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Thread: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Each year, the Society & Culture Association award a limited number of High Distinctions and Prizes acknowledging excellence in research in Society & Culture, demonstrated through students' Personal Interest Project.

    We were fortunate enough to be given excerpts, and in some cases, a complete copy of those HD PIPs from distinguished students, who are also members of this forum.

    The purpose of this section is to show you the way you can structure and present your PIP, what materials are appropriate for the inclusion of each section of your PIP, as well as to examine the expectation from External markers of full mark PIPs (30/30).


    Please note that plagiarism is an academic offense. Use the materials as a guide only.


    A special thanks to 'Study buddy', Mike85, jack_white, Jaihson and Hypertrophy for the generous donations of their PIPs.



    Please check this section regularly for more update.


    Last Updated: 11/02/2006
    jack_white's PIP titled Manufacturing Masculinity added (02/01/06)
    Hypertrophy's PIP added (10/01/06)
    Jaihson's PIP added (11/02/06)
    Last edited by Survivor39; 11 Feb 2006 at 7:43 PM.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
    MSc, UNSW, 08-09
    BMedSc (Hons I), UNSW, 04-07

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    Excerpts of a HD PIP generously given to us by study_buddy.

    Topic:
    A P.I.P. exploring the elucidation of a youth's ethnic identity in Australia's multicultural society.


    Introduction

    8th grade. The very first recess of the year, old friendships broke down, 'new' ethnic ties were epiphanic in their making. 'Wogs', 'Arabs', 'Asians' and 'Aussies' - separatism had well and truly occurred. Suddenly William the 'Wog', your best friend, despised you, and Latin Louis, who picked on you, became one of the only people you could trust.
    There also existed a small subgroup, the 'Drifters' we called them, those who didn't assert themselves to their ethnic origin. Four years have passed, yet there remains a vivid question in my head, what had caused such conflict of behavior and identity back then, and, were such issues concerning ethnic identity prevalent in the wider society?

    In today's Australian society, a rich tapestry of cultures, a hybrid poly-ethnic and multicultural society (Hodge: 119), there broods a storm cloud over the heads of its youth. The greatest of all enigmas for these leaders of tomorrow? Where do they fit in to this immense and diversified plain, where ethnic cultural identity is no longer predominantly determined by country of birth, or parental ancestry, rather, by self assertion and a difficult path to discovery. This P.I.P aims to explore the difficulties with determining ones identity, in relation to cultural ethnicity, for the youth living in Australia's multifaceted society through capturing snapshots of my micro world levels of ethnic assertion and identifying the reasons and relevant concepts which influence and shape a youth's personal and social ethnic perception In Australia's social environment.

    The methodologies employed for this social research include; surveys to an extensive population (used to best illustrate statistical and demographic trends in relation to self perception), interviews of a mixture of interviewees ( i.e. authoritative/academic individuals and a range of people with various perceived cultural identities ) to achieve an affect of combining personal experiences and authoritative public knowledge, local community studies, content analysis on media forms (as media plays a pivotal socializing role in youth culture), participant observation alongside my friends in group settings to truly explore the issue of ethnicity in my micro world, qualitative Delphi process( which included senior lecturers and scholars globally, to compare and contrast the issue in Western Sydney to a national and global setting). Altogether, the triangulation of these methodologies serve to give my research a balance, between levels of public knowledge, cross-cultural personal experience and findings relevant to local, national and global trends.


    Central Material

    Chapter 1.


    NATIONAL MELTING POT? OR SOCIAL FRUIT SALAD?

    The focus of this chapter is to analyze and highlight the schism, or cross-cultural component of my P.I.P., evident in the youth of Australian society. Such, will be done by exploring the social identities which; a) Conform and/or assimilate into the ‘mainstream’ and dominant “Australian Culture”, b) Resist and deviate from the ‘mainstream culture’ and hence opt to retain their ancestral cultural ethnicity. In order to do so, both cultures will be defined and, statistical findings put forward to establish my research population’s ( 15-19 year olds of Fairfield/Liverpool Area) positions in relation to their ethnic identity.

    The issue of cultural ethnic assertion in youths, is evident throughout Australian society, and, is an intricate concept in the developmental and socially participatory aspects of Non-Australian ancestral youth’s (NAAY ). J J Smolicz asserts “ a key aspect that differentiates the youth of 1st,2nd 3rd etc generation immigrants is ethnic disposition… there exists the youth that flaunts his/her ethnic origin and, the youth which suppresses their enculturated ethnicity and basks in that of the host culture”(Smolicz: 1.4).

    The Australian social environment is complex, made so by its persons. Its sheer complexity can be traced back through Australia’s history. With the Post WW2 immigration influx, Australian society, along with its identity changed. Immigrants brought to Australia “cross cultural fertilization, intercultural consciousness, integration and cultural development” (Theophanous:63). Through time, change occurred, and whilst resistance to multiculturalism was met, by institutional policies (Assimilation), by the mid 1980’s immigration influx, Australian society, and “national identity” had become Multicultural.

    The immigrant population, increasing in numbers with time, transformed Australian society into what we see today. As ethnic group’s became more established in Australia, their culture disseminated to the long term Australians, by means of intercultural marriage, power representation, and sheer strength in numbers, and, by the 90’s, the Australian identity in general became one of ‘multi-culturalism’.

    If multiculturalism is the all-encompassing ‘ethnic Australian’ identity, what is the culture pertaining to such an identity, What does it mean to be “Australian”?
    20 interviews (25-4-03 to 16-6-03) were conducted, of the research population (even amounts of Ancestral Australians: NAA- of all ages), much to the liking of my personal view, the main characteristic pertaining to all responses was that an ethnic Australian identity is “ a person of any ethnic ancestral descent/descents who tolerates and consciously/un-consciously takes part in the culture of other Australians, and, lives out their own culture simultaneously affected by that of others. The ‘Aussie’ ethnic identity is accepting the existence of any other ancestral ethnic ties but, immersing yourself into the bigger picture, where your culture adds to that of the latter, to create a diversified, yet whole identity” (Interview 4-5-03). An exclusive interview (22-4-03) with Mr. Jason Yet-Sin Li, a delegate to the 1998 Australian Constitutional Convention, revealed that the Australian identity “comes not from who we are, but what we do”. Summing up, Efi Hatzimanolis (Delphi process 28-05-03) states, “the Australian identity is a circular process of relative acculturation between its members”. If what the Australian identity, living in Australia does, is to acculturate, what is on the other side, what is the other social group in relation to ethnic identity?

    In Australian society, those who do not relatively conform to the multiculturalism can be deemed deviants, individualists or nationalists. Such is that of NAA immigrants, who reside in and amongst Australia and its people, yet, transcend geographic boundaries and perpetuate their ancestral ethnic culture. The Deviant culture can be defined as a united belief system, with the principle of rejecting the cosmopolitan culture of the host nation (1.Smolicz:13). Deviants are individualists, they remain insular towards their ancestral ethnic culture despite environmental situations, and are relative to particular individual country’s. However, these individualists unite under the one group of deviants, as there exists the common factor of rejecting an Australian ethnic identity pertaining to all the deviant ancestral ethnic groups.
    Australia being an individualist nation, ensures a suited environment for deviants, for e.g. the Multiculturalism policy which allows all persons to continue and practice their culture freely, so long as it is within the constraints of the law.
    Henceforth, the choice to remain ‘true’ to a persons country of origin and its culture, despite living in Australian society is not a crime, it is just as acceptable as a ‘Chinese man eating a meat pie’.

    Having established the nature of both cultures, relating to a persons ethnic identity in Australia, in regards to the NAAY population of the Fairfield/Liverpool area , How do the youth assert themselves? Is my micro world an accumulation of individual deviants, or, multicultural conformists?

    On the 22nd of March 2003, 436 questionnaires were distributed to NAAY (male and female) in secondary schools and cultural (youth) meeting places (Greater Union Cinemas, HMV music stores). The reply period was 3 months, and, 397 successful replies were obtained. I believe this was in essence due to the selection of distribution points, which was assisted by me personally being a youth and relatively knowing youth cultural ‘hot spots’. The pragmatic dismissal of cultural literacy came into play, when I simply used stereotypes (centered on image) to select which youths I thought were NAA, and hence to which youths I distributed the questionnaire.

    One of the questions asked, which this whole chapter is centered on, had a purpose to reveal whether or not the youth considered him/herself to be of an “Australian ethnic identity”, or, of a “ancestral homeland ethnic identity”. It became evident after my first pilot study ( 02-03-03), that in our Australian society, the issue cannot be polarized, so, I employed the use of a modality scale, from 1 (being highly committed to ancestral ethnic identity and culture) to 5( being committed to an “Australian ethnic identity and culture”. I also enlisted the use of printing a definition of ‘ethnic identity’ on the questionnaire (“Ethnic identity is a shared sense of being and belonging to a set of social and cultural attributes”[Flemming, Louise: 41]) to clarify the issue and enforce a valid response.
    The question was:
    As a Non-Australian ancestral youth living in Australian society, in what position to do consider yourself in the scale from 1-5, in relation to your social identity-i.e. by what ethnic identity you live your life (think about your consumption of food,music,activities in the wider society, your values and beliefs etc)



    These were the results (research population:397) :
    Evidently, the results show a relative division between the research population, where numbers are at their greatest at polarized ends of the scale. Henceforth, my hypothesized cross-cultural basis for identity among NAAY is prevalent. There does however, in support of my preliminary findings (pilot study 02-03-03), exist intermediate identities, nevertheless, the fact that ‘position 3’, the intermediate/’donkey vote’ position has the smallest numbers, indicates the NAAY are concerned and aware of the issue at hand, and that they simply do not overlook the matter of there existing a choice of ethnic self identity in Australian Society. These results further complement the ‘U-Curve’ theory of ethnic cultural existence in a multifaceted society (Pederson, Paul:9), i.e. the NAAY population researched may be seen as a microcosm for the larger society, as they illustrate clearly the existence of identities which conform to the host culture and those which retain their ancestral ethnic identity.

    Conclusively, we have seen the definite existence of acculturated and deviant social ethnic identities amongst the NAAY of the Fairfield/Liverpool area. If we can accept this as a microcosm for the Australian society, my results indicate that we truly are multifaceted and diverse- we are a mixture of both individuals which form unique identifiable components of a fruit salad and individuals which are a product of the social ‘soup’ construct. The substantiated and differentiating nature of the statistical methodology served to catalyze the issue to be discussed: What has led to such an assertion of ethnic identities for the NAAY? Taking on from Maslow’s and Erikson’s theories, that the teenage years are the times identities are in large formed, what social concepts have shaped the youths identities between these crucial times?


    Conclusion

    From researching the topic of how a NAAY's ethnic identity is synthesized in Australia's multifaceted society I felt empowered in a sense, I gained many new perspectives and a deeper sense of social and cultural literacy.
    In social settings, I am now more equipped to think constructively and analytically, rather than to impose harsh judgments on others in relation to their choice of ethnicity. When I see a NAAY who is committed to an Australian ethnic identity, I know not to be detrimental in my prejudices. I appreciate that the youth has likely been faced with negative challenges from his ancestral culture, and hence has been brave enough to make the change into an Australian identity, despite the potential obstructive behavior of other members of society.

    Similarly those youths who boast an ancestral ethnic identity now receive my praise, as I am aware of the many pressures in Australian society that are in place to assimilate the NAAY population. I am open to the strengths of their personality, rather than closing myself off to perceive them as simple, transcultural, cry-babies.
    I firmly believe the research for this PIP has changed me. I have found a new confidence in myself to step outside of my comfort zone, and into the public. I interact with a variety of persons better now, I believe as a result of my gained ability to empathize with others.

    My methodologies reflect my new personality, they were ethical balanced and sociable. I did not fear confronting strangers about my topic, as I firmly believed in the importance of the issue of ethnic identities. The methodologies I employed were each specific to the relevant concepts I wished to investigate, while at the same time being open enough to allow the views and opinions of my cross-culture to be seen. Each methodology carried out served its purpose well in identifying the issue of ethnicity in our society. The limitations were minor and I managed incorporate the results into an effective PIP.

    From my research I can confidently suggest the following in relation to a NAAY's ethnic assertion in Australian society; many identities are created as a result of conformity, the need to belong to the ingroup and fear of the outgroup influences our commitment to an ethnic identity. Also, there is institutionalized discrimination towards an ancestral ethnic identity as the media and the government work towards creating an Australian ethnic identity for all. The levels of power and status certain cultural ancestries have can cause NAAY's to commit themselves to an ancestral ethnic identity, where there exists a great presence of power in the wider society. Also, a lack of status and power pertaining to an ancestral culture can cause a NAAY of the cultural group to commit to an Australian ethnic identity. NAAY's with collectivist origins are a main demographic group which retain their ancestral ethnic identity in Australian society, in large due to the influential nature of their parents and the process of enculturation. The pressures of certain ancestral cultures placed on NAAY's can either be inauspicious or favorable towards the youths commitment to an ancestral ethnic identity. Finally, it was seen that the effects of living in ethnic ghettos had no distinctive affects on a NAAY's ethnic assertion, our ethnic identity formations are a product of many influential factors.
    Last edited by Survivor39; 11 Feb 2006 at 7:40 PM.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
    MSc, UNSW, 08-09
    BMedSc (Hons I), UNSW, 04-07

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    The following HD PIP was donated by member jack_white, who also received the Gender Prize from the Society & Culture Association for his outstanding PIP.

    Topic
    Manufacturing Masculinity



    Introduction:

    I intend to explore the social construction of masculinity with regard to how it has been “manufactured” through socialisation and by the institutional powers of contemporary Australian media and sport. It is my contention that masculinity is undergoing a transformation to become a many-faceted social creation that reflects the pluralistic disposition of our society. My hypothesis is that contemporary agents of socialisation such as the media and sport produce diverse models of masculinity in Australia. In my micro and macro worlds I have witnessed this apparent transformation and diversification of masculinity and I am curious about what is shaping my adult male identity and by which methods such socialisation is occurring.

    Consequently, I have chosen to examine how representations of Australian “masculinities” have been “manufactured” recently in both sport and the media. This is explored through, amongst other methodologies, content analysis of “metrosexuals” – media-generated models of divergent masculinity and Australian “blokes” – forms of hegemonic masculinity characterised in sport. Furthermore, by considering agents of socialisation and the expectancies they espouse regarding gender, I aim to provide a penetrating examination of the social construction of masculinity and its importance to the society and culture of Australia.

    I have numerous cross-cultural components in my PIP. Initially, I projected that the cross-cultural component of my PIP would simply be “over time” but as my research progressed and I began to synthesise ideas and the methodologies carried out, I realised that my cross-cultural components also included, essentialism in contrast with social-constructionism; theoretical comparison; “across generations”; media gender constructions as opposed to traditional sport constructions and masculinity as opposed to “masculinities”.

    My decision to study this premise stems from my interest in the core concept of gender. I have always found the notion of gender, especially masculinity, to be the most academically thought-provoking. My interest was strongest in relation to the methods by which the media has “manufactured” images of gender recently. Other Society and Culture concepts which I believe contributed to the genesis of my Personal Interest Project are the concepts of society and culture respectively; persons; time; continuity and change, and of course, socialisation.

    During the research process I conducted a lengthy questionnaire which was ultimately beneficial; several useful interviews – one in particular with Dr. David Crawford ; extensive secondary research; statistical analysis; random observations; a focus group and lastly, some personal reflection, to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information and challenge the subjectivities I held before conducting any investigation. I intermittently integrate the methodologies of content analysis and case study into my argument as well. Without these indispensable methodologies, I would not have been able to compose this PIP, which has allowed me to acquire a much more sophisticated knowledge of this area in society and culture.

    Through comprehensive primary and secondary research, this PIP has effectively augmented my social and cultural literacy for it examines contemporary masculinity and its diversification in the Australian media and sporting domains. I know that this cultivation will be of considerable benefit as it will assist me in reaching the goal not only of the Society and Culture course but also, a goal I have set for myself - refined knowledge of the social and cultural world and the ability to speak of it as if it were simply second nature.




    Conclusion:

    Through the effective collaboration of both my primary and secondary research and a synthesis of perspectives, I now understand that processes of socialisation “manufacture” diverse models of masculinity in contemporary Australia. Whilst a traditional hegemonic model of masculinity still dominates our culture, the influence of the media assists many males in ascertaining the prospect of individual interpretation of masculinity. This has been in accord with the idea that masculinity is in a state of transformation and also, with the conception of the term “masculinities”.

    This notion of “masculinities”, which I believe I have studied in reasonable depth, nevertheless necessitates further examination with greater attention paid to postmodernism. I opted for an argument I personally saw as more relevant involving a contrast between social-constructionism and essentialism. Nonetheless, a postmodernist examination of masculinity pertaining even more to the notion of discourse and narrative creation could possibly form the genesis of a project for other researchers. I regret that I did not have the space or time to look into this area of masculinity construction myself as the notion of a “self” producing new “selves” through discussion with others holds real appeal for me and could possibly be something explored with genuine interest in the future.

    Participating in the tradition of public knowledge has allowed me to understand and assess how other theorists perceive masculinity by contrasting their research with my own subjective speculations. This has been very rewarding, as I know that I will build on this interaction between secondary and primary research in university. I have also developed a more critical approach to assessing the usefulness, validity and bias of both my own and others’ research as I have felt great responsibility in contributing to the body of knowledge which already exists on “masculinities” and I do not want to endorse poorly researched work or work which does not even attempt to acknowledge its own biases.

    Personally, while all of the methodologies undertaken have been useful, I am now very aware of the tribulations researchers face when attempting to ensure validity and usefulness and reduce subjectivity. However, I believe I have effectively achieved these qualities in my PIP through examining masculinity not from a singular point of view but rather from a number of cross-cultural perspectives. I do take my intellectual integrity very seriously and esteem it highly in the work of others. It seems the benefits of such an approach have flowed over even to my written style and editorial method, which have both become far more refined through undertaking this PIP.

    In the beginning, when first acquainted with secondary research and the sheer seriousness of this project, the PIP emerged as a daunting task. However, with concentrated secondary and primary research, continual personal reflection and also, vital time management, I gradually achieved what I initially deemed insurmountable, a PIP with which I am actually satisfied. And I, being my own harshest critic, am rarely satisfied with my own work.

    Through various phases, the PIP has travelled from a daunting task to a constructively challenging task. It has been a task unparalleled in my entire schooling life. Even though I am probably now more puzzled by my topic, I believe that I have become more socially and culturally literate, achieving proficiency as both an interviewer and an editor of my own writing. For me, this initially intimidating task has constituted a most defining experience.



    Log:

    I’ll be candid: this has been one of the most demanding tasks I have ever undertaken. Before commencement, the PIP appeared to be something relatively simple but once I immersed myself in the task at hand I realised exactly how much research I had to conduct and how much time and effort I had to put into my project. So…was I up to the challenge?

    After reading through a number of textbooks and considering discussions with my teacher, I devised a topic. In the infant stages of my PIP, I planned to study the correlation between the concept of gender and sport. However as secondary research commenced my interest in the gender category of femininity waned. All of a sudden, I was acquainted with the vast public knowledge of feminist research and I began to question the originality of my PIP topic. Consequently, late in 2004 I decided I would concentrate on the relatively understudied notion of masculinity and those agents of socialisation that produce “masculinities” in my quest for astute social, cultural and also, individual understanding.

    To be forthright, as a male within a class comprised all of female students I found my topic very refreshing and I happily applied myself to research. Perhaps too happily though! The first methodology I conducted was a questionnaire, which was, in my point of view, a somewhat pretentious attempt at primary research. Quixotically, I expected elaborate responses to all forty-two questions from my respondents and of the one hundred questionnaires distributed only 58% were returned. However, I have learnt from the mistakes I have made. Those fifty-eight responses were examined with the most perceptive scrutiny: quantitative data was analysed, compared to qualitative answers and subsequently contrasted with secondary research.

    In the period between January and March, I conducted a considerable number of interviews with a range of males. By undertaking a technique analogous to that of Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Leser’s , the interviews I held offered helpful qualitative information and perspectives very different from my own. Furthermore, I believe that I have now refined my interviewing technique to a level of distinction.

    While my PIP gradually changed, in the month of April, secondary research increased. With secondary research came a sophisticated, more academic understanding of my topic. During this process, I came across possibly the most informative source in the entire process of secondary research, Dr. David Crawford’s thesis . Upon reading it, I contacted him and requested an interview, of which he voluntarily approved. Travelling for three hours for a fifty-minute interview was well worth it, not only did the interview offer me an abundance of qualitative information but it also gave me clearer direction both on a personal and an academic level.

    As May came around, methodologies such as content analysis, observation, personal reflection and statistical analysis were undertaken and balanced with auxiliary secondary research. These primary research methodologies, whilst only taking up a small amount of time, enlarged the scope of my research, thus minimising objectivity.

    In mid-May, after overcoming the frightening brick wall of actually starting, and by considering all of my research, a lengthy first draft was completed in only three weeks. This gave me abundant time to edit, re-evaluate and reduce sections of my PIP thus rescuing my word count from a peak of 11, 000 words. Throughout the month of June, adjustments were made to my PIP with the guidance of both my teacher and Dr. David Crawford.

    By synthesising perceptions of masculinity from a variety of cultural and theoretical perspectives, my PIP has consequently become something which manifests my skillfulness not only as an editor of my own work, but a person capable of communicating research findings through social and cultural erudition. This has probably been the one of the most demanding tasks I have ever undertaken in my life, but it has also been one of the most enlightening. Was I up to the challenge that the PIP presented? I sure think so.
    Last edited by Survivor39; 11 Feb 2006 at 7:39 PM.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
    MSc, UNSW, 08-09
    BMedSc (Hons I), UNSW, 04-07

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    The following HD PIP was given by member Jaihson, who came second in the State for Society & Culture in 2005.

    Topic:
    Moisturizing Masculinity

    Log

    After delivering a speech to my local Lions Club on changes to masculinity, and receiving an enthusiastic response, I knew I’d found the perfect topic for my PIP. Although one problem pervaded…I’d dropped Society and Culture!

    After jumping back into the course in Week 8 of term 4, I felt I was coming from behind. Knowing I wanted to analyse the concept of gender, I spent the Christmas holidays reading widely.

    ‘Procrastination’ and I got to know each other quite well throughout the year. During the process however, I was lucky enough to have a teacher who kept my thinking alive, sparking new thoughts and posing new interesting questions, but keeping me anchored and preventing me from my desire to compose a 200 000 word PIP; one that would answer the 64 hypothesis questions that constituted the bulk of my journal and “solve all the questions of the universe.”

    With 2 exhausting day trips into the heart of Sydney, both State and Fischer Libraries were turned upside down as I rifled through magazines, newspapers and secondary material in search of answers to a now singular hypothesis.

    Requesting the perspectives of 22 academics proved profitable in provoking further thought on the societal changes through time, however only 3 of the 8 responses I received proved relevant in the Central Material; as is the case with less interactive methodology.

    During late April, although not my central methodology, interviews brought much needed clarification to the content analysis and micro-world insights to changes in society. Although I chose to only refer to a few quotes in the final product, this interactive methodology tested my understanding of my concepts, provided cross-cultural insights, and moved me out of the comfort zone of books and paper.

    By late May I had made the conscious decision to abandon quantitative methodology. With my project evolving and taking shape, and me following in the formula of other researchers I was reading about, statistical data I was planning to employ proved irrelevant to my central argument, and I found no conceivable way of testing out my skills in this aspect of the course.

    Drafting from May to mid-July proved to be not only the most arduous process, but the most satisfying. It was this stage of the PIP journey I could see my efforts coming together, and seeing how much I’d learnt over the past months.

    My year was not an easy journey from A to B. From the initial doubt I felt in finding the perfect hypothesis, through to the disaster of having my interviews deleted as my digital note-taker went through the wash in late June (luckily, I at least had hardcopies of important quotes and one interviewee offering to re-do our discussion). However, knowing that social researchers and other PIP students like me face problems in their journey, I became more determined to face the challenges and bring the PIP to a successful conclusion.

    After the completion, and the beautiful long sigh of relief, I feel I have truly had a taste of not only the hardships and challenges social research throws at you, but the momentous sense of achievement one gains from watching their year’s work make its final transition out of the printer…


    Introduction

    Nivea, Clear lens sunnies, blonde hair foils, Calvin Klein underwear, and Aqua Di Gio Cologne…masculinity it would seem had gone and had a make-over!

    Whether it be on the billboards or posters at a Sydney shopping centre, or three pages after the front cover of the latest Men’s Style, a stream of males are coming under the lens of the camera. Look once, and you may see the images of the 1950’s displayed out in front of you. Look again! This is 2005 not 1955!

    And yes, that is ‘pink’ they are now wearing!

    Has the traditional male image of the past been ‘exfoliated’, squeezed into a slim-fitting button up shirt, and sprayed with the scent of Joop? Has societal change allowed the images of males, like me, to visually ‘perform’ the aesthetics of the ‘feminine’? What is going on with the gender to which I am culturally assigned? All these questions I needed answering.

    While casually flicking through a copy of the Sunday Magazine in the Sydney Morning Herald, perusing the advertisements, my hypothesis statement erupted:

    In the context of the print advertising media, societal change in Australian over the past 50 years has allowed a ‘feminisation’ of masculinity in contemporary culture

    Understanding that gender, and therefore masculinity, is a social construction, I knew it must remain historically specific. With my project focussing on representations in the advertising media (considered by researchers as “reflections of culture” , “responsive to societal change” and becoming “expressions of the periods of transition in which they exist” ), my cross cultural component subsequently took the form of a comparative analysis of images prevalent in the 1950’s Australian society with ones from the present day. This, combined with interviews and secondary research, held the aim of determining the impacts of significant societal change on the concept of masculinity, visually reflected through images of male persons in the advertising media. Delving beneath the ‘gloss’ and comparing images and alterations in the context of a changing social milieu allowed me to make broad assessments of the possible ‘feminisation’ of masculinity in contemporary culture.

    The main methodology employed for this research was a rigorous content analysis of 317 advertisements in Australian circulation over time to analyse and illustrate the effects of societal change in the context of a wider macro perspective. Interviews allowed me to compare relevant micro-world insights to bring clarification to the content analysis, and extensive secondary research allowed me to not only formulate a clear theoretical perspective, but provide a social and historical richness to the cross-cultural component.

    In my quest for social literacy, I chose this topic not only due to my inquisitorial thirst, but for the chance to analyse a relatively new phenomena that is a current issue of focus amongst contemporary theorists. A topic described by University Professors I contacted as “fun”, “original” and “quite challenging and controversial”, it allowed me to jump into a topic that was inherent within the study of Society and Culture, and test out my investigative skills in my first piece of social research.


    Conclusion

    With an extra coat of gloss, a pink slim fitting button up shirt, and a regular skin care routine, it seems the traditional male has undergone some serious exfoliation!

    In the process, feminism rendered traditional masculinity visible as a socially constructed and problematic concept, and set the grounds for change in the social world. The shift in Australia’s economic environment presented males with new demands in the workplace, forcing them to reject specific traditional traits in exchange for one’s previously prescribed to the feminine. Gay liberation and acceptance through the 1980’s essentially built a bridge between the gender binaries, visually divorcing many traditional feminine traits from their homosexual signification, paving the way for a freedom in the recoding of masculinity through the playful assemblage of style and increase in consumption within the rise of consumer culture. These changes converged to negotiate a detachment from traditional masculinity, writing new lines and stage directions for the male to allow his ‘performance’ of the feminine.

    On my quest for understanding, in the context of the advertising media my aim was to formulate a comparative perspective on the feminisation of the masculine gender through significant societal change.

    My methodologies were specific to the concepts I aimed to investigate, however like any traditional content analysis, mine was wrought with the frequently subjective act of juxtaposing ‘stereotypical’ and ‘non-stereotypical’ images to draw inferences. In doing this, I assumed a cultural norm against which to make such classifications that imbues my research with a significant degree of generalising. Although I attempted to filter bias to a minimum through clarifying in interviews and with secondary research, I believe in retrospect, a limitation with my PIP methodology is that it did not delve deep enough beneath the ‘gloss’ of what was shown.

    Through my first major sociological study I encountered the difficulties of social research, engaging with the density of academic readings, the arduous gathering of content for analysis, and the requirement to step outside the comfort zone I had firmly built around myself. My PIP allowed me to think outside the square, and bring the social and cultural world into my own critical awareness. I have emerged with an ability to understand and articulate the complexities of the social concept of gender, which remains integral to not only an increased awareness of social literacy, but a major component of in the study of the Society and Culture course.

    Returning now to where I first started…

    Whether it be on the billboards or posters at a Sydney shopping centre, or three pages after the front cover of the latest Men’s Style, a stream of males are coming under the lens of the camera. Look once, and you may see the images of the 1950’s displayed out in front of you. Research the topic, and then look again! You’ll then understand what makes this 2005 and not 1955!

    Nivea, Clear lens sunnies, blonde hair foils, Calvin Klein underwear, and Aqua Di Gio Cologne…masculinity it would seem, really did go and have a make-over!
    Last edited by Survivor39; 11 Feb 2006 at 7:39 PM.

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    Topic:
    "Damned if you are, more damned if you're not - the dilemma of the modern day role model"

    LOG:

    As a child, dressed in a red cape with my underpants oddly positioned on the outside of my pants, I zoomed about the yard in an attempt to emulate my idol, the great Superman. However, come adolescence and the inevitable 'teen angst' I found myself casting aside the big-man for any rebellious pop star I could find. Now, as I verge on entering adulthood, courageous and determined individuals pose as my source of inspiration. A paradigm became apparent in the changing face of my role models, and confronted with the unrelenting arms of the clock, I concluded my topic would be broadly based on role models and how we choose them at different stages of our lives.

    This was simply the beginning of a long and arduous process. Inevitably, procrastination proved to be my greatest enemy during the early stages of my PIP?s development, however this subsided as feelings of guilt mounted. Many hours were spent ploughing through secondary material for qualitative data, eventually leading to my pilot survey, which much to my displeasure had to be modified to suit a consumer society that operates on demands.

    Having attained my survey responses, I also sought the views of primary school children, conducting focus groups in a number of classes. These proved enjoyable and enlightening, though it was slightly unnerving having children constantly clinging to my legs!

    Interviews were a necessary requirement for my PIP, however I was hesitant to call anyone due to nervousness, and overcoming this proved my greatest challenge. In the early months of the year I sought to avoid the more interactive form of personal interview by simply emailing academics and requesting their opinions. Reponses proved dismal, as I either received no reply at all, or promises that never eventuated. However, I did receive some responses suggesting I call them, and despite my initial wariness, my teacher's words of 'well, it's your PIP' sparked in me a desire to pick up the phone. This proved an immense learning experience and by interviewing Jon van Gronigen and Andrew Patterson I became more confident in interacting with strangers.

    Hugh Mackay's responses to a letter I sent proved valuable. Personally, they were beneficial in causing me to become motivated and enthusiastic during a time when lack of success was causing me to avoid the project and view it with a certain degree of contempt. The only disappointment I encountered with Mackay's responses was that, as is the case with less interactive methodologies, clarification could not be obtained. Similarly, I regretted only sending him five questions which were not intensely thought about due to my belief a response would not arrive (I recall myself later saying to a friend 'I should have milked him for all he was worth').

    Hence, with material in-hand I began the mammoth task of writing my Central Material, the structure of which proved an immense challenge. Tantrums took place as I was forced to change my focus question innumerable times, eventually resting on how the importance, effectiveness and choice of role models changes over time. Many stressful nights were spent deconstructing my creation, the contents of which seemed to constantly transform, and it?s difficult not to say I'm glad to see the end of it.

    But perhaps in parting, after a total of ten or so months, it would be nice just to say: 'It was fun. I'm glad I did it'.

    Amen, b[r]other.



    INTRODUCTION:

    'Imitation is a necessity of human nature'
    - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    Discovering who we are within our highly contextual world is pivotal in our development as individuals. Without a clear sense of self we become lost within the myriad of challenges faced within our micro and macro worlds, and with this in mind I began the task of finding a focus for my social research.

    Nonchalantly propped in front of the television one night, having tuned myself to the status of a passive viewer, I awoke suddenly as a series of cultural icons filled the screen. Clive James, Ian Thorpe, Dame Edna, Cathy Freeman- each of these role models spoke of what they looked forward to in life, ranging from children, to old age. And the purpose of the ad? Why, none other than insurance giant AMP, relaying its message of optimism, which is supposedly synonymous with the company. As the screen reverted back to trash trying to be serious (aka- Today Tonight), I was suddenly struck by the sheer irrelevance of these stars and their various careers, not to mention their personal dreams, in relation to an insurance company.

    This commercial triggered the basis for my research as I began to consider image and exposure, leading to myself becoming enamoured by the idea of role models and the flawed methods by which we choose them, with my hypothesis being that we do not select them based on deeds or manner, but because of image and popularity. This has evolved into an examination of not only how we choose role models, but of their importance, our expectations of them and their impact on an individual's beliefs and values over time. This leads to the question, 'How does the importance, effectiveness and choice of role models change over time'. My cross cultural component subsequently became the perceptions of different age demographics in relation to role models, a focus that allowed me to make a broad assessment of their importance on a macro scale.

    The methodologies I employed provided quantitative and qualitative results. Secondary research was the initial step taken in the composition of the project, providing me with more insight concerning the topic from which emerged a series of beliefs, the validity of which surfaced upon further research. This assisted in completing my survey, the results of which were promising, and were complemented by the findings of a number of focus groups which provided the insights of younger children. Interviews also served as a means of increasing the project's depth, as I was able to acquire the opinions of those with extensive knowledge on the topic, as well as the media, who perpetuate many of the false images we gain of role models. These methodologies were appropriate for research into a topic of this nature, and while the quantitative results were sound, the qualitative research allowed me to refine, expand and improve my investigation as it evolved.

    Part of the enigmatic nature of this topic began to emerge as I came to grasp the idea that being a role model today is a dual edged sword - indeed, one could say you're 'damned if you are, more damned if you're not', and this is the dilemma role models face. As an entity, this PIP explores the importance and impact of role models on persons in society, and how individual expectations of this group can change over time. It aims to address many of the assumptions which surround this term and examine the extent to which role models reflect, shape and conflict with societal expectations, beliefs and values which are inherent within the study of Society and Culture.
    Last edited by Survivor39; 2 Jan 2006 at 11:56 PM.
    2003 UAI: 99.00
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    lol...wow..my PIP looks soo cool! Thanks for having my PIP displayed on ur forum guys!

    If any current society and ulture students are doing their PIPs on a topic related to ethnicity,race,nationality,immigration etc etc...feel free to contact me...i still have ALL my research from when i wrote my PIP, and i will be very happy to help anyone out with general PIP questions.
    B.Applied Science(physiotherapy)- University of Sydney.

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    Below you'll find a Chapter of the Central Material taken from Hypertrophy's Personal Interest Project, which was awarded with Distinction in 2005 HSC Society & Culture.

    Topic:
    "Do Muscles Have Gender? The Social Stereotyping of Female Bodybuilders"



    Central Material


    CHAPTER 1: Gender and Gender Roles


    [G]ender [is] an institution that establishes patterns of expectations for individuals, orders the social processes of everyday life, is built into the major social organisation of society, such as the economy, ideology, the family and politics and is also an entity in and of itself – Lorber, 1994


    According to Lorber’s analysis of gender, it is clear that gender can be differentiated from biological sex. A person’s sex refers to, and is comprised of a variety of unchanging and common characteristics, corresponding to the binarism of genitalia. Conversely, gender is a social construct, and thus is painstakingly constructed through a series of external presentations and performances, repeated nearly infinitely until they appear to be natural.
    Therefore, a person’s gender not only defines and differentiates them from members of the opposite sex, but also outlines the social and cultural norms and mores to which they must adhere. These social expectations can be referred to as gender roles. Gender roles are the expected patterns of behaviour and appearance to which people must conform based on their gender. The construction, adherence and sustained development of gender roles and gender differentiation are a direct result of socialisation.

    [Socialisation is] the process by which we learn to become members of society, by internalising the norms and values of society, and learning to perform social roles.

    Gender socialisation is therefore the socialisation process by which we literally ‘learn’ gender. Gender socialisation begins as soon as a baby is born. For example, the parents of a newborn will dress their child according to his or her gender. Boys will wear blue and girls will be dressed in pink. This defines the beginning of the gender socialisation process. Parenting continues to reinforce rigid gender roles as the child grows older, and this is illustrated by the types of clothes, toys and household chores a child is expected to perform.

    Boys generally play with balls, toy trucks and building blocks whereas girls spend their time with dolls [and] tea sets

    This theory that the types of toys a child will own are dependent on their sex is supported by a primary research survey of children under 15. The research found that while both sexes owned a ball at some stage in their childhood, action figurines were owned by 0 per cent of surveyed girls, compared to 80 per cent of boys. However, many of the female participants did add that they had played with their brothers ‘action men’ on occasions. This reinforces the notion that gender roles are not natural. Young girls do not naturally dislike action figures, but it is their parents who refuse to purchase such toys as they themselves have been socialised and enculturated to consider this toy as a ‘male’ toy. Similarly, only 33 per cent of girls have owned toy trucks or cars compared to 100 per cent for boys. 100 per cent and 83 per cent of girls have owned dolls and tea sets respectively, while 0 percent of boys have owned either.


    Boys and girls do not exhibit a ‘natural’ or biological preference to conform to their gender role. They are literally taught to ‘play’ their gender. As stated, when this process is repeated continually over an extremely long period of time in one society or culture, it eventually appears to become ‘natural’, and is consequently considered by society as proper. Primary research supports this idea of gender roles appearing natural due to the continued socialisation and enculturation of males and females in society. An examination of a well-known bodybuilding magazine revealed a curious disclaimer that stated female bodybuilders look more natural and attractive off-season when they’re not as shredded and vascular. It was therefore the magazine’s intent, by means of a ‘softer’ (i.e. near pornographic) photo spread, to show the ‘real, natural’ side of female bodybuilders.


    In relation to physical appearance and gender roles, Judith Butler states:

    [G]ender is instituted through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements and enactments of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self.

    This means that while gender differentiation and gender roles are important in defining accepted ideologies in relation to such facets of society including power and profession – the most fundamental feature that reveals a person’s assumed conformity to their gender role is their body, movement and overall physical appearance and presentation.

    Dixon uses Butler’s examination of gender roles to conclude:

    Because of the invisibility of gender performance, we tend to look instead to the physical body as a source of what makes masculinity and femininity


    Questionnaire responses confirm this opinion, as many respondents classified female bodybuilders as unfeminine or too masculine, with knowledge of only their appearance. None of the respondents made aware they knew a female bodybuilder on a personal level, although most were able to conclude on the femininity and masculinity of this whole sub-culture on the basis of their appearance.


    The most important feature of a person’s body and appearance in relation to gender roles is therefore their level of perceived masculinity and femininity. Masculinity refers to, and describes the traits stereotypically common in males, whilst femininity states those traits expected of female members of society. According to Dr Mary Holmes, examples of masculinity – or traits society expect males to exhibit include strength, speed and aggression. Examples of femininity – or traits of which society assumes females will, and should adhere to include, weakness and a nurturing role. Femininity and masculinity – like gender roles – are not natural or biological. They too are social constructs, enculturated and socialised in society to maintain the gender boundaries of what society considers acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Femininity does not include large muscles, strength or physical power, yet the fact that female bodybuilders exist is testimony to the fact that social and gender boundaries and limitations are just that – social, not natural, predetermined, inevitable or unalterable. Through gender socialisation, tradition and the reinforcement of gender differentiation, society accepts that these concepts of femininity and masculinity illustrate the patterns of behaviour against which a ‘proper’ man or woman shall be measured.
    Although, not all members of society agree to, or conform to these constructed standards of femininity and masculinity. This rejection of a person’s ascribed gender role, places them in a state of role conflict.

    Role conflict occurs when the norms that are consistent with one role that we play prevent us from behaving in accordance with the norms consistent with another role

    Thus, a person who adheres to the accepted norms of one role or sub-culture which conflicts with the accepted customs of behaviour in another role of which that person is affiliated also to is in a state of role conflict.


    It is therefore clear that female bodybuilders are in a position of role conflict. Bodybuilding, like most sports reinforces masculine traits including strength, power, bulk, aggression and competitiveness. A female’s involvement in the sport of bodybuilding therefore inhibits her from fully satisfying the feminine ‘ideal’. Lisa Bavington, once a competitive bodybuilder agrees:

    Female muscularity is thought to be particularly offensive…as it contradicts notions of gender appropriateness.

    By means of primary research – specifically the questionnaire methodology – it is clear that mainstream society, as well as members of the bodybuilding sub-culture, do in fact find female muscularity offensive and disturbing. This judgment though, appears to be in relation to their physical attractiveness and sexual appeal – not because of a belief that these women are engaging in something considered to be immoral or unethical. This may be, in part, due to the sexualisation of women in the media [see chapter 2].


    It is therefore evident, that because women bodybuilders possess great muscularity and mass, they are in an immediate state of role conflict in the opinion of society because they, in their effort to gain strength, size and power have crossed the gender boundary of ‘appropriateness’. The subsequent chapters will demonstrate how female bodybuilder’s non-conformity to the female gender role instigates many stereotypes and perceptions of their character. These include their normality and sexuality as it relates to both mainstream society and the bodybuilding sub-culture itself.
    Last edited by Survivor39; 11 Feb 2006 at 7:41 PM.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
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    you could get the marking guidelines of the PIP and place it beside you as you write/type your pip. You can get it here.

    I do that and it just reminds me if I'm going in the right direction without the teacher's help. Just print off the first row of actual guideline i.e. the 25 - 30 mark range, instead of the whole thing, so you can stick to what is being expected to get a mark in that area and not be tempted to look at the marks below.
    BA (Cultural and Social Analysis) @ UWS


    Member of the Multicultural Islamic Student Association

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    Junior Member _Benji_'s Avatar
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    I just got an email back from the S&C guy in charge of the awards:

    "There were 24 HDs and 15 Ds given out through the HSC marking process in
    2005. This was from a total S&C candidature of approx. 3,500."

    So well done to everyone who got an award!! I only just got my letter last week so that came as a nice surprise (distinction).
    Bachelor of Arts (International Relations +Indonesian)

    "The gene pool could use a little chlorine."

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Hey thanks guys! Those HD Pips are so helpful for knowing what exactly youre meant to do. I mean the description isnt enough. I feel like my PIP is totally out of whack with what the PIP of others will look like.
    Anway, Thanks so much, especi ally for 'Moisterizing Masculinity' which I saw in the prize section of the Society and Culture Asc website. I was in awe! Such fantastic writing skills...!!

    Luv Jess

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    thankyou&iloveyouforever.=]

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    I really want to ask ,if i can contact with the author of Moisturizing Masculinity. and get some information from him about his PIP . Show me how he did the PIP ...
    like..

    What kind of questions did he ask when he take the interviews and at where to whom...

    WHo know how to contact the author ..Please tell me ..
    THanks a lot...

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Unfortunately I cannot disclose Personal Information about the authors. You may, however, look up the user's name and contact the author directly via Private Messaging or E-mail (if detailed in the Profile).
    Last edited by Survivor39; 9 Dec 2006 at 3:12 PM.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Quote Originally Posted by study budd[Y]
    lol...wow..my PIP looks soo cool! Thanks for having my PIP displayed on ur forum guys!

    If any current society and ulture students are doing their PIPs on a topic related to ethnicity,race,nationality,immigration etc etc...feel free to contact me...i still have ALL my research from when i wrote my PIP, and i will be very happy to help anyone out with general PIP questions.




    hey im doing my PIP this year and i was wondering inf u could help me out...i want to base my topic on soccer and its dynamic interaction with capitalism...Football: Beautiful game or Capitalist Gain? (title)...anyway do u have any ideas on how i could pursue this topic..??

    thankyou, adam

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    freedz11, it would be better to post in a new thread instead of here.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Thanks a bunch for having these up. really quite stressed about the pip and setting it out right

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    Junior Member Hallatia's Avatar
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    I want to post my PIP!!!!!!!!!

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    Ancient Orator Survivor39's Avatar
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    You Private Message me for any enquiries concerning posting your PIP.

    PhD, University of Cambridge, 09-12
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Hey,
    i was wondering if there was any site or something i can look at a whole PIP that was successful.
    anyone know of a place?

    Thanks

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    The NSW state library has HD PIPs. Your school probably keeps copies of old PIPs too.

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    You can also access extracts from past prize-winning PIPs at the website of the Society and Culture Association, at www.scansw.com - go to the Awards page, then have a look at the 2005 and 2006 awards.
    Good luck!

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    Senior Member ZaraKu's Avatar
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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Everyone has to try to go and look at the HD PIPs at the state library, our S&C teacher took us for the day and it was good to see the quality and the various topics (the only thing that put us off was that most of the PIPs seemed to be from people who went to private all boy/ all girl schools)

    You Make Me Wanna Do Bad Things...

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    jack_white, there is no wonder that you received the gender prize! just reading your intro, log and conclusion leaves me wondering how amazing your CM must have been. i am truly impressed!

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    Hi guys! Please take some time out to complete my media violence questionnaire for my HSC major work !
    Thanks so much xx

    http://obsurvey.com/S2.aspx?id=9763f...1-6250074a6217

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    Re: Examples of PIPs (Updated on 11/02/06)

    ANYONE
    PLEASE complete my questionnaire for Society and Culture -- It will only take 5 minutes and is completely anonymous so be honest! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14Ly...?usp=send_form

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