April 27, 2008

Women and Film: Research Findings Essay

Women and Film: Research Findings Essay

Uma Thurman Kill Bill 1

Powerful woman in control or eroticised male fantasy? Whose gaze is it ?


You should by now have finished off your  research methods essay on 'Women and Film'. you should have discussed the different methods you employed on your project and how effective you thought they were. You should now be ready to write up your research findings

Research Driven by Your Findings  

You will need to make it clear in your introduction that you research was driven by what you found out as you went along (the process). For example you needed to do secondary research in order to start to map the field of knowledge and relate to what has already been found out. 

In doing so you should have engaged a little with the ideas of researchers such as Laura Mulvey, Jackie Stacey and Richard Dyer amongst others. They are dealing with the representation of women in film and how audiences engage with these representations. You should have then chosen your extracts to show audiences informed by some of these theories. Part of what you are trying to find out is how well these theories actually relate to the experiences of real live audiences. This live experience of the audiences is the core of your research findings and your conclusion should be relating how your research findings relate back to the theories and other findings of those who have already been researching in this area.  

Plan of the research findings essay

Introduction - summary of what you will be writing about

Summary of scondary research findings

  • Mulvey & the 'Male Gaze'
  • Stacey & negotiated readings by the audience
  • Dyer & the importance of Stars and Star Theory
  • Secondary research can also involve looking at the cultural reception of a cultural icon. A brief 'google' of 'Lara Croft' Images shows a mass of eroticised images presumably the products of male fantasists which is an intersting area in itself to research
Lare Croft 2

Powerful representation of woman or eroticised male fantasy? Who's gaze is it?

Choice of extracts

How the theories helped you choose specific extracts

  • Explain in some detail how cinematic conventions like camera movement and camera angles might have contributed to the construction of a 'male gaze' by creating the woman as an object of a voyeuristic gaze
  • The extract might also have been a woman in a powerful position. Powerful women action adventure heroes as in Kill Bill or tomb raider could be contradictory offering both a voyeuristic eroticised view and at the same time portrayed a powerful female figure.  One object of your research might have been to see if the male audiences you are using for research read the representation of the women differently to  your female  research audiences.

Results of the Focus Group Research

Here you should be writing up the responses of your focus group (qualitative research) to the extracts which you showed them. Remember to remind the reader about whether these were mixed sex or single sex focus groups. You should have noted if there were different responses from different sexes and genders (some people may have been gendered gay).  You should have noted down responses  which were informal. (Perhaps focus group memebrs shouted comments during the screening which may also have influenced responses).

When you write up the responses you should draw attention to whether these responses fit into the theories and discussions you used in your secondary research.  If they didn't then this is worth commenting upon. It might be an area for further research. (That is how knowledge becomes created). 

You should then say whether these results will influence your questionnaires being used for quantitative research.

Quantitative Research Results

Here remind the reader how many questionnaires you gave out and to whom. If it was in your media class then it was a 'knowing' audience who would have been more aware of cinematic codes and conventions whereas an untutored class may have had different responses.

Summarise your findings and use some basic statistics. You should know what percentage of your sample were male and female for example. You are allowed to take the statistical findings in with you in note form so you don't have to remember them. Accuracy not memory is being assessed here. 

Comparing Results

You should be able to make a comparison of your findings to see if the responses a re tending to agree or whther they tending to diverge.  Your qualitative results might have been very different from the quantitative results for example.


In your overall conclusion you should whther you think that you findings tend to agree with or challenge the previous research work you used in your secondary research. whereever there is a divergence either within your comparison of your own results or these results set against others you need to come up with a possible explanation. It might have been that you didn't organise your focus group very well therefore the results weren't as good as you had hoped for.

Finally in your conclusion you should comment about what you have learned about the whole process of doing social research and how you might improve it in the future.  

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