Possibilities of narrative analysis for paradata: A historically situated exploration
Principal Investigator: Ann Phoenix (NOVELLA)
Co-investigators: Rosalind Edwards (Hub), Janet Boddy (NOVELLA)
The aim of this project between the NOVELLA node and the Hub is to investigate the possibilities of narrative analysis for paradata, and attendant ethical issues, through working with historically situated archived data.
The project will specifically
- Explore the possibilities of narrative analysis for micro level marginalia from a sub-set of Townsend’s Poverty in the UK archived survey material
- Extend understanding of secondary narrative analysis with data not collected for this purpose.
- Place the historically situated narrative analysis in the context of analysis of macro level data of the archived material.
- Explore ethical tensions for survey interviewers and the implications for contemporary survey fieldwork.
- Pursue the potential of this project for informing a framework for the collection and understanding of contemporary paradata, with an informed ‘community of interest’.
Paradata captures the complete range of by-products of the collection of survey data and is of interest in understanding and improving survey quality and costs. The main focus has been on automatically captured macro items, but this is now expanding to include interviewer-generated observations. What can be done with such observational data and how best can it be analyzed as an emerging area? This development provides the potential to cross the contemporary line in survey research between paradata and data (between research process and substantive outcome) – a line that is far less clear in contemporary qualitative research, and indeed was not always evident for survey research in the past where, prior to codification of survey research, interviewers were encouraged to write marginalia. This project takes advantage of these qualitative and historically blurred boundary situations to bring narrative analysis of archived classic survey marginalia to bear on the potential of contemporary paradata for analysis.
Historically situated archived paradata also has the potential to be informative in relation to ethical issues, and in particular the tensions for survey interviewers in ensuring ‘good’, full data while respecting participants and their rights. Such tensions still exist but may be less easily ascertained in current datasets not only because of use of electronic data collection, but also because of contemporary codification of socially acceptable ethical practices.
Listen to Rosalind Edwards talk about the project in podcast 'Paradata in qualitative research'.