Qualitative Research at Glasgow Seminar Series (Jan to Mar 2020)

Issued: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 16:15:00 GMT

Up-coming Seminars 2019/20

Alasdair Stewart

Date: Tuesday 28 January 2020

Time: 12-1 pm

Venue: Room 133 in the Hetherington Building, Urban Studies,, School of Social and Political Sciences

Title: Free and Open Source QDAS: You have nothing to lose but your license fees!

Abstract:

Qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) has the potential to revolutionise the array of analysis techniques and the scale of qualitative research. Yet, QDAS has largely failed to facilitate methodological innovation and its status and acceptance within qualitative research remains uneven. Historically, the QDAS literature was critical of software, essentialising design problems as inherent limitations. More recent contributions have challenged this, but shifted blame to poor training and user resistance. This paper makes an alternative critique by bringing together Marx’s theory of alienation and the case for free software. It sees significant limitations in extant QDAS, but views these as a product of the proprietary model they are based on. A model that centralises the means of analysis in the hands of a few private companies, locks data behind proprietary file formats, and forces researchers to adapt their analysis to the limited tools provided. By undermining community and frustrating analysis, it alienates researchers from their data, each other, and themselves. Free software restores power to communities through enshrining the freedom to use, study, share, and modify the software for any purpose. The design philosophy of PythiaQDA, a free and open source QDAS in (very) early development, will be used to illustrate the revolutionary potential of these freedoms. PythiaQDA’s vision of the future of qualitative analysis is one where everyone can access the means of analysis, modify the software to create new methodologies, work seamlessly with existing open source quantitative software, and share their analysis and findings in new creative ways.

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Carin Runciman

Date:Tuesday 11 February 2020

Time: 12-1 pm

Venue: Room 133 in the Hetherington Building, Centre for Social Change, Dept. Sociology, University of Johannesburg

Title: Research for social change: A scholar-activist perspective

Abstract:

Globally, the working class finds itself under attack through the advance of neoliberalism. In South Africa, black working class communities have, since the end of apartheid, continued to resist the structural inequalities created by neoliberalism, apartheid and colonialism. This paper provide a reflexive account on how my research with, on and for community organisations and social movements has attempted to play a wider role in forging progressive social change. The paper reflects on two interventions I have made into public and policy debates in South Africa. The first concerns the portrayal of black working class communities engaged in community protests for basic needs, such as housing, water and electricity. It is estimated that at least two such protests have occurred a day in South Africa since 2005. This has led to state responses that have sought to characterise protesters as part of an ungrateful and undeserving poor to outright state violence. The second considers the role of research in a campaign against amendments to the Labour Relation Act (LRA) in order to protect the right to strike in South Africa. The paper will reflect upon my experience of being a scholar-activist and what this means for research practice, design and methods. Critically, this paper will reflect upon the structural power I am afforded as a white, cis-gendered, middle class female academic to speak for and on behalf of those I research with and on, the implications this has for research and movement building.

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Ed HalL

Date: Tuesday 25 February 2020

Time: 12-1 pm

Venue: Room 133 in the Hetherington Building, Geography, University of Dundee

Title & Abstract: TBC, topic: Participatory Methods

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Adriana Mihaela Soaita

Date: Tuesday 10 March 2020

Time: 12-1 pm

Venue: Room 133 in the Hetherington Building, Urban Studies, University of Glasgow

Title: Photo-Elicitation in Telephone Interviewing: Researching Home Materialities from Afar

Abstract:

Drawing on participant-generated photo-elicitation in telephone interviews conducted with private tenants in Britain, we contribute to a new strand of home literature that engages with the vibrant materiality of things. In particular, the paper reflects on how our pioneering methodological approach empowered participants to introduce their own points of view through ‘thick’ descriptions, revealed previously undocumented home practices and enabled researchers’ reflexivity and the co-production of knowledge with participants located miles away. The method powerfully captures home’s tangible and intangible materialities and their importance to wellbeing in ways that words-alone interviews cannot. We conclude by introducing the metaphor of ‘the fold’ to reflect on the benefits of photo-elicitation in telephone interviewing by transporting the researcher into the participant’s home; and the allegory of ‘the invisible tether’ to reflect on differentials in tenants’ space of agency in constructing a sense of home in the UK’s private renting sector (PRS). We argue that housing studies can benefit from engaging photo-elicitation in questions spanning from the abstract to the concrete, and from the inside to the outside of the home.

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