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  • Gabriella H Axelson

How does one find gender equal sports news?

For one of my classes for my master's degree, I had to create a portfolio where I applied some of the research methods I had learned to answer a question. For this particular question, I initially used experience sampling as a way to see what content someone would see on a day to day basis, and how they came across this content. Experience sampling is a method where participants are asked to document their "experiences" with a topic decided upon by the research. While this method is usually found in the form of written journals, the progression of technology has made it that video, audio or photo-diaries can be used as well.


By using this method, I had hoped to show the amount of male-athlete focused news one came across, compared to female-athlete focused news. I had asked five people to keep track of all the sports content they came across over the period of one week/seven days, and asked them to track things like what content they found, where and how they found the content, and how accessible it was.


However, when I got the journal entries back from my five participants, I found that using this method only showed me what news they found, not how. The answering of the question ‘what’ did not prove to be valuable information. Not satisfied with the outcome of the experience sampling, I wanted re-conduct my research by using user experience so as to track the process it took for them to find sports content. I decided using this method instead would lead to better results because I would be able to better understand the steps participants took to get to the news content, and what content they came across along the way. This insight would help giver better insight to how an individual went about finding gender equal news in sports.


For this, I initially used experience sampling as a way to see what content someone would see on a day to day basis, and how they came across this content. By using this method, I had hoped to show the amount of male-athlete focused news one came across, compared to female-athlete focused news. I had asked five people to keep track of all the sports content they came across over the period of one week/seven days, and asked them to track things like what content they found, where and how they found the content, and how accessible it was.


However, when I got the journal entries back from my five participants, I found that using this method only showed me what news they found, not how. The answering of the question ‘what’ did not prove to be valuable information. Not satisfied with the outcome of the experience sampling, I wanted re-conduct my research by using user experience so as to track the process it took for them to find sports content. I decided using this method instead would lead to better results because I would be able to better understand the steps participants took to get to the news content, and what content they came across along the way. This insight would help giver better insight to how an individual went about finding gender equal news in sports.


Since the participants lived in a different country, I had them screen record the process, while talking to me about what they were doing and why (due to technical difficulties, I only received two of the screen recordings). When setting up the app, I instructed the participants to select at least one women’s league, and at least one men’s league, the rest was up to their own personal preference. After the app was set up, I had them navigate through the app, and explain to me what they were noticing and what their thoughts and opinions were. The only other instruction I gave each participant, was to walk me through how they would search for news specific to the women’s league they chose, and how they would search news specific for the men’s news they chose.


What I found interesting was that two of the participants went immediately to the ‘scores’ or ‘news’ section, without looking at the content found on the ‘favourites’ section (the section the app went to automatically when it was first set up). When asked why they did so, they explained that the scores or news was what they were most interested, and did not like that there was only one section that was catered specifically to their interest. When asked what they thought of the app overall, two did not like the layout, as it had too many options and only one of the sections was specific to the personalization’s they made while setting up the app. The last participant explained they liked this app because it was easy to use (especially when they wanted to find a specific result). All three participants noted that the news content was predominantly male, however, the app did offer one of the easiest ways to find female focused news (compared to other sports news apps they used).

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