13.04.2018 || Reflection, adjustments and next steps


So far, I have researched around my hypothesis and have read and watched sources that both support my hypothesis or contradict it. My expected outcome was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the area, which I feel that I now have. I also feel as if I have more direction and a better idea as to the points I will be addressing and evaluating further in my project. I successfully managed to avoid the problems that could potentially have occurred by keeping a log of the sources I read as when I read them, summarising what I learnt from them and my personal thoughts about each one.

As for the data and statistics, I have been gathering throughout my reading from various sources. I will need to go through them to check their validity. With inequality-related measures for the UK, I have decided to use only measures from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) as these are guaranteed to be reliable and valid. The other problem I identified (which is not related to actually obtaining the data but using it within my project) was that there are numerous variables that factor into inequality, and so correlation cannot be immediately identified to be causation. However this is something that cannot be avoided, as it is impossible to find a measure that eliminates all other factors so I will make sure to discuss the limitations of the data in my project.

I have achieved everything I had set out to do in my Introducing My Project section, though not in the time slots I had allocated for myself. The research and reading took longer, and I will continue to read around my project and record my thoughts as I go to continue broadening my knowledge of the topic. There are certain topics which I would still like to research further into, which have only been brought to light recently i.e. the news about Cambridge Analytica and its use of Facebook’s data on its users to sway voters in the Trump campaign.


Changes I wish to make to my project title

Following my research, I have decided to broaden the scope of my title to encompass algorithmic decision-making, as I’m finding this to be a recurring theme throughout my research. Big data refers to large volumes of data/ datasets that are analysed for insights. It is not the data itself that is the problem; rather, the ways in which the data is used. I also wanted to make my title more specific, and limit it to solely the use of data analytics in the modern day rather than comparing it to the world before data was used, as previously planned. I have explored the idea of limiting my project to solely one way in which big data is used i.e. consumer targeting in advertising, improving healthcare, improving law enforcement etc. but I have not found sufficient sources is any one of these topics to base my entire project on. Therefore I have decided to instead stick to discussing various implementations, selecting ones that are most relevant and likely to occur/ are occurring, hence the adjustment to the title ‘in modern-day society’.

The ‘inequality’ in my title will include any forms of discrimination, along with economic inequality. I’d like to particularly discuss whether the use of big data in modern-day society constrains low socioeconomic groups in a way that prevents them from ‘climbing the economic ladder’. Therefore I’ll be discussing the different ways in which big data might increase inequality.

Therefore my new title will be ‘To what extent does the use of big data in modern-day society increase inequality?’

Or potentially ‘To what extent does the use of big data in consumer targeting in modern-day society increase inequality’?

‘To what extent does the use of big data in consumer targeting in modern-day society prevent individuals of low economic status ‘climbing the economic ladder’’?


Next Steps

Work to do How will this be done? When will this be completed by? Possible problems Solutions to problems
More research As before – Reading books, academic journals, articles etc and collecting any other appropriate statistics and time series. This time they’ll be more specific to my reformed hypothesis. Throughout (by 1st May) Same as before Same as before
Organise and structure key points Write up ideas in a ‘Skeleton’ type template, with introduction, middle and end, highlighting any key ideas and sources that I will refer to. May 8th



Getting too detailed and elaborating too much Stick to bullet points
Initial draft Use outline of project to put together an essay, developing each point and adding in my own evaluation. Edit and refine. 23rd June Time-management Work on project for approximately 2 hours each weekend up until this point

Exams around this time – therefore there is some flexibility around this date so that I can complete my draft within the following week

Review initial draft Organise meeting with supervisor and review the draft. Complete the appropriate sections of the production log – mid-project review and project product review Not yet known (end of June, beginning of July, most likely) Not finding time in between other commitments Organise meeting as soon as possible after the school year starts
Complete essay and production log Make any final adjustments in accordance with supervisor’s feedback. Complete remainder of production log and read over, ensuring nothing has been left out. Over summer Finding time between other subjects and work

Finding parts of the production log that haven’t been completed

Ensure I complete each section thoroughly as I go. Refer to the posts on my website for guidance if there are gaps that I need to fill.
Presentation Planning to present my project in front of a small group of people. Start a presentation record. September Finding space to present Organise it in advance and remember to book a space.
Complete summary and reflection. Hand in project 12th December



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