showing your workings in qualitative research

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  • Showing your workings in qualitative research

    Dr Ibrar Bhatt | @ibrar_bhatt |

    #resonances17 Conference University of Leeds

    May 2017

  • What is Qualitative Research?

    A research strategy that emphasizes words rather than quantification in collection and analysis of data (Bryman 2008)

    An array of attitudes towards and strategies (Sandelowski 2004)

    Unriddling (Alasuutari 1995)

    A flexible and data-driven research design (Hammersly 2016)

  • Qualitative orientations

    A flexible, inductive or data-driven

    Relatively unstructured forms of data


    Fluidity of setting

    Familiarise generalise

    The need to be:

    i) open to the data (go where it leads you); ii) thorough, transparent, and flexible in its collection; iii)and continuously developing descriptions and explanations (i.e. writing).

  • The QUAL methodological toolkit

  • Two projects

    The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation: Academics Writing in the Contemporary University

    Examined the writing and knowledge-producing work of academics in different universities


    Assignments as controversies: Digital Literacy & Writing in Classroom Practice

    Examined how students write their course assignments


  • The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation

    Phase 1

    Observations of sites

    Differently-focussed qualitative interviews

    i. Walk-along interviews

    ii. Technobiographic interviews

    iii. Day-in-the-life interviews

    Phase 2

    Videography of writing

    Phase 3

    Interviews with managerial, admin, and other staff participants

  • Assignments as Controversies

    Phase 1

    Observations of sites

    Phase 2

    Videography of assignment writing

    Phase 3

    Post-assignment interviews

  • (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

  • Conflicted stance

    I love Twitter I hate Twitter

    I like

    I like. but

    (Barton 2017)

    Conflicted stances in this research reveal that:

    understandings of technology use are nuanced and indeterminable

    identity positions are multiple

    how people use technologies depends on what they want out of it

    Recording conflicted stance and theorising it became an issue of rigour

  • Coding

    Thematic categories established by the research teams ongoing analysis

    Agreement ensured by the team through continuous discussion and deliberation

    Interviews initially, then video logs integrated into data set

    Atlasti software used The role of CAQDAS tools in reflexivity is under-examined

    Tools afford and restrict data presentation and outputs

    They are built upon the assumptions and ideologies of software designers

    Reflexivity is not just a human-centric activity

    Continual team deliberation and tool use became an issue of rigour

  • Coding

    i. What influenced your choice of software?

    ii. Which tools and options within the software are adopted, and how are they used?

    iii. How is the use of software accounted for in your public research outputs?

    iv. How is the use of software accounted for in private research outputs?

    v. How are breakdowns, limits and workarounds understood, drawn on, incorporated or theorisedinto your final accounts?

    (adapted from Wright & Bhatt 2016)

    Examination of tool use is an issue of rigour

  • Writing up collaboratively

    Project writing retreats

    Continual team deliberation in writing up became an issue of rigour

  • Videography

    Deciding what to observe

    Recordings used a screen-in-screen format (Bhatt 2017b; Bhatt et al 2015)

    Video logs created

    Capturing the writing activities the way I wanted to became an issue of rigour

  • Videography

    Screen-in-screen format (image from Bhatt 2017a)

    See Bhatt (2017b) for a detailed discussion of data collection methods

  • Videography

    Video log allowed for a step-by-step account of salient moments

    See Bhatt 2017b for a detailed discussion

  • Documenting & rationalising the multiple layers of work

    Data management decision/work Transformation conducted

    1. Setting up of video recording Angled webcams captured students movements and talk around the computers. Webcams show one angle of this view continuously

    alongside simultaneous audio recording

    2. Choosing and utilising screen

    recording software

    Blueberry Flashback Recorder (for screen recordings) was set to record on the students computers at the time of the assignments,

    then exported to appropriate video file format shortly afterwards. A wide net to yield a comprehensive view of what happened which

    was later viewed, scrutinised, and broken down

    3. Screen-in-screen format adopted To make exported files accessible and transportable, video quality was reduced (for economy of conversion time and storage space)

    and the screen-in-screen image was docked in a particular place on the screen

    4. File conversion and management For ease of access on multiple devices, video files were password protected and stored on Web servers (the Vimeo video sharing


    5. Video logging Selecting clips to analyse via a descriptive video log of each recording., to make complex multimodal data more accessible and allowed

    for ease of categorisation, coding, and breakdown. Focussed on segments of a descriptive video log varying lengths

    6. Gisting Overall impression (forest-wise) was initially attained, then a tree-wise (Erikson, 2006) understanding

    7. Digital transcript preparation Select segments were prepared for further analysis in CAQDAS (ELAN) for transcription and manipulability (slowing down,

    segmentation, etc.)

    See Bhatt & de Roock (2013) for detail

  • Videography

    7. Digital transcription preparation (manual version)

  • Videography

    8. Digital transcription (Image from Bhatt, 2017: p. 59)

  • Videography

    9. Analytic vignettes (including other data sources)

    10. Screenshots for publishing & presentations

  • The audit trail

    Credibility, dependability, and transferability

    Audit trail - trace through a researcher's logic and determine whether the study's findings may be relied upon as a platform for further inquiry

    Physical audit trail

    Intellectual audit trail

    Capturing the path you were lead on through the research

  • Impact

    Qualitative research can be impactful because it aims to understand the experience of particular groups - to familiarise rather than generalise

    Rigour and transparency allow research to be more accessible (knowledge transfer)

    Enhanced opportunities for partnership (knowledge exchange)

    Universities and publics co-generate knowledge: setting, research questions, research design, data collection, analysis and practice (knowledge co-production)

    Rigourous qualitative research is highly impactful

  • References

    Alasuutari, P. (1995) Researching Culture: Qualitative Method and Cultural Studies, London: Sage

    Bhatt, I. (2017a) Assignments as controversies: digital literacy and writing in classroom practice, Routledge Research in Literacy, NY/London: Routledge

    Bhatt, I. (2017b) Classroom digital literacies as interactional accomplishments, In Researching New Literacies: Design, Theory, and Data in Sociocultural Investigation, Knobel, M. and Lankshear, C. (eds.), New York: Peter Lang

    Bhatt, I, de Roock, R & Adams, J. (2015) Diving deep into digital literacy: emerging methods for research, Language and Education, Vol. 29 (6) pp. 477-492

    Bhatt, I. and de Roock, R. (2013) Capturing the Sociomateriality of Digital Literacy Events, Research in Learning Technology, Special Issue: Scholarship and Literacies in a Digital Age, Vol. 21 (4)

    Bryman, A. (2008) Of methods and methodology, Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 3 (2), pp. 159-168.

    Hammersly, M. (2016) What Is Qualitative Research? London: Bloomsbury Academic

    Wright, S. & Bhatt, I. (2016) Teaching-led research? Exploring the digital agencies of software in qualitative research, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016, pp. 489-498.