of the “importance” of clothing is the “flasher”, it is illegal for someone to streak, to strip off their clothing garments, is defined as an ” indecent exposure”. This illustrated that there is a microsocial order when it comes to clothing. There is a mutual understanding of what is socially accepted and what isn’t. (Entwistle, J 2000) Therefore, when a student is preparing for a day at university, what they chose to wear matters.­

Looking solely at our interviews, it was amazing to see the depth that could be taken with the answers from our survey. We asked seven questions to each participant that mirrored questions from our survey to gain a deeper collection of understanding and data. We had a pool of 35 participants. Of those, 51% agreed that fashion does affect confidence in the classroom, 22% said no to the idea and 22% couldn’t say yes or no.  Therefore, there is a majority that believe what we sought to discover is true that it does affect students, but there is 8% who questioned the depth of how far it can affect a student. The wide range of answers from our survey allowed us to see this clash of opinions. 

When looking into our overall findings its clear to say the subjects we interviewed, differ from those who took the survey. Four participants from the survey agreed to an interview, which is 11% of our overall pool of participants in this study. Of those 4 all agreed that fashion was a part of their identity, where they could express themselves and enjoy doing so through their clothing. All also agree that confidence would be linked to one’s appearance and their ability to feel more confident in a classroom setting. “At best, the argument is made that because a range of individuals were tested, it was at least possible to identify a range of problems with the item – or to at least gain a comprehensive understanding of the manner in which it can be expected to function” (Willis, G. Boeije, H 2013), we didn’t end up with as large of a range as we hopes, but what was interesting about the range we did have was that though similar in mind sets, each individual has something different to say on the matter.

As an interviewer…

As an investigator I knew that I had to take an unbiased approach, I found that the positive reinforcement did allow me and my partner to not be limited in the data we were collecting if the interviewee felt more comfortable. Each interviewee had a different approach when asked why they dress the way they dress. Here I’ve used code names to decipher the different participants, BABS said they dress for self-expression, AN said they dress to inspire others as well as just for themselves but overall, it depended on their mood LM said something similar in stating that fashion is one’s identity for them, they feel the most themselves when they’re wearing what they love. While PEFF said they dress more socially, for instance and to quote, “I’m a fan of wearing like fan merchandise items because a lot of the friends I made through Uni are through fandom so if I’m wearing like cool shoes and a top someone might be able to come up to be and be like oh I like that”, which I find as a very interesting bundle of approaches to ones dress – each participant has a differing view. 

Our findings after each interview, we made sure were presented in a clear and systematic way. This made us thing logically about the way we presented our findings, which also included an overall summary. When looking at each data collection side by side it was interesting to see how similar, yet how difference the participants answered, also being allowed to speak more freely than clicking options in a survey allowed us as a research team to look at the spectrum of answers that could lie in one question. In our survey It showed that no one chose professionalism solely on its own for the influence it has on fashion choice, yet in our interviews it was chosen by 50% of our participants. It was explained that perhaps certain University disciplines have different styles of dress based on their concept of professionalism and how to best present themselves going towards their future careers.Do your fashion choices affect your academic performance? As a biased viewpoint of my study, I do believe fashion and the way someone choose to present themselves influences first their confidence which in turn influences the way they interact in class. No, I don’t believe it is a stand-alone factor, but it is a heavily influence, if you feel comfortable in your own skin, you’ll feel comfortable where you are. 

Entwistle, J 2000, ‘Fashion and the Fleshy Body: Dress as Embodied Practice’, Fashion theory, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 323–347.
Willis, G & Boeije, H 2013, ‘Reflections on the Cognitive Interviewing Reporting Framework: Efficacy, Expectations, and Promise for the Future’, Methodology, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 123–128.

do fashion choices affect academic performance?

BCM212 | Pitch

How does fashion…

  • Affect a student’s classroom potential?
  • Change one’s perception of themselves to the outside world?
  • Influence the potential of friendships and relationships?
  • Change the way a student performs academically?

My partner, Chelsea, and I have chosen to investigate the topic of fashion choices in the learning environment. More specifically how does outer appearance affect a students classroom potential in the way they approach University.

Fashion is everywhere. Whether it’s done with intention or in an accidental way – we’re surrounded by it. People actively choose what to wear or what not to wear, to stand out or to blend in, to spend a lot or spend very little on what they wear. Fashion as defined by Entwistle, is a “general term which can be used to refer to any kind of systematic changes run social life, in architecture or even academia: the fashion system as it pertains to dress refers to a particular set of arrangements for the production and distribution of clothing” in which she goes on to say was born out of historical and technological developments in Europe. (Entwistle, J 2000) To speak broadly, young people can use fashion to discover who they are or who they are not. The teenage years, and early twenties have the potential for experimental fashion choices to be made before entering the “real world” and establishing ones self in society. González says, “On the stage of everyday life, the performer declares what he is… to do this, he provides himself with complex equipment ranging from the furniture of his home to his clothes Among all other objects, what fits to our body – the dress and its accessories – has, however, a status“. Fashion in clothing could mean everything to someone, but it could mean absolutely nothing to someone else.

Do students choose to focus on what they wear as to suggest their personality through their fashion, are they dressing to attract relationships and friendships or does practically influence their decision for example by the weather report for the day or how much walking they have to do. We are not going down the path of dress codes and their effects, because our University doesn’t have one for attending students – but investigating perhaps if there is an unspoken “dress code” and what factors contribute to this.

When quickly running some simple Twitter Polls to find out if there would even be a topic to research – we found a bag of mixed responses from our fellow students. The idea of dressing practically was a majority of those who replied with answers, but we had a lot of people sitting on the fence about how much their clothing choices mattered to them.

Our research methodologies will be both qualitative and qualitative, using surveys and questionaries to support our interview focus group. We will be following the guide provided by Rosanna Breen to accurately and appropriately construct our focus group. We are aware of the risk of a focus group research approach as we are in “Covid-19 times’ ‘, as researchers we’ll have to rely on everyone showing, through further investigation we will see if we conduct these groups virtually or in-person. Throughout all it is important to be sure our participants are going to give us what we want.(Breen, R L, 2007) Focus groups will be useful to reveal through interaction the beliefs, attitudes, experiences and feelings of participants, together opposed to if we just do individual interviews alone. (Litosseliti, L 2003) Because this is our approach we will need to revisit our knowledge in ethics to appropriately record our answers. After all this preparation we will carefully instruct questions and surveys for University students who go to campus, particularly those of the BCM212 cohort, to answer and participate in.

Fashion means something to my partner Chelsea and I. I’ve always had an interest in fashion, and how it makes me feel about myself, and how that then projects out to the world. To me, my fashion choices really do matter, particularly if i’m attending a place where I’m given the chance to openly be who I want to be, dress how I want to with like minded people in my classroom. I wanted to participate in this research study to know what my fellow students think, is it similar to my mindset or is it completely different?

– Breen, R.L, 2007, ‘A Practical Guide to Focus-Group Research’, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol 30, Issue 3, pp. 463-475
– Entwistle, J 2000, ‘Fashion and the Fleshy Body: Dress as Embodied Practice’, Fashion theory, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 323–347.
– González, AM, & Bovone, L (des) 2012, Identities Through Fashion: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London
– Litosseliti, L 2003, Using focus groups in research, Continuum, London ; pp 16

introducing me


Hi! I’m Hannah.

I’m in the third year of my degree, but I still have one more year after this one to go as I did my first year part time. I’m from South-West Sydney and I like to drive to campus as driving is my “music therapy” time.

One idea I had about uni before I got here, is i’d be getting the experience I saw in the movies – the bustling hub of young like-minded people, an independent education experience. Not so much the party experience you see from Hollywoods idea of college but more the aspect of getting to be uniquely me and be an individual in a learning environment where I got to choose what area to study.

I asked someone who hasn’t yet gone to Uni their thoughts about the image of a “uni student”, and they believed the student would be excited transitioning from high school. Anticipating because it would be a place to meet new people and learn about real life issues that affect current affairs. – which was exactly my thoughts before I started. I was so excited to label myself as a University student, maybe that just the quirky girl in me.

Until next time!
Hannah 🤗