research “site”, “sample” and/or “relationship”

In the northern hemisphere it’s the time of year when many doctoral researchers are thinking about the places where they are hoping to do their research. As I’m writing about this very topic at the moment, I’ve decided to post some of the things I’m writing. The book is about methods and is intended for people who are doing relatively small-scale studies.

There is a lot of talk in research methods books about “access” to a research “site”. I have some concerns about these terms.

My concerns are not about semantics. The words we use reflect deep, and often implicit and unexamined positions – they are both ontological and epistemological, that is, as they relate to the ways in which we understand the world and the ways in which we think about research and ourselves as researchers. The words we use, in our research proposals and methods thinking and writing, position us in particular ways. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these words are incorrect and that you ought never to use them. I’m simply suggesting that it is useful that we subject our taken-for-granted terms to some scrutiny.

Let’s start with “site”. The notion of the “site” is somewhat ambiguous. Dictionary definitions of the word site usually highlight its material nature – it is a plot of ground, a location, a material address. Think of other words that are commonly attached to “site” – burial site, a building site, the site of the action, a website – and see the meaning. The site is where the action – burial, building, web – takes place.

A site being developed

A site being developed

The problem with simply saying “site” as a stand-alone word, is that it positions the school/hospital/museum/office/mall as an abstract object. “Site,” as a stand-alone term, dehumanizes what the researcher hopes to study. It is merely the ground on which the researcher will act, because they are the one who has declared the school/hospital/museum/office/mall a “site”. The people in the actual place still see it as a school/hospital/museum/office/mall, as they did before the researcher came, and as they will after they leave. The term “site” by itself, or when coupled with “research” can fail to acknowledge that the school/hospital/museum/office/mall is not simply the ground on which the researcher walks, but is also a place already occupied by people, social relations, history/ies and stories.

Furthermore, a “site” suggests something boundaried and discrete. But any school/hospital/museum/office/mall is not an island. It is engaged in multiple ‘stretched out relations’ in time/space. Where it is cut off from ‘an outside’ that is something for us to investigate, not replicate.

A sample

A sample

Depending on its usage, the term “sample” may well continue to objectify the school/hospital/museum/office/mall. The dictionary definition is helpful here too. A sample is defined as a small part of something intended to illuminate the whole; it is a piece, of something larger, which is to be analysed. The passive sentence construction here is revealing. If we make the above phrases active – a sample is a small part of something that the researcher has selected and worked on in order to illuminate the whole, it is a piece of something larger which the researcher will analyse – then the agency of the researcher, and the inert and passive nature of that which is sampled, are clear. But a school/hospital/museum/office/mall is not inert. It is not the same as a sample of tissue or soil or handwriting. There are people in the school/hospital/museum/office/mall who have their own analyses of what is going on there, and why – and they have the power to choose whether we can be part of their world, and if so, what about themselves and their organisation that we can see and interact with.

The terms “site” and “sample” are drawn from particular traditions of research. Archeologists work on sites. Laboratories work on samples. It is worth thinking about how much these terms really are applicable to work in a school/hospital/museum/office/mall and in libraries and archives. Of course, it is often necessary to use these terms, say for instance when talking with funders who expect us to use this kind of language. However, we can also – and at the same time – use alternative words that do not objectify and de-humanise and which instead acknowledge the agency and rights of those we want to participate in our research project.

I prefer to think about building a research relationship. To continue with definitions, a dictionary version of relationship has it as both a connection between two or more people or things, and also the ways in which people or groups and/or things behave with, feel about, deal with, interact with, and regard each other. Let’s take that a bit further. What else is there about relationships that might be instructive? Relationships change, they are not fixed. Relationships can be good or bad, exciting or dull, productive or unproductive, sad or happy, long lasting or short-lived, faulty or perfect. The way that relationships work out depends on the ways in which the initial encounter occurs, the expectations and agreements that are made about conduct (or not), ongoing interactions, the amount of effort put in… If this is a capital R Relationship, then it is also worth remembering the old truism that it takes two to make one work, and that keeping the Relationship going requires continuous attention. A relationship is not a one-off event.

These qualities of a relationship (and Relationship) – mutuality and reciprocity, contingency, requiring ongoing attention in order to be sustained, indeed a kind of fragility – are extremely helpful in orienting a researcher and their research project. If you approach a school/hospital/museum/office/mall thinking of it, not just as a site, a material location, but also as a relationship, then you will be mindful of the other party/ies and their wishes, interests, feelings, knowledge, beliefs, needs and their ongoing programme of activities.

So now, choose your research relationship…

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a new pen

I recently bought a fountain pen. I’m not sure why, as it was expensive, and I don’t seem to have a lot of call for such a pen.

Now, it’s not that I don’t write by hand. I do. A lot. As an ethnographer I am always taking notes when I’m “in the field”. However, I usually use a biro, or sometimes a pencil or two. I’m quite fussy about the biros and pencils; I like them to have a certain weight. I don’t like a writing instrument that feels as if it might blow away. I want something solid in my hand.

If I’m going to sketch something, which I also often do in ethnographic research, I like to have a black ink pen handy – you know, the kind that leaks when you’re on a plane. I’ve often mistakenly left a black ink pen in my bag and then covered myself in a hard-to-wash-off inky mess when I next take the lid off. Maybe that’s happened to you too.

IMG_0188

Like a lot of people I keep handwritten notes of meetings in a diary-style notebook. There are generally lots of ‘to do’ lists in those books, often with far too little crossing out as things actually do/don’t get done… But I wouldn’t use a fountain pen for this kind of meeting work. Too pretentious perhaps, or just too easy to lose the pen!

I’m really not sure why I bought this particular fountain pen and at this time. Some kind of nostalgia, perhaps, for an era when I used to write most things by hand?

I’ve been musing recently on how writing may have changed with the advent of the computer. I don’t mean just the act of typing, but the actual processes of composition. Although I’m a planner, I think that I planned a lot more when I wrote by hand and then typed up the nearly final version. It’s so easy with a computer to cut and paste, to remove things and to re-order.

I can remember going into a creative writing class to show students my own hand-written version of cut and paste… it was not unusual for me, pre computer days, to physically cut up a text and stick it back together with tape. So my manuscripts not only had pages with lots of scribbled insertions, arrows and crossing out, but they also usually only hung together thanks to Richard Drew (he invented Scotch tape). The students were often amazed at the amount of revision that went on before the final copy was typed – and that of course was the point I wanted to make.

odour-b2

I too am often amazed by the amount of revision that some writers do. I am particularly interested in the way that some writers kept revising and revising their galley proofs. D H Lawrence for example, treated his galley proofs as if they were simply the next version of the story for him to work on. I can only imagine what his publisher thought of the expense of having to typeset and then re-typeset and then re-typeset again.

(See the full text and more about Lawrence and the writing/production of the story The Odour of Chrysanthemums here.)

But I don’t have someone else to type out my manuscripts, I must do this myself. And academic writers are not given the luxury of making substantive changes to their manuscripts after they are set. We have to keep changes to a minimum. So we are accustomed to having to get our revisions done before we submit our work. And writing on a computer does in fact save one of the steps – rather than write by hand and then type, we type and can revise much more easily on a computer, we don’t have to redo the entire manuscript each time.

Perhaps then this is not why I bought the pen.

The anthropologist Tim Ingold suggests that writing by hand is a ‘making’ similar to playing an instrument, or crafting an object (Ingold, 2007). Hand writing requires more of the body than simply typing. It has a physicality which requires

… continuous flowing gestures not a sequence of discrete letters.
In a cursive script the line, as it unravels upon the page, issues directly from this gestural movement, with all the care, feeling and devotion that goes into it. I compare it to practising my cello. When I practise – which I do as often as I can – the sound pours out from the contact between bow and strings. In just the same way, handwriting flows from the moving point of contact between pen and paper. The keyboard ruptures this connection. The tapping of my fingers on the keys bears no relation to the marks that appear on the page or screen. These marks carry no trace of movement or feeling. They are cold and expressionless. Typing on the computer, I find, is joyless and soul-destroying. It rips the heart out of writing.”
(Ingold on handwriting)

Ingold says that he encourages his students to write by hand in order to reawaken a sense of personal involvement in authoring which, he suggests, can lead to different and often profound insights. There’s a pleasure arising from the act of writing itself, rather than just from the production of text.

Maybe it is the act of writing itself that I want to get back to. I used to like handwriting as a child. I enjoyed the aesthetics of a neatly written page, and the pleasures of copying out texts I liked. Maybe this is what I want to try to recreate.

As yet, I don’t know. My new fountain pen sits in its box, waiting for me to discover what use I have for it. We will see.

PS. If you too want to wonder about when to use a fountain pen like mine, and can afford this luxury, then they are sold online.

Posted in academic writing, fountain pen, revision, Tim Ingold | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

what is a ‘research warrant’? #knowhow

The notion of a warrant is important in research. It helps to know what the term means, particularly if you get asked a question about your research warrant in, say, a conference presentation or supervision tutorial.

Most dictionaries define a warrant as a justification for an action, belief or feeling. If an action is warranted then there is a sound rationale, cause or basis for it. An action that is warranted is one which has good grounds.

But how is this relevant to research?

At the end of a piece of research we want to be able to say what we “found” – but we have to make claims that are justified. In other words, for the research to be trustworthy, it has to be both defensible in both ‘process and product’. A ‘research warrant’ thus refers to the ways in which our data supports the claims that we make. The warrant connects our original rationale for the study, the data and analysis and the claims we make at the end.

The warrant for claims generally includes:

(1) the research design – was the research in a credible tradition? did the researcher position themselves explicitly so that readers could see the situatedness of the study? did the methods allow the question to be answered? was the sample sufficient? (note that the emphases in these questions and their weighting will vary by discipline.)

(2) the conduct of the research – was the data generated in an appropriate manner? was the analysis thorough and defensible? was the research conducted according to current ethical standards?

(3) the logic between the claims and the research – do the claims made follow from the actual results? have the results and analysis been presented in a logical sequence so that the steps in the argument are clear?

(4) an awareness of what the research can and cannot do – has the researcher considered the limitations of their research? has the researcher demonstrated reflexivity?

Particular traditions and disciplines also have their own questions germane to warrant – for example, it is crucial in participatory traditions to involve participants in the research as well as in decisions about their representation. In ethnography the evidence of long-term involvement in the field is germane to credibility. In experimental research the provision of raw data, records of analysis and decision-making go to the transferability and confirmability of the results.

So there you go, the research warrant.

Posted in evidence, research decisions, research design, research methods, research warrant | Tagged , | 1 Comment

is your research or your paper needed? #knowhow

A successful research proposal or published academic paper or book almost always justifies its own existence. Omitting the reasoning that produced the bid, project paper or book can lead to bid failure and paper rejection.

A research project

In order to undertake a piece of research, we generally establish its raison d’etre at the outset. That makes sense if you think about it,  because why would a funder or a research committee agree to research being done if they don’t know why it’s being proposed?

Establishing the reasons for research means that we need to ask, and answer, some important questions:

• Why is this research needed?
• Who needs this research and what will they do once they know its results?
• What/where is the evidence that this knowledge is needed and how persuasive is it?
• Why is research needed, and not something else (policy, practice)?
• What will change/be different if this research is done?

Sometimes it is easier to state these questions as a problem – so, What is the problem that this research addresses? To whom is this a problem, why and how will this research make a difference?

We might also want to add to these questions some others, such as:
• Why this research now?
• Why this research here?
• Why this research with this particular sample/method?
• Why am I/we the best positioned to do this work?

Answering these questions forces us to go beyond simply saying “Well, no one has done this research before, there is a gap here in what we know, and besides it’s just interesting to me”. Simply pointing to an absence, a lack of existing research, is insufficient. (“Blue skies” research usually offers a rationale which is more than “We don’t know”, it suggests why it might be good to find out.)

Answering the ‘rationale’ questions forces us to think about why knowing something, why filling a gap, why doing something of wider interest, actually matters. And this may not be something new at all, but something that has been hanging around for a very long time!

An academic publication

We have to ask and answer similar questions at the start of an academic paper or book. We have to provide the rationale for the reader so that they understand why they need to read on. So before we begin to write we need to ask ourselves the same kinds of questions:

• Why is this paper or book needed?
• Who needs this paper or book and what will they do once they know its results?
• What is the evidence that this knowledge is needed and how persuasive is it?
• Why is an academic paper or book needed, and not something else (a website, a newspaper article, a text book)?
• What will change/be different if this paper or book is written and read?

Sometimes it is easier to state these questions as a problem – so, What is the problem that this paper or book addresses? To whom is this a problem, why and how will this publication make a difference?

We might also want to add to these questions some others such as:
• Why this paper/book now?
• Why this paper/book here – and in this journal?
• Why this paper/book in this particular genre/style?
• Why am I/why are we the best positioned to do this writing?

The rationale almost always goes in the introduction to a paper or in the introductory chapter to a book. However, the rationale may be further explained in the paper through a literature review or through some kind of policy or practice analysis. The rationale is integral to what Barbara and I call the Locate work in an introduction or abstract.

The rationale in the paper anticipates the So What question, that is, the significance of the work that is being reported. It also frames discussions of the implications of the research. Thus, the rationale established at the outset is almost always returned to at the end of the paper or book, in the conclusion.

Posted in academic writing, conclusion, introduction, research funding, research proposal, so what | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

literature work in a journal article – the introduction

I was recently asked how much literature should go in the introduction of a journal article and how much should go in a separate literature section. This is a hard, as well as a good, question. It’s something that bothers a lot of people. And judging by some of the papers I see as an Editor and a reviewer, it’s something that people have different views about.

In some ways it’s also only part of the question, because the answer requires thinking not only about literature, but also about the work of the introduction and the purpose of including literatures at that point – compared to the work that literatures might need to do later in the paper. The answer to the how much literature at the start is not simply about quantity, but also purpose. 

There are two things to consider when thinking about literatures in the introduction. 

(1) the introduction must spell out your purpose and process.

The introduction to a journal article is very important. It has to set out the problem, puzzle, issue that the paper is to address. The introduction has to argue that it is important that we think differently about the issue, problem, puzzle. In other words, the introduction has to establish that there is something we don’t understand and need to, or we just don’t know and ought to, or that we need to think about differently. The paper is going to help us do that. 

There are various ways to describe how the introduction establishes this case. Barbara and I talk about the introduction having three moves – a locate, focus and outline.

• The locate move is where the problem is put in context, delineated and justified – the nature and significance of the topic is established. This might be through reference to policy, practice, common discourses or literatures. Typically the writer starts a journal article with something that establishes a broad context, and which connects that context to the reader. (You could this of this as the What and Why of the paper.)

• The focus is where the writer says exactly what they are doing to do in the paper to address the topic. They also usually say something here about the basis on which the paper is written – what kind of study the work draws on and the data that has been used to make the argument – library work, reasoning, empirical analysis of particular data in a specific research tradition. (You could think of this as the How, When, How Many and Who of the paper.)

• The outline of the argument shows the key steps that are to be taken, and in what order.

Now, it is not uncommon for some literatures to be cited in the introduction. However, you don’t need a lot in order to accomplish the locate work – there might be something about context and/or something related to significance – you might refer to a gap in the literatures, a common reading in the literatures, a problematic assumption in the literatures, and give a few key indicative references. But there isn’t a long list.

The real literature work comes later in the paper where you explain the work you are using as building blocks for your own work and/or the literatures you set out to challenge. This might for example be in the form of a short literature section, theoretical section, or around one or more relevant themes.

(2) the introduction must get the reader’s attention.

The second key aspect of the journal article introduction is that it must quickly convince the reader that they should give up some of their time to your work you must show them, right at the start that it is it is worthy of their effort. This means that:

• a good introduction generally isn’t too long. If the beginning of a paper goes on for pages and pages then it isn’t an introduction at all, but the paper proper. Some people suggest than an introduction consists of a set number of paragraphs – three to five is the usual number on offer – but I’m a bit skeptical about blanket rules of these kinds. I think the key thing is to understand that an introduction lays your cards on the table and spells out what is to come. It is a scene setter not the actual scene itself. If the introduction goes on for too long the reader will get impatient and give up.

• the introduction is readable – it isn’t loaded up with dense difficult prose and phalanxes of citations. These are just off-putting and they suggest to the reader that the whole article is going to be indigestible.

• the opening sentence and paragraph is lively and interesting – seductive even. Some people suggest that the writer should use quotations, vignettes, media items and so on in order to capture the reader – these are all possibilities, but of course not mandatory. A well crafted opening sentence and beginning paragraph is often quite sufficient. Of course might not get to this level of writerly writing straight away, and it is generally better to get something approximate at the first draft and then revise – crafting and honing the introduction so that it does its work succinctly and elegantly.

So this is all by way of saying that the introduction is not a literature review. It’s not a place to dazzle the reader with your analysis of the field. It’s the place to set out your stall. It’s the time to attract the reader’s attention and make your pitch. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

action research with/against ‘impact’

This is a version of my editorial just published in Educational Action Research, a journal I co-edit with colleagues in the UK, USA, Australia and Austria.

Governments in many parts of the world are increasingly concerned with demonstrating the results of their research investments. Research funding schemes are not only being steered strongly towards politically framed agendas, but there is also considerable pressure placed on universities and researchers to show how their research results have traction beyond the academy. 

The notion of research with ‘impact’ has gained considerable currency in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. ‘Impact’ is not only common parlance, but is now integral to the way in which the quality of university research is judged. In the last UK Research Excellence Framework, universities had to provide ‘evidence’, in narrative form, of how the research conducted by their academic staff had had an influence on policy, media and public understanding, and/or various publics. Government funding for higher education research is subsequently distributed on the basis of this audit exercise. All applications for UK Research Council funding also have to have an ‘impact plan’ which shows how their research will be communicated to, and taken up by designated ‘user ‘communities.

The idea that research might make a difference is integral to action research. We want to make a positive difference. Action researchers might therefore be forgiven for thinking that, in this context, their/our moment in the sun had finally arrived. However, this is not the case. The press for more ‘useful’ research has been accompanied by the elevation of particular research approaches. The gold standard for research in the field of education for example is the randomised controlled trial, a procedure which follows an experimental model often used in medicine and laboratories. There is also in the UK a new emphasis on longitudinal research, and on statistical approaches which assess the relative influence of various correlates on a designated measurable outcome.

These research traditions assume a separation of research from the change that they bring about. First there is the research and then the findings are applied. These research traditions also generally posit a researcher who remains detached from the research process; the research is directed towards something or somebody else. In some of these research traditions, there is adherence to the idea that any form of researcher influence, or any change during the process of research, corrupts the results.

While action researchers may have no particular objections to these kinds of research traditions (some of us also do some of this kind of research), the same is not true in reverse. Action research is most often positioned at the bottom of the contemporary methodological hierarchy. This is not simply because it produces research and change at the same time, rather than as sequential events. Nor is it just because researcher subjectivity, enlisted via processes of reflection, is integral to our practice. It is also because the goal of action research and change is often seen as slight – our sites are the self, various forms of professional practice, the experiences and understandings of small groups of people. The research that is most valued as being ‘impact’-full occurs at scale. Impacting on one person, a small group or a single institution is seen as insignificant.

The impact agenda thus creates a considerable challenge for action researchers. One the one hand, our practice, by definition, does produce change – change that we can and do ‘evidence’. On the other hand, the change is rarely scale-able. One can’t simply take the results of one piece of action research and apply them elsewhere. What is transferable is the practice of action research itself – cycles of reflection and action.

However, the impact agenda does create an opportunity for us to argue for understanding change differently and to place the various results of our action research project into a wider arena. Our research community takes as its starting point that action research enlists the minds, hearts and actions of people and this drives sustainable change. While there is no doubt that big systemic change can be achieved by the manipulation of strategic policy levers, there is also a place for small-scale projects which address not only local concerns but also intractable issues. Action research, and its close relatives – practitioner, practice-based and participatory research – are particularly powerful in local contexts and with ‘wicked problems’. Action research generates hope, energy, optimism, enthusiasm and new ideas.

Action research does achieve what some would call ‘impact’ but in ways somewhat different from those currently in political favour. Perhaps part of the lack of regard for the work undertaken by the action research community is that our research projects are never combined as meta-studies. While action research never features in ‘evidence’ based reviews based in experimental models of research, there are other ways of conducting a meta-study – the narrative review (see this guide to their conduct) and the meta-ethnography (Noblit & Hare, 1988) for example. Our community may be better regarded in the discursive struggles over what counts as impact if we are able to develop more systematic ways of looking at our aggregated work around particular topics of concern.

The impact agenda is unlikely to go away in a hurry and all signs are that it will increase in importance. As a community, action researchers have a clear choice about whether to see this as a threat or as also, and at the same time, a chance to showcase what we can do. We can take as a small optimistic sign the interest of both the UK arts and humanities and social science research councils in participatory research traditions. There is a place for us to begin to marshal our own ‘evidence’.

Noblit, G., & Hare, G. D. (1988). Meta-ethnography: synthesising qualitative studies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Posted in action research, impact | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

why blog your field work?

Over the last week I’ve posted every day about the ethnographic research I was doing at the Tate Summer School, research carried out with the Tate Schools and Teachers team. Why? Why did I interrupt my normal flow of writing about academic writing and research with a set of posts about my own research? Why was I blogging my research at all?

A lot of people tell me that they are worried about posting about research that is so clearly work in progress. But I want to convince you that there are some good reasons to do so, particularly if you’re doing qualitative work with real live people. And here’s a few of them:

(1) it’s a good record. Writing a blog post forces me to focus on providing a straightforward account of what went on each day. I have to choose the key points and write them succinctly. The posts form part of the data that I have – this is just a fairly simple diary-like account of the sequence of events.

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(2) a summary gets done. It’s very easy, after a busy day taking notes and pictures and talking with people, to come back to where you’re staying and put the notebook away, saying to yourself that you’ll work on writing your notes out some time later that night. But you usually don’t. Blogging provides good research (self)-discipline.

(3) the post is often a better account than the field notes. Notes taken while participating and observing are always a bit sketchy. Writing something immediately after you leave your site means that you can use your short-term memory to fill in any gaps. If you wait you may in fact forget some key details. And in the post you do, of course, have to start to sort out what is important and what’s not. You edit out some of the extraneous details you have in your notes – and images. (Why did I take a shot of the the dirty dishes, I must have been thinking about something at the time!).

(4) it’s an easy way to keep a record of things to follow up. A blog post offers you the opportunity to link though to other organisations, people, reading, “stuff”, which were part of the day. You can then pursue these in more detail later. You don’t forget what they were or struggle to recreate them from your notes.

And I’ve found that:
(5) participants and research partners like to read the posts each day too. It not only works for you but also works for them as a record of what’s gone on and what resources, people, organisations and “stuff” they used – so they can follow these up too.

(6) participants know more about what you’re doing. We all read our institutional ethics forms about checking with participants and keeping them informed, but this is often not taken very seriously IMHO. A daily post goes a little way to telling people what youre doing, and…

(7) a post can lead to good conversations with participants. if something is online, people can read it and then – tell you’ve got something wrong, or disagree with you, or discuss something further or tell you what they think. If your notes are locked away in your notebook, then this kind of responsive conversation is less easy to begin.

(8) the telling of the events as they’ve just happened has “live-ness” which is often missing from accounts which are heavily processed long after the event has happened (see “Live methods” by Les Back and Nirmal Puwar)

(9) blog readers may get some ideas of their own from reading about your work (I’ve just been contacted by one of my colleagues who is going to play with GIFs and zines on the back of yesterday’s post.)

BUT of course there are some parameters you have to establish around your live research blogging.

Ethics

You need ethical permissions – participants need to know you’re blogging. And if you use pictures then you must get specific consent.

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You’ll have to work out who you name and who you don’t. In my posts I follow a convention of naming key people (artists and co-researchers) and leaving everyone else as “participants”. But I show participants’ pictures, with permission, so they are not entirely anonymous – but I don’t actually attribute particular ideas and opinions  to any one in particular.

And I don’t put anything that might be controversial or harmful to anyone or the organisations involved.

Focus

You have to sort out the purpose of the posts, and this dictates the content and style. My posts are a form of audit trail, as I’ve explained, and they are straightforward accounts/recounts of events. But of course I’m writing blog posts for a wider audience, not just myself or the immediate research participants. So I do raise a few questions that I know might be of more general interest. I don’t write too much either. The posts can’t be too long. I also try to put in a few images that themselves are a little informative. I don’t see my live research blogging as the place to start conducting an analysis or having a theoretical discussion – but that might be appropriate for you. The trick is to work out, before you start posting, what you want to do, why and what might interest potential readers.

Organisation

If you’re going to post regularly while you’re researching you do need to allow the time to do this. I got up at 6 30 each day and wrote a post about the events that happened the day before.

66_u0saDRaNJohSsYC5hZsoNoWABpNnE7SB2pQg_240I published at roughly the same time each day, before I went off for that day’s “field work”.

You also need to make sure you have the right gear to do what you want – good internet, a decent keyboard, the capacity to get images into posts without too much time-consuming faffing about. I used a mini ipad this time round, and it was a great deal less heavy than lugging a note book and camera around, but it was a lot more irritating writing and publishing the actual posts.

And did I say already you have to be well organised and committed? Starting a blog about your daily research and then not doing it sends a negative message to your participants, telling them you have good intentions but cant follow through. Not what you want them to think when you’re still in the middle of your research!

So do think carefully about whether blogging your research is for you. But I’d certainly urge you to consider it.

Posted in ethics, blogging, Tate Summer School, blogging about blogging, ethnography, blogging your field work | Tagged , , | 7 Comments