When conducting research projects, it is essential to think ethically and how your research could affect those you choose to include. Whether that be through interviews, surveys, photography or validity and reliability of research, there are standards that a researcher will have to adhere to. The MEAA Journalism Code of Ethics showcases various ways to remain ethical when publishing research and especially respecting those that choose to be an interviewee or involved in the research process.
Some codes that stand out for my project, in particular, are (MEAA, 2019):
- Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply
- Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
- Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice
- Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
As I plan to include various photographs of fan tattoos and interview them on their purpose, where their ideas came from, and whether or not they shared their tattoo on social media. Potential interviewees may have some sensitive material on the background of their tattoo, which will need to be dealt with utmost care.
When I decided to get my tattoo that correlates with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was a spur of the moment; however, the show itself had a significant impact on my life as a teen that helped shape the woman I am today. This is the primary reason I decided on the tattoo that now resides on my left shoulder blade. Though I didn’t share my own tattoo online, it is how I came across the idea when I searched for ‘Buffy tattoos’ on Pinterest.
The fact that I have a deep personal connection to the tattoo, it’s meaning and my experience with interacting with other fans in the online platform, I am fascinated to see the process other fans go through when deciding to get a fan tattoo. Furthermore, this is why I will be using a mix of autoethnography and online observation and interviews to gauge the trends that seem to appear with fandom tattoos.
Coming across a blog by Susan Kresnicka (2016) really solidified the motivation behind this research project. The quote states “You don’t get that tattoo because you are a fan of something in the book, you get that tattoo because that book is a fan of something in you.” from a close friend of Kelly Sue DeConnick regarding the plethora of tattoos, related to her works, she was being emailed. Tattoos are memories, artwork, commemorations and full of meaning. By dedicating research into media fandoms and how they create and share accordingly online will allow the space to navigate its real implications.
Kresnicka, S 2016, ‘Why Understanding Fans is the New Superpower’, Variety, weblog post, 2 April, viewed 12 October 2019, <https://variety.com/2016/tv/columns/understanding-fans-superpower-troika-1201743513/>
MEAA 2019, MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: https://www.meaa.org/meaa-media/code-of-ethics/ [Accessed 12 Oct. 2019].