To research such a broad media niche, I need to look more critically at the elements which effect my experiences as a fan of the Harry Potter series. To do so, I am required to define and narrow down my field site for my research, & I don’t mean field site literally as in some archaeological ‘Indiana Jones’ dig site, I refer to a network of relations between human and non-human ‘actors’. (Burrell 2009). Now to narrow this field site, I have summarised some key network points for the Harry Potter franchise and relevant social media etc.
A key point to note about the image above, is a few of the ways that I primarily interact with my niche. This is how I am going to draw on my research, through my own experiences. This is also called ‘auto-ethnography’ – research performed by the researcher, primarily based on their own experience and relations. (Wall, 2006)
Just looking at the above image, these key points are a way I can further narrow the research field for my niche, for example, on Facebook alone, the official Harry Potter page has a total of 71 million followers. This information allows me to gather research on a large database without having to conduct research other than a case study through looking at Facebook comments alone.
Participants in my research are the fans themselves. I want to research as to what attracts them to the series and what makes it so popular. I want to research why people sort themselves into these fictional school houses & why do we let this identify us such as the “brave” Gryffindor, the “smart” Ravenclaw, the “loyal” Hufflepuff or the “cunning” Slytherin?
In terms of accessing this media, of course, it is accessible through physical DVD, the novels, typically most streaming sites host the movies, and even then, it can easily be found online, or related works to the series, eg. fanfiction, art, hiring of the films. Due to its popularity, the Harry Potter series is not a difficult one to find.
There will be other individuals interested in the research I perform, including, but not limited too, fans of the series interested in the information, bloggers, or even students that are researching a similar topic or have a similar idea. This alone opens my research to a large audience of people who are interested in the work that I do.
By no means am I the first person to research a topic related to the Harry Potter series, nor is my idea particularly orginal. I am sure many people want to know why we act like we do and involve ourselves with the series & how exactly it impacts upon our everyday lives.
Burrell, Jenna 2009, ‘The field site as a network: a strategy for locating ethnographic research’, Field Methods, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 181 – 199
Wall, Sarah 2006, ‘Autoethnography on learning about autoethnography’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 2 – 11