There are two types of research: primary research and secondary research. Primary research is when you conduct your own research like interviews, photos and surveys. Primary research is more reliable than secondary research as secondary research is more likely to be made up, changed or just rumours. Primary research should always be done first, but when it can’t be that’s where secondary research comes in. Secondary research is when you’re using other peoples research. The most common forms of secondary research are looking on the internet, looking in books, reading journals and looking at photos. When using secondary research you should always get the information from multiple sources, as that increases chances of the information being reliable. An example of when you might need to use secondary research is if you wanted to interview someone from a different country or someone important like the Queen. It is very unlikely you will get an interview with the Queen, so you can turn to secondary research and look up “interviews with the Queen” and use that information in your work. When using secondary research, you must make sure you are giving credit to the sources you got the information from, so be sure to reference your sources properly.
How to Make a Research Plan
The first step is to know exactly what you need to find out for your film or TV show. First, you will need to know your target audience, your genre and the time period it is set in. This will help you determine the props you will need, the style and the audience’s expectations. Watching other films will give you ideas for the things you want to incorporate into your project.
The next step is to know how you are going to find out the information needed. This might be through finding reliable sources that you can get your information from. It might require you to get books or magazines on the topic of your project.
Then you need to locate your information within the sources. Carefully analyse the text or video to make sure you don’t miss anything. You might want to make notes, take down quotations or summarise what you have read to make it easier to refer to later.
The last step is to apply the research to the project. Looking back on notes, quotes or summaries you can use the information to help your project be more accurate, to avoid making mistakes by not doing proper research.
My Research Plan
I am going to show you an example of a research plan using the 4 steps.
I want to make a 12+ horror film, set in the Victorian period. I am going to watch as many horror films as possible to get a larger understanding of the genre. I will need to make sure I avoid anything not appropriate for the 12+ age range. I will need to find out what the Victorian period was like in terms of available props and the setting. I will also need to find out about the culture at the time to fully understand how the people in that time period would react to different things as it would be different to how we react now. I also want it to be shot on a rainy evening. I want is set in a large castle to add to the effect.
I will find out about the Victorian period from the internet as I don’t know anyone who was alive in that period. I will find out which castle I can use and if they will let me record in there. I will also conduct surveys on 12-year-olds to find out what sort of things they would like to see in the film. I will then use the results and check if what they want would be appropriate to put in a 12+ film. I will check the weather forecast using the BBC website to make sure I check the times that it will be raining in the evening.
I have found out the forecast from BBC weather and it is raining next Monday evening. I have also found out that at the beginning of the Victorian period houses and castles were lit with candles. I took photos of Dover Castle and decided it would be a good place for the filming to take place. I found out their opening times and they are open next Monday until 6PM. I surveyed 32 12-year-olds and found out most of them find monsters scary and would like to see them in the film.
I will apply the information I have gathered into my horror film. These are the research sources I get the information from:
Jonathan Taylor. 2000. Lighting in the Victorian Home. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/lighting/lighting.htm. [Accessed 22 September 2016].
english-heritage.org.uk. no date. PRICES AND OPENING TIMES FOR DOVER CASTLE. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dover-castle/prices-and-opening-times. [Accessed 22 September 2016].
BBC. no date. WEATHER DOVER. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2651048. [Accessed 22 September 2016].