Although at first my blog was simply an alternate place for my teacher to view my work, as my research progressed, it became an important place for me to reflect upon and refine my research, as well as developing my digital literacy. By using the catagorisation feature of my blog, I catagorised my source analyses separately on my blog, making it easy for me to look over what I had done, with headings helping me to quickly see which processes I had covered and where I needed to go next. Furthermore, as I posted a reflection on a source with each source analysis, my blog helped me document important ideas that came up in each source, as well as questions that each source raised. Keeping track of these questions was perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the blog as a quick review of my blog posts helped me to easily see what questions I still hadn’t answered and thus helped me select my next sources and processes. Through these reflections, my blog helped me to continually step back and try to see the bigger picture of my research, which helped key ideas become clear very early in my research, which then allowed me to select research processes and sources highly valid to my research. Posting information on my blog also helped me to examine my understanding of the topic as my research continued, with my later blog posts highlighting my understanding of how my research was beginning to fit together. This was aided by the usage of hyperlinks, linking my posts to previous posts or to online sources that I was discussing. Blog posts also highlighted the contradictions in my research, giving me an opportunity to grapple with contradictory viewpoints regarding my topic. For example, some sources argued that the ASX program is successful, whereas others labelled it a band-aid method. Through considering these topics in reflections on my blog, I was able to recognise the differing perspectives and criteria used to judge the success of the ASX program, with helped me not only to learn about the criteria used to judge the success of a program, but also how different perspectives, like that of a female worker or that of a reporter, had opinions based on different criteria (for example, a female worker my look more at the current implications, like tokenism, whereas the ASX organisation looks at the future of a more balanced workforce). By recognising this, I was also able to recognise my own bias when making judgements and formulating my own criteria, and using my blog was crucial to me not only recognising this, but also to my hopefully unbiased application of these judgements in my Outcome. Finally, my blog provided a platform through which I could link to other academics. When approaching experts for interviews, showing them my blog evidenced my seriousness about the topic and gave a me credibility as a student which I may not have otherwise had. Thus, using my blog as a journal, a place to document and reflect upon my research was highly beneficial to my planning, development, and analysis of my research.
Today, as I was commencing my evaluation and giving my outcome a final proofread, I was re-examining my question and realised that it didn’t quite fit my outcome. Phrasing my question as a ‘to what extent’ type of question didn’t really fit what I had written in my outcome. I felt that throughout my outcome, I had been more concerned with whether gender quotas were a good idea, rather than whether they impact equality to a certain extent. Furthermore, I also compared gender quotas to other possible solutions, which caused me to think about using a more comparative questions. Thus, I have refined, my question to better fit my research and my outcome. My final question is:
‘Would gender quotas on boards be the best solution to gender inequality in Australian workplaces?‘
Recently, I was working out and divvying up the word count for my outcome, and I came to the realisation that I didn’t quite have enough words to do justice to each of my four key findings. After I realised this, I sought the advice of a fellow research project student, who encouraged me to try and merge two of my key findings, to enable me to give more words to my other key findings. Thus I have decided to merge my ‘preferential issues’ key finding and ‘impact on women’ key finding as I feel that they cover many of the same issues and thus can be merged together. Thus, now my three key findings are:
- Systemic Issues
- Preferential Problems
- Flow-on Effects
Now that I have removed one key finding, I can devote 400-600 words to each key finding (excluding in-text references) which will enable me to do a solid analysis of the issues present in each key finding and thus write a more substantial outcome.
‘To what extent would gender quotas on boards be beneficial to gender equality in Australian workplaces?’
After much consideration and collating of my research, I feel that I have now managed to settle upon a question. Although, it is quite likely that I will change the wording of it slightly as I finalise and draft my outcome, I feel that this question is the one that best encapsulates the research that I have undertaken and that my research will best allow me to answer. A benefit of this question is that it will allow me to weigh up positives and negatives of gender quotas on boards and look at different perspectives, which will hopefully increase the quality of my outcome. This question will also enable me to be able to discuss several issues surrounding gender equality in the workplace, but without letting my outcome become too wide-ranging, and thus of a lower quality. From here, I intend to start planning my outcome, with my aim to get a plan finished by the end of this week, ready to start writing my draft on Monday. To make this plan, I will be using my various summaries, and summaries of summaries, as indexes of my sources analyses allowing me to efficiently go back and find various quotes and statistics regarding my key findings.
After combing through my source summaries multiple times, I was able to include the vast majority of them in four main key findings, after first collating them in smaller themes. To further explain this process, I began by going through (with different coloured highlighters/pens/pencils) the summaries of each source and underlining/highlighting common ideas between sources. These collations were organised then on a separate document, to give me a better idea of how large each theme was. After doing this for several themes I began to realise that my themes were too narrow, as I had already come up with five themes, and still had several to go. The next logical step, was to then merge some of these smaller themes into larger key ideas (however, I have kept the notes separate, in case I intend to use them as smaller subheadings in my outcome).
Thus, my four key ideas (still subject to re-wording, of course) are:
- The necessity of gender diversity
- The impacts on women through the workplace
- Systematic issues or lack thereof
- Issues associated with preferential selection
My next step from here is to try and finalise my question so that I can ensure that whilst writing and planning my outcome I am able to link very explicitly to my question.
Although I was not actively looking for sources recently, gender quotas and issues are always something I seem to be reading about over the last six months, so whilst searching for sources for a different subject I came across this one. Whilst not a large source, and one that does not directly address quotas or ethics, this source does address the barriers that women face in workplace and how they affect women’s capability for advancement, something that I have not been able to find much of, apart for Mara’s sources. This source also is only the third blog-like source that I have used, so it does also broaden the variety of research methods that of have used. As this source references a Harvard Business School study, it is reasonably reliable and credible, and its new statistics regarding the way that women are affected by husbands and children are something that will be very useful in my outcome.
Cueto, E 2014, Women’s Careers Are Not As Negatively Affected By Babies As We Think – But Husbands Are Another Story, Bustle, accessed 30 July 2016, <http://www.bustle.com/articles/50035-womens-careers-are-not-as-negatively-affected-by-babies-as-we-think-but-husbands-are>.
Throughout the holidays, and into this term, I have been beginning to collate my research and synthesise the key ideas, and then to refine my question. To commence this process, I have been making short source summaries to help make the larger ideas more obvious, and to be able to better sort my ideas by source. From here, I plan to highlight recurring ideas and then collate them in a separate document so that I can see how the sources inter-link, and perhaps, depending on what I feel is required, make a mind map to better illustrate these connections. This should illustrate the key themes of my research, as well as demonstrating any areas where I need further research to create a better outcome and a more solid understanding of of the topic. This process should also form the basis of the plan of my outcome, and will hopefully be very useful when I come to writing it. Finally, this process will help me refine my question, and thus ensure that the information that I have gathered actually answers the correct question.
This source is another one of the sources that I found and printed a while ago, yet did not get the opportunity to properly analyse until recently. I this source contains a new perspective and new ideas, something that I did not expect from it, however, given its nature as an ASX publication, I needed to ensure that I remained aware of potential biases. One of the new ideas that I gained from the source that I feel is particularly important was the idea that the lack of flexibility of quotas could create a less real or lower quality diversity which is something that I have not seen before and would like to research further. As this source is published by the ASX it is very positive about the current ASX reporting requirements, a bias that I needed to be aware of, however it did provide some strong arguments supporting the Australian method that will be useful in my research.
Australian Stock Exchange 2013, ASX diversity guidelines are working, accessed 14 July 2016, <http://www.asx.com.au/education/listed-at-asx/diversity-guidelines.htm>.
Although a very short source, this source, a comment from the 100% Project regarding a recent Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) report is interesting and useful. This source has provided some example of where targets (in this case 30%) have been both successful and unsuccessful, and provides statistics to support the more qualitative claims of some other sources. Furthermore, this AICD report is something that I would like to locate and research further, as I feel it could provide some highly pertinent information. However, I do feel that I am ending my research, and must now start to finalise my question and ensure that my last few sources stay on topic and do not go down an unrelated tangent.
Comparing the gender diversity of ASX 200 listed company boards. 2016, 100 Per Cent Project, accessed 22 June 2016, <http://the100percentproject.com.au/2016/04/comparing-the-gender-diversity-of-asx-200-listed-company-boards/>.
Why we exist 2016, 100 Per Cent Project, accessed 11 July 2016, <http://the100percentproject.com.au/why-we-exist/>.
This source is very current (published 25 May 2016) and is linked to the recent KPMG report regarding the success of the Australia’s current ‘comply or explain’ approach to gender equality. As well as inspiring a new source, the KPMG report, this source has been able to support some claims made in other sources through using statistics as well as enhancing my understanding of the topic. Furthermore, this source has drawn my attention to the ways that companies actually comply with Australia’s regulations and what they disclose, which has highlighted some shortfalls (lack of initiative) as well as benefits (a greater scope of softer programs) of the ‘comply or explain’ approach. Thus this source was able to develop my ethical understanding capability by highlighting how companies apply, formulate, and report on their ethical policies and how these positions are argued.
Khadem, N 2016, ‘ASX 200 companies pay lip service on gender diversity: report’, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May, accessed 22 June 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/asx-200-companies-pay-lip-service-on-gender-diversity-report-20160523-gp1lmv.html>.