Thomas Y. T. Tang from The University of Manchester presents 'Understanding Emotions in Protests: Eliciting Emotional Narratives in Walking Interviews' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: Recent social scientific research has shown increasing interest in emotions and this urges researchers to apply innovative methods to discern emotions. This presentation discusses the use of walking interviews in deciphering emotional experiences in social movements. In the extant literature, walking interviews have been a useful method in exploring people’s relationship with space. Using five walking interviews drawn from a larger data set as examples, this presentation further demonstrates how walking interviews can be deployed in unpacking activists’ emotions in protest spaces. Four major ways of eliciting data about emotions are identified. First, walking interviews allow the spatial environment to become a cue for interviewees to evoke and recall emotional events. Second, interviewees can draw on the physical environment as a prop to articulate their emotional experiences. Third, the physical environment offers a way to interpret the socio-spatial context of emotional experiences. Fourth, walking interview is a way for interviewees not just to talk about emotions in space but talk emotionally in space. This presentation concludes by discussing some practical issues about conducting a walking interview, including photo and video takings, voice recording, time management, and the use of Google Map after the interview.
Jaime Garcia-Iglesias from The University of Manchester presents 'Using Twitter to research stigmatized communities: experiences from the field' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: The popularity of social networking sites such as Tumblr and Twitter has provided unique venues for kink communities to co-create narratives and cultural products. While this has allowed researchers access to these communities, it also poses unique challenges such as accessing communities ethically, preserving participant privacy in the face of pervasive data breaches and archiving the materials. In the particular case of kink communities, some inroads have been made regarding hook-up apps, mediating infrastructures and their relationship to the offline world (Race 2015, Mowlabocus 2010). However, little work has taken a reflexive approach when considering the ethics of accessing these sites. This paper reflects on my research on bugchasing communities on Twitter where bugchasing, the fetish of seeking HIV infection, has found an environment to thrive. I created a Twitter profile for my research to which I uploaded anonymized quotes, questions, etc. I also used the profile to engage in conversations with bugchasers and obtain interview participants. The creation of a Twitter profile allowed me to gain unprecedented participant-observer access to bugchasing groups online, but also presented challenges: was Twitter mediating who I engage to? Was the data of those interactions anonymous? Was I legitimizing troubling practices? Was my profile misinterpreted? In this presentation, I address these concerns by presenting excerpts from my research journal alongside interview material where I ask participants about their reaction to my profile. I argue that online networks may present obstacles for sampling and participant expectation but also that they provide effective accountability to the communities under study.
Silje Bakken from The University of Copenhagen presents 'Meeting the interviewees at their digital “home-turf”: encrypted interviewing in networks of online drug sellers' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: The first rule of any ethnography would be to be where the action is. Such a perspective becomes problematic when your field of study is both hidden and digital in its nature. This paper develops how to make use of the digital networks formed by the participants and the technology they use to recruit and interview for a qualitative study of online drug dealing. One hundred participants were recruited and interviewed through Wickr, an encrypted messaging application. Using Wickr to recruit and interview drug dealers and buyers proved to be of great value. Especially the fact that the participants already new the application and trusted it, and that Wickr-IDs were shared within the networks. It also provided both participant anonymity and researcher protection, and left the interviewees with a sense of control. However, we did meet obstacles that challenged the interview flow and the study’s reliability. The high flexibility concerning time and space was both a positive and negative factor, such as with time management, researcher flexibility, and interview context. Some other challenges were the use of emoji, multiple participation, and sincerity of their answers.
Arianna Tozzi from The University of Manchester presents 'Visualizing ‘Groundwaterscapes’ - Making Creative Critical Counter-Cartographies of an Invisible Common Resource' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: Groundwater provides 98% of freshwater available on Earth (UNESCO, 2015). It sustains the livelihood of rural communities in semi-arid regions, providing a flexible buffer during scarcity. To quench the thirst of cities, agri-businesses and industries, this invisible resource is increasingly overexploited, endangering the resilience of the socio-natural environment. I will develop a methodology to visualize ‘groundwaterscapes’, using creative critical counter-cartographies in a community in India. The image will emerge from a patchwork of maps collected throughout my research, each representing a ‘worlding’ (Goldman, Turner and Daly, 2018); a way of being, understanding and knowing the world, built from the positions actors and actants occupy. This messy patchwork combines maps-as-usual (GIS images, water quality measurements, etc.) with creative ways of mapping-back. Firstly, I will conduct ethnographic mapping with community members, tracing the history of groundwater as a dynamic and emotionally entangled resource within the socio-natural landscape. Secondly, I will use positional cartographies to document my own subjectivity as fluid and evolving. This will facilitate a critical reflection of my positionality within my field-of-work and academic practice, paying attention to ethics while representing others. This methodology is a commitment to take seriously multiple ontologies and epistemologies, thus encouraging a politics of solidarity based on affinities across ‘imagined communities’ (Mohanty, 1988). To create a world that admits plural and equitable resiliences (Anderson, 2015), we should imagine the “possible-but-not-yet, or that which is not-yet-but-still-open” (Haraway, 2019).
Catrina McHugh MBE from Open Clasp Theatre Company and Maggie O’Neill, Professor in Sociology at University College Cork, present a keynote address entitled 'Working Together to Create Change: Changing the World One Play at a Time' at Methods Fair 2019.
Sergio Silverio from King's College London presents 'Further uses for Grounded Theory:A methodology for psychological studies of the performing arts, literature, and visual media' (Sergio Silverio, Catherine Wilkinson & Samantha Wilkinson) at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: Grounded Theory remains a popular qualitative methodology even after half-a-century of existence. Recent years have seen a renaissance in the use of the methodology, and it is increasingly being utilised in innovative ways. These have included the application of Grounded Theory to ‘non-traditional’ data such as those derived from the performing arts, literature, and visual media. Most published Grounded Theory analyses using these data appear experimental and/or tentative when drawing their conclusions, and little guidance is published on how to conduct Grounded Theory on visual and textual media. With this article, we go some way towards redressing this issue and further explore the adaptability and utility of Grounded Theory as a qualitative methodology. Further, we offer a ‘nine phase, seventeen stage’ methodological approach derived from the ‘Classical’ school, to be used by Psychologists and other Social Science Researchers who wish to explore psychological phenomena in the context of the performing arts, literature, and visual media. This paper will enable researchers in Psychology and other social sciences, both novice and experienced, to see this methodology as a further use of Grounded Theory; this time for data derived from the performing arts, literature, and visual media.
Nafhesa Ali from The University of Sheffield presents 'Meaningful research through creative writing: storying sexual relationships' (Nafhesa Ali and Richard Phillips) at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: Through creative writing, it is possible to explore questions and themes that more direct and formal methodologies tend to miss. This is particularly the case when research involves participants who, for personal, cultural and religious reasons, may not be comfortable with direct questions about certain subjects. This presentation describes the methods employed in a project investigating sexual relationship attitudes and practices among young British Muslims. For many Muslims, sex and relationships are difficult subjects to talk about, whether in everyday life or in interviews. This study worked around the challenges of getting people to talk about this taboo subject by employing creative research methods, which circumvented these difficulties. Specifically, the project involved creative writing workshops, in which young Muslims worked across a range of media - animated film, short fiction, blogging and playwriting - and in this way explored and presented their experiences, hopes, fears and dreams, in each case on the subject of sexual relationships. This presentation includes a spoken element, in which we explain our project, and a series of short films, which present some of the fruits of this work. In these films, young Muslims read from their creative writing.
Claire Forbes from The University of Manchester presents 'Visual Assets-Mapping with Young People' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: This hands-on session will model the salient features of a visual and participatory assets-mapping approach developed within a PhD study as a means of surfacing deep understandings of young people’s educational trajectories and lived experiences within a high poverty context. In doing so, the approach presented synthesizes elements of the ABCD approach (See Kretzmann & McKnight 1993) with the capability approach (See Sen 2001) to enable the development of a methodological process that bends a traditional focus on tangible, place-based services and structures, with a more original focus on capturing and exploring intangible social relationships and networks. To begin, attendees will be invited to actively participate in three assets-mapping activities designed to surface rich, contextualised stories around the following key question: What assets do you value and use within the community? Following this, attendees will reposition themselves as researchers as they are guided through a thematic analysis of the maps and artefacts created, while pondering the complexities inherent in doing so. The session will close with a brief reflection upon the utility of assets-mapping approaches as a means of engaging traditionally marginalised groups, as both participants and researchers themselves.
Tunde Varga-Atkins, from Lancaster University and The University of Liverpool, presents ''Crafting poems for data analysis?' at Methods Fair 2019. Abstract: Bazeley (2013) suggests that playing with different formats of communication can enhance the process of sense-making, whether it be through a poem, a diagram, or a concept map. In this paper, I discuss how I used poems to make sense of interview data in my doctoral study on staff and students’ use of digital capabilities in two disciplines, engineering and management. I had previously utilised images and metaphors to make sense of my research data (Powell & Varga-Atkins, 2013; Tunde Varga-Atkins & O’Brien, 2009). Cahnmann (2003) emphasises that poems, while enhancing different forms of expression, can also play a role in stimulating ideas and concepts in qualitative researchers’ repertoires. Based on my experience of this process, I will illustrate the advantage of poem-writing over other creative arts-based forms for the purpose of data analysis and synthesis.