Wednesday, 21 October 2009

My (painfully) cross-cultural PhD

It is only fair to open this blog with a brief description of my cross-cultural PhD. It has been dominating my life for the past four years, and has taken me across countries in both physical and intellectual sense. As it nears the end, I am looking forward to submitting it soon, and getting involved in more cross-cultural projects.

Let me describe where it all began and where it will all (hopefully) end (and it'd better be soon!).

It all started a relatively long time ago when I decided that I did not want to live in Poland anymore. I travelled around the world a bit, and at some point decided that the academia was a way to go. And to be more precise, cross-cultural academic research was a way to go.

Analysing advertisements and consumers' responses to a range of stimuli is challenging. Doing it across countries is even more so. Every cross-cultural researcher will tell you that. However, no-one told me, so here I am trying to make sense of all the data I have collected.

My research focuses on 1) comparing advertising messages from four countries: Poland, Hungary, England and Ireland; and 2) exploring consumers' attitudes towards a variety of different advertising messages.

However, not only the content of the PhD is cross-cultural. My supervisory team included a New Zealanader, a German and a Scot. Pretty diverse.

My initial research design included only two countries, it became four only after I consulted an expert in the field who advised me to study more countries. The process has been painful from the start. Ordering magazine subscriptions in four countries, asking my mother to buy TV listings each week, looking for English - Hungarian translators, finding someone who would spend an entire day content analysing the adverts, designing the questionnaire, looking for respondents, struggling with data analysis, loosing sleep over confirmatory factor analysis, throwing away half of my data, abandoning confirmatory factor analysis, finally t-testing the differences which then had to be done in ANOVAs, finally writing up. In between, I managed to make tonnes of great friends, have my heart broken, enjoy the cultural aspects of London life, travel to far away destination and take loads of pictures. But it's not over yet.

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