BCM210 Research Project Proposal

In this research project I wish to explore the extent to which students follow nutritional advice presented in social media outlets. As social media has an increasing impact on the way in which we choose our lifestyles, I wanted to research into how university students process the nutritional information they see on social media and find out which advice they follow and why.

In order to carry out this project I will interview university students to acquire qualitative and quantitative information. By conducting face to face interviews with open ended questions, as well as, conducting surveys with multiple choice answers in order to find quantitative research.

I have carried out preliminary reading in order to gain some understanding on the topic. Similar research has been carried out by ER Carrotte in the Journal of Medical Internet Research called Predictors of “Liking” Three Types of Health and Fitness-Related Content on Social Media: A Cross-Sectional Study. This study looked into how many young adults between the ages of 15-29 followed diet and fitness related social media. It found that 37% of young adults followed these forms of social media and of this group 85% were female. The study concluded that social media has an effect on young adults and that there is a need to ensure that the health messages being spread through social media need to be responsible and accurate.

A similar article by Mitchell Vaterlaus called #Gettinghealthy: The perceived influence of social media on young adult health behaviors, discusses the way in which social media influences health behaviours, as well as, the positive and negative effects of social media on how young adults make positive food choices. It indicated that young adults believe that health and fitness advice can be inspirational or it can be misused depending on context. This article has a similar basis to the first and provides an understanding surrounding the research I am proposing to conduct.

In my research I will ask the opinions of university students on the types of health related information they have come across on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I will also gather information on the opinion university students have on this type of information on social media and its reliability.

A specific article by Emma Jayne Abbots called It’s not what you eat but how and that you eat: Social media, counter-discourses and disciplined ingestion among amateur competitive eaters details the how social media is used by amateur competitive eaters in order to challenge and subvert mass media representation. This article delves into a more specific way in which social media is used and how it impacts others. Finally a qualitative research project carried out by V Bissonnette-Maheux called Exploring women’s beliefs and perceptions about healthy eating blogs: a qualitative study looked into the way in which women used social media and highlighted the benefits and the negative impacts of using a healthy eating blog. This research indicated that women valued the use of this form of blog, but also found there were negative aspects to it.

Through preliminary reading I have gained some understanding that will allow me to create a point of focus on my research project. I will conduct both face to face interviews asking opinions on examples of nutritional advice on social media as well as general opinions. Furthermore, I will be conducting online surveys that will further improve the accuracy of my results as they will provide qualitative research. Through this research project I wish to establish the way in which social media effects university students’ perceptions and choices in regards to diet and lifestyles.

 

 

References

Abbots, E, & Attala, L 2014, ‘It’s not what you eat but how and that you eat: Social media, counter-discourses and disciplined ingestion among amateur competitive eaters’, Geoforum, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.

Bissonnette-Maheux, V, Provencher, V, Lapointe, A, Dugrenier, M, Dumas, A, Pluye, P, Straus, S, Gagnon, M, & Desroches, S 2015, ‘Exploring women’s beliefs and perceptions about healthy eating blogs: a qualitative study’, Journal Of Medical Internet Research, 17, 4, p. e87, MEDLINE with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.

Carrotte, E, Vella, A, & Lim, M 2015, ‘Predictors of “Liking” Three Types of Health and Fitness-Related Content on Social Media: A Cross-Sectional Study’, Journal Of Medical Internet Research, 17, 8, p. e205, MEDLINE with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.

Vaterlaus, J, Patten, E, Roche, C, & Young, J 2015, ‘#Gettinghealthy: The perceived influence of social media on young adult health behaviors’, Computers In Human Behavior, 45, pp. 151-157, Computers & Applied Sciences Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.

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Curiosity

Our curiosity leads us to many places and leads us down different paths of exploration in order to satisfy this curiosity. Curiosity allows us to learn new things and opens up our minds to the different possibilities of the world we know and the parts we are yet to learn about.

For myself, curiosity led me down a path to learn more about North Korea. The minimal information we have about this country and these implications made me want to research about the conditions of society and the politics behind their way of thinking. Online research provided general detail, however, it did not provide a complete view of the country.

The most valuable source I found in order to fulfill my curiosity was an autobiography written by Yeonmi Park called In Order To Live. This was an eye opening book that showed the way in which the people of North Korea lived and the extent of their poor conditions. Park grew up in North Korea where she spent a lot of her childhood starving and without electricity. Education was  limited and love for the Great Leader was reiterated so intensely that the people live and work in order to serve their country and Great Leader. Harsh penalties would apply for the smallest of crimes. The North Korean people are told what to think and how to think it. Park escaped North Korea to China, and was trafficked in China on her journey to freedom.

My curiosity to learn about North Korea led me to learn about the large problem of North Koreans being trafficked in China. They are mistreated and fear being caught by North Korean authorities. The conditions in which they live were eye opening and shocking. It is difficult to comprehend these ideals and society today as democracy and freedom of speech are widespread throughout the western world, however, these ideals are foreign and incomprehensible to the people of North Korea.

Curiosity allowed me to further research into places and people that are vastly different from myself and understand how they live and survive. It has also led me to understand issue that I was previously unaware of. Curiosity is essential when learning about the world and how we see it.