At first, we thought to explore the success of Britain’s tries to combat terrorism, but, after several group meetings with our tutor, we decided to research the effect of the British media on people’s perceptions of different events and of the London bombing in particular (in this way, the link between media and terrorism could be explored). This decision was caused by the fact that the narrowed topic gave us a chance to stay within the 4,000-word limit which we had to keep to, while the coverage of the initial topic would have taken much more space.
Group meetings were an extremely important part of our teamwork. At these meetings, we discussed everything relevant to the writing of the research paper. Each of the group members has done some serious background reading to be able to contribute to the development of the topic. We have identified that a good research paper should have a clear introduction, strong methodology, impressive literature review, and a number of other important constituents (Gliner & Morgan 2000); this could be achieved only through hard work and collaboration. This is why group meetings were held almost every Thursday; additionally, meetings with our tutor were held every Friday.
During the first meeting, the work was equally distributed among the group members and each had to acquire a good background on the topic. To do this, we had to consider a number of sources dealing with media and terrorism. This was a particularly interesting part of work for us because we are political science students. Each member of the group had to read a book, present a summary of this book, and explain why namely this source was relevant to our research. Framing of terrorism was the most popular book that students had used, a book that had to deal with terrorism, media, governments and the public. The summary that I have made is presented on page (?). Apart from the books, we have widely utilized other sources, including journal articles on the topics, as well as the websites that contained useful information on carrying out the research; some important information was also obtained from the blackboard of the module and the lectures.
After getting a background on the topic, we have focused on its development. We concentrated on how the British media explained the bombing of 7/7. This idea was taken from the study of Brader and Traugott (online apsanet 2010). This study deals with the American news coverage of September 11 events; it is based on a coding explanation system which makes it possible to trace the link between terrorism and media (Presbey 2007). We have looked through four different newspapers: the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Times and the Independent Covering; these publications explored the events that took place 6 weeks after the London bombing event. This part of the work contributed to our understanding of who was to blame for the bombing and what its reasons were (religious, political, etc). The newspapers were searched for via Nora, which gave us a great chance to appreciate the usefulness of this tool and its meaning for our future research.
It is interesting to mention that each of us had different expectations regarding this study. Some of the group members feared that the time spent on this research would be not worth it, while others were extremely excited about the work. I, for one, took this study as a challenge to my abilities to work in a group and to contribute to the group performance. To meet this challenge, I did everything possible to be a good team member: I conscientiously attended all the meetings and tried to stay in contact with other group members for our collective work to be a success.
Nevertheless, I cannot state that my tries to make this group work as much rewarding as possible were absolutely successful. I have got both positive and negative experiences from this research. One positive thing about it was that all the group members were British and I was the only international student, which gave me a great opportunity to learn much from all of them. Moreover, this was my first experience of group work since I have entered the university and the work in this group has shown me how contributing the sharing of information and mutual help can be for the learning process. However, some negative aspects of our teamwork did not let me fully enjoy it and benefit more from it. Our group could be characterized by lack of communication, which, as it often happens, led to conflicts because of misunderstanding (McCauley I Velsor 2004); group leadership was also not quite effective, and it did not feel like the leader cared much about the opinions of other group members. Despite this, the group worked well together but, if I had a chance to repeat the work, I would handle some problems and issues we have faced differently.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the benefits of this work for me personally. Above all, I have gained a rewarding experience of working in a team; I have learned to meet deadlines and to work hard to achieve group objectives. This has prepared me well for similar assignments in the future. Additionally, this assignment was beneficial for my own understanding of the impact that politics and media have on people’s perception of important events. This was especially beneficial for me as a political science student. In this way, this research has not only contributed to the formation of my identity but had a huge impact on the construction of my knowledge and my learning experience in this university.
Gliner, J.A. & Morgan, G.A. (2000). Research methods in applied settings: An integrated approach to design and analysis. New York: Routledge.
McCauley, C.D. & Velsor, E.V. (2004). The Center for Creative Leadership: Handbook of leadership development. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Presbey, G.M. (2007). Philosophical Perspectives on the ‘War on Terrorism’. Amsterdam: Rodopi.