The Freedom to Question

Back for another serving of analysing with a licence, my 2016 university year has begun. Fresh from the world of breaking up fights between my 9 and 6 year old girls, and scrubbing the unfinished polished wood of my former abode in the most ferocious bond clean since G.I. Jane held a toothbrush, I am plunging into the world of research and enquiry for BCM210: Research Practices in Media and Communication.

Our first task is to ponder what curiosity has meant in my life.  So here I go…


Curiosity to me is the right to question the world in which I live.  It’s the itch at the base of my spine that is not accepting what I see or hear as the only truth, demanding more information so that it may be satisfied.  Really I think I’m just looking for tangible proof of my own knowing. As we as inquire and start drawing lines around what is and what isn’t in the world, our identity changes and sharpens in a way that impacts how we move in the world as individuals, as a community and by extension as the human race.

In my younger life, curiosity got me into a lot of trouble,  apparently it was not acceptable for a bi-racial child, in an Irish-Australian Catholic family, to question their way of life or the religion that they had been heaped with at birth. This type of action was sacrilegious at best and saw me reddened with the back of a wooden spoon.  My Mother still says of me,”I never understood how young child could spend hours in those museums or art galleries, I was bored.” I held the same opinion then that I do now; if the knowledge, idea or experience that you hold so dear is true, I should be able to ask as many questions as I like, and my research will bring me back to your position.

In other countries such as North Korea or China as well as many of the smaller nations of the former USSR and Central America, curiosity is discouraged in matters of state, with many citizens who dare to question, particularly those in the media, finding themselves in jail or dead.

It is with some gratitude then that we undertake this subject where we take our very human tendency to be curious about our world and use it to inspire us as students to find methodology to create a practice of research that is effective, in depth and with a smaller chance of error.


In her lecture Kate Bowles outlined research as ‘a way to persuade’. There also were a lot of terms such as ‘Qualitative Research’ and ‘Quantitative Research’, ‘Ontology’ and ‘Epistemology’.  Proud as I am to add new terms to my vocabulary, these words will still take some time to be imbued with the meaning I’m sure they deserve.  My very exhausted brain wasn’t accepting any updates last week, but I look forward to rewarding my now refreshed curious self with lots of cool stuff that is new to me.


2 thoughts on “The Freedom to Question

  1. Oh my, this is an astonishingly lovely piece of writing. I just wanted to say thank you — yes, curiosity to me is fundamental to being in the world. I wasn’t really sure what would result from reshaping this subject around the often hidden world of values and qualities, and this post really has made me glad.

    I think we need to be careful, though, with generalisations about national and political cultures. Some of what you say may be true about authoritarian states, but I find myself wanting to look more closely at these claims, and wonder what life is actually like — what happens to curiosity, where curiosity is disallowed. What happens in family or religious cultures where curiosity is treated as improper? What actually happens?


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