Research and Methodology

Research and Methodology

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5214-9.ch007
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As an inter-disciplinary study, the research employs a multi-method methodology, with the focus on a Humanities-based approach. The research design is characterised by a qualitative/quantitative research model, incorporating survey data and in-depth interviews. Purposive sampling has been employed to secure in-depth interviews with published authors and to involve qualified respondents in an online survey. The data obtained in this manner provides the basis for the findings and conclusions in chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11. The chapter considers the purpose and scope of the research and discusses the two-stage strategy used to obtain the data, pointing out the limitations of the research strategy, on the one hand, and the purposeful nature of the information obtained in this manner, on the other.
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Introduction: Purpose Of The Research

In the preceding chapters the concept of authorship and the publishing industry itself have been shown to be constantly evolving. Amidst these changing frameworks, his research sought to address various areas of concern as they relate to Australian authors, who are influenced by Australian and international copyright legislation, the Australian and global publishing industry and by digital media.

In order to investigate authors’ views on copyright and the writing profession in this climate of global economic advancement, various issues were examined, including publishing contracts and licensing agreements, copyright restrictions and digital copyright enforcement. The research also focussed on authors’ perceptions of the current legislative and Government structures, examining whether they sufficiently protected their copyright and provided an adequate framework in which they could be rewarded for their creative efforts.

As foreshadowed in Chapter 1, the research set out to address the following issues:

  • 1.

    How do Australian authors perceive copyright affecting them and does it have any impact on how they practise?

  • 2.

    Do Australian authors believe that the existing copyright framework supports and encourages them in their creative efforts?

  • 3.

    What are Australian authors’ views on the changing nature of the publishing industry and how have they been affected by changes/advances in this area?

By placing the author in the context of a ‘literary sphere’ of creators, a ‘pool’ of data was collected to reflect authors’ views on these issues. Although Australian authors have a national body which promotes their interests in the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), their collective viewpoints remain largely unexamined. The nature of the writing profession as a solitary occupation provided the further incentive to assemble data on the combined perceptions of the author group on the issue of copyright. Did they perceive it to be a legal concept which effectively provided them with financial reward for their efforts, or was it an accepted and intrinsic right that creators had? How were they affected by copyright in their creative pursuits? And as far as digital media were concerned, how did the changes in the publishing industry affect them?


The Research Model

A Multi-Method Approach

In order to address the research topics effectively, a multi-method approach was employed. Although strong elements of socio-legal research are present, the present research can be most accurately described as social research with a legal focus. The research design is characterised by a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, as discussed below.

In this task the use of multiple methods or triangulation (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005, pp. 5-6) assisted with an in-depth understanding of the research issues. In-depth face-to-face interviews with a group of authors, underpinned by qualitative data obtained through online survey questionnaires which were distributed through the Australian Society of Authors and Writers’ Centres throughout Australia, formed the nucleus of the research. This information was supplemented by primary documents such as legislation and publishing contracts, a comprehensive literature review and background research on legislative and publishing issues.

The Denzin and Lincoln view of the qualitative researcher being described as ‘bricoleur and quilt maker,’ a person who assembles images into montages (a method of editing cinematic images), using a variety of methods, strategies and empirical materials (2005, p. 4), was a relevant consideration in structuring the research. The assembling of authors’ viewpoints through in-depth interviews and online surveys, together with legal research, literature review and economic considerations, resembled such a ‘quilt’ as envisaged by these authors. This viewpoint also supported the idea of ‘purposive sampling,’ as described by Patton (2002, p. 235).

This approach proved an effective strategy to incorporate and relate the disparate, yet related areas of discourse, for example, Government support structures for authors, moral rights issues and digital publishing. Three important factors in particular merited consideration, described by Gray, Williamson, Karp and Dalphin as: ‘the type of information to be gathered, the resources available for research and the access to individuals, groups and institutions’ (2007, p. 43). These factors have been taken into account in both stages of the research model, and more particularly, in the construct of purposeful sampling, as proposed by Patton (2002, p. 45) and discussed below.

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