Can Music Effect Our Emotions?



This project aims to identify student’s belief on whether music can/has an effect on our emotions, relating to specific genres. The goal of this project is to establish whether particular genres have a bigger impact on the emotions of students, whether it is while studying, at the gym or during free time. What I want to achieve through this research is a guide to which type of music would be best to listen to while studying, working out or with relaxing, activities where the most change of emotion can occur.

To gather the information to formulate a guide to music and mood I will be conducting surveys and possibly conduct some interviews to further examine emotional changes to music. My first method to start off the research process will be to create an online survey, using surveymonkey. My second method would be to conduct group interviews with a small number of participants to gage a deeper understanding with students as to whether they believe or feel music has effect their emotions. Both of these methods will be conducted in the confines of of the tutorial class room at the University of Wollongong.  In order to construct a successful survey there are a few tools and techniques that will need to considered. Harvard University: Program on Survey Research helped me when narrowing down the types of questions I should and shouldn’t be asking. The first tip was to not ask leading question, this could hinder any results, as these types of questions could be putting answers in the participants mouths and could be seen as an obstruction to my results as well as been seen a breach of misconduct. This can be avoided through the structure of my survey. Another tip is to use a variety of closed and opened ended questions. With this I will be able to gain quantifiable data, which is “particularly useful when trying to prove the statistical significance of a survey’s results” (Fluid Surveys, 2013). With open-ended questions, I will be able to gain opinions based upon my topic at a deeper level. Open-ended questions allow for further analysis that can lead into interviews as “critical thinking and uncut opinion of the respondent are perfect for gaining information” (Fluid Surveys, 2013). “If you have only a vague idea of what you’re trying to find out, your questions will be vague too and so will your answers” (Neal Whitman, 2012).

Consent For Research

Participants of my research will be volunteering their time and efforts to partake in my surveys and interviews. They will be advised that if they feel uncomfortable or wish to withdraw from the research task, they may do so at any given time with no questions asked. In addition with this each participant will remain anonymous by not disclosing any personal details within the survey or while in the presence of the interview, but instead will be referred to as participant X. Participants will also be told that the progress of the research and the final publication of the task will be published in a pubic wordpress site. If any participants have any questions during, after or before the research has begun, I shall be contacted either through my Twitter handle @BinaishaHaria or through the comments section of my wordpress site.

Survey Questions

Hello, my name is Binaisha Haria and I am an undergraduate at the University of Wollongong conducting research for my Communications and Media Degree. I am conducting this survey to identify the belief of students on the effects music has on our emotions. This survey consists of 10 questions that I will need you to fill out, your answer will remain anonymous and will be analysed on a statistical premise. If you wish to follow my research project you may follow the process on my wordpress blog and ask any question on my Twitter page @BinaishaHaria.

Q1) What do you so to change your mood?

Q2) Do you regularly listen to music?

  • Yes
  • No

Q3) What genre of music do you regularly listen to?

  • Pop
  • R&B
  • Hip-Hop
  • Indie
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Classical
  • Alternative
  • Reggae
  • Electronic/Dance
  • Other (please specify)

Q4) Why do you listen to the specific genre mentioned above more often?

Q5) Do you listen to music while studying?

  • Yes
  • No

Q6) Do you listen to music while working out?

  • Yes
  • No

Q7) What type of music do you listen to while studying?

Q8) What type of music do you listen to while working out?

Q9) Do you think music affects your mood/emotion?

Q10) Please explain your pervious answer.

Link to Survey:

Group Interview Questions

With the group interview I wish to only conduct a small amount of interviews, as I am on a tight schedule for completion. However, to ensure I get a good feel to for the discussion and opinions I will receive, I am planning on limiting the questions to only three. This would allow for participants to discuss ideas and personal stories and experiences. Though interview question may not be as direct or detailed, leading in a specific direction. However, the purpose of this would be to spark a discussion with the group.

  • Do you think music affects your mood/emotion?
  • Do you have an emotional connection with music?
  • Does this dictate the way you pick the music you listen to?

I believe that adding opinion into my research will help strength the comparison of secondary sources to gage a broad understanding if music really can effect our emotions.

Risk Planning

While preparing each stage of this research task there is a possibility for things to go wrong. When thinking about what issues I may encounter within this project, I have come to the conclusions that there are some risks that I will have to take extra caution with. To clearly understand and visually my risk planning I created a risk management table  to establish what areas would need more attention.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 6.03.34 PM

Time Management

“Timelines are important in evaluating the feasibility of your project. Inexperienced researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that the various stages of research will take” (Develop a Research Proposal). With a task this big there are different components that need to be completed at different times in order to complete this project on time. Each stage holds its own time frame; therefore to visually represent the tasks and time frame I have to complete this research project within each stage, I created a Gantt chart. This is a weekly timeline of when I should and will be meeting my goals.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.19.57 AM

Research Progression

I have always been curious about music, wondering how it can change your perceptions of the world and of yourself so quickly. I have found that music reflected how I was feeling but also allowed me to change my mood depending on the beat or melody of the music I was listening to. Due to this I have become ever so curious of the implication music can have on the human brain, especially in the psychological effect music can have on the brain. How is it that music can alter your perceptions and emotions?

Having found the topic that most makes me feel curious. I moved onto the next stage to further fuel my curiosity but also create the research task I wish to see. This concept is better known as reflexivity, being in a position of understanding and wanting to know more. Within this frame of mind my first step was to create a plan of action that would further my research project. Having a position on the topic and a personal connection to music and emotion means that my judgment within this topic may be stronger than with any other topic.

Looking at my original question it became apparent I was unable to look into the inner working of the human brain and its altering perceptions music can cause on our emotions and attitude. Which meant my direction had to change to something more specific. Do students believe that music and specific genres can effect their emotions, if so why? This reduce any scientific arguments to be made during my person research, however, secondary sources that contain scientific research will be used to create a more rounded conclusion.

Once I had got to this point, I had to critically judge my secondary sources. This meant careful consideration had to be made when looking at the facts, arguments and statements made by secondary sources. Allowing that I had variation within my sources to know what was factual and what could be false. ‘Our critical judgment of academic, news and informal sources is informed by who we are, and what the information means to us’.

Along side critical judgment comes accountability, knowing that myself as a researcher I am accountable for any statements I made surrounding my research and participants. But, also acknowledging and analyzing the accountability of my secondary sources, being a cited or peer-reviewed source makes the accountability much more reliable. However, within my research I must be able to make critical judgment on the accountability of my sources. To ensure I have accountability within my research I must be able to ensure that my participants are in no means of danger, nor are they being misguided or lied to within the research process. To ensure this I will have to make sure ethical preparation has been conducted before allowing participants in to start the research process.

With all this in mind, my research wouldn’t do so well if I didn’t have respect or integrity. Respect is something that should come naturally when conducting any form of research but can be lost in some cases when participants are left with emotion to a hard or traumatic time. Respect in the case of research refers to “the relationship between researchers and research participants is the ground on which human research is conducted” (National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007). For this it is imperative that I set some boundaries as to know when to stop and also allow the participants to know that they are allowed to stop the research tasks at anytime. This will allow for no harm to come to the participants and also keep a level of respect. Integrity in this project as any other is critical. As a university student, I must make sure that all the academic resources I have used as well as participants answers have been cited. Without this my research could be seen as untrustworthy.

Communication Plan

In order to utilize each of the aspects that make up a good research task, I need to make sure that the participants in my research have a way to follow on the progress. The progression and final results will be published on my wordpress blog, for participants to view as well a wider audience of the public. This will create a discussion on whether people believe music can have an effect on our emotions, through my research with students as well as secondary research I find and analysis. Throughout the research process if participants need to stay in contact with me or have any questions or issues, they will be able to contact me through my Twitter handle @BinaishaHaria.


Bowles K 2016, Weeks 1-6, BCM210, University of Wollongong, viewed 19 April 2016

Esposito E 2015, Where Do You Find the Best Gantt Chart Spreadsheet Templates?, Smartsheet Blog, weblog post, 20 March, viewed 15 April 2016 <>

FluidSurveys Team 2013, How to Ensure Your Respondents’ Privacy, FluidSurveys University, viewed 15 April 2016 <>

Harrison C 2007, Harvard University Program on Survey Research, viewed 16 April 2016 <>

Office of Research Support 2003-2016, Guide to Writing Consent Forms and Oral Consent Scripts, Duke University, viewed 20 April 2016 <>

Whitman N 2012, How to Write Good Survey Questions,, viewed 15 April 2016 <>

N/A, Planning the Methodology – Timeline, Develop a Research Proposal, viewed 17 April 2016 <>

N/A 2014, Risk Assessment Template, tools4dev, viewed 21 April 2016 <>




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