Social Research Methods Toolkits (from the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods)

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Social Research methods…

Can be interesting, complex, and experimental in themselves.  Realities is part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, based in the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Live at the University of Manchester.  Here we find out what Realities Toolkits are, and give links and abstracts for a small selection of the resources.  Text taken directly from an email sent by the Morgan Centre, to the ‘postgrad’ academic JISC email list:

About Realities toolkits:

Our toolkits are short documents on the practical side of doing research. Topics include: using music elicitation in qualitative research, ethics in research teams, recruiting participants by knocking on doors, participant-produced video, participatory maps, disseminating research by putting on an exhibition, informed consent for visual data.

See our website for working papers, research methods training events and presentation recordings.

Doing Blog Analysis
– Helene Snee

This toolkit draws on experiences of a study in which blog analysis was used alongside interviews to explore young people’s representations of their gap year experiences. The toolkit outlines the methods I employed in the project and suggests the sorts of questions that can be answered using blog analysis alongside the issues that might arise.

Practical considerations of leading and working on a mixed methods project
– Vanessa May and Hazel Burke

The aim of this toolkit is to highlight key issues that might arise out of leading or working on a mixed methods research project. It will be useful for both Principal Investigators or project leaders, and other team members alike, and will offer a practical guide to help prepare for, design and carry out a mixed methods project.

The focus of this toolkit is in other words on the practical aspects of such work, covering some of the more common pitfalls that mixed methods projects might face: the importance of teamwork; the need to allow for extra time; issues around data analysis and integration; and publishing from mixed methods projects.

What to do with contradictory data?
– Vanessa May

This toolkit focuses on the issue of data integration within mixed methods research. The term ‘mixed methods’ is used here to denote research that combines qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis in one study.

One of the main issues facing many mixed methods researchers is the question of how to integrate data, with the particular problem of ‘contradictory’ data. Mixed methods research is perhaps particularly prone to ‘contradictions’ in data because of the different categories and levels of analysis, as well as contrasting explanatory logics, that are employed. This toolkit discusses different approaches to the issue of integration and ‘contradictory’ data.

Using Walking Interviews
– Andrew Clark

This toolkit discusses our experiences using walking interviews in outdoor urban environments, focusing on the practicalities of conducting these interviews and on ways of thinking about the data produced in the method, which we used as part of the Connected lives project.


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