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Researching The City


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Introduction to qualitative research methods for summer school on Popular Culture & the City, july 2009.

Introduction to qualitative research methods for summer school on Popular Culture & the City, july 2009.

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  • 1. Researching the city Research methods of cultural studies Sum e s ho l mr c o Popular culture & the city
  • 2. Teaser • Interest in culture, i.e. processes of meaning making • But this culture is not necessarily our own (in terms of class, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality etc). • And we are aware of our and their particular position in the socio-political landscape
  • 3. Outline • Qualitative research methods • The nature of… • Doing participant observation • Other forms of qualitative research 2. Doing cultural studies (discussion) • Distaste for rules • Interdisciplinary nature 3. A bit about me…
  • 4. Linda Duits Assistant Professor Qualitative methods of communication research Youth, religion and popular culture • Headscarves and porno-chic • Young evangelicals Ethnographic approach • Critical, respectful, ‘whole’ culture
  • 5. Lecture • Qualitative research methods • The nature of… • Doing participant observation • Other forms • What do you want to research? • Why would you want to do this? • How can you do this?
  • 6. doing research What? 1. What am I interested in? 2. Choose a topic that has wider implications 3. Define a theoretical context 4. Be practical
  • 7. doing research Why? • Because you have to (i.e. contractor) • For political reasons  cultural studies • Societal relevance • Scientific relevance
  • 8. doing research How? • Processes of making meaning • Interest in – people, Qualitative – culture research – understanding (verstehen) methods
  • 9. doing qualitative research What?
  • 10. doing qualitative research What? • Qualitative research = • An inductive research strategy, that emphasizes the social construction of phenomena that can only be known through interpretation. • Quantitative research = • A deductive research strategy, that emphasizes quantifying phenomena in an objective reality.
  • 11. doing qualitative research Why? • Induction = theory derives from research • Construction (ontology) = social properties are outcomes of interactions • Interpretation (epistemology) = how people make sense of their social world
  • 12. doing qualitative research How? • Seeing through the eyes of those you study • Description of and emphasis on context • Emphasis on process • Flexibility and limited structure • Concepts and theory they are grounded in data  Using qualitative research methods
  • 13. doing participant observation What? • Method of data collection where the researcher immerses him/herself for a prolonged period of time in a social setting • It implies – Participation • Get active • Talk – Observation • Look • Listen
  • 14. doing participant observation Why? • Emphasis on data derived in context • Analysis of what people do and of what people say (triangulation) • Relevant for those interested in culture (i.e. groups, group processes etc instead of individuals – compare psychology and sociology)
  • 15. doing participant observation How? • Participation only = not research • Observation only = does not fit with quali • Roles change – Participant-as-observer – Observer-as-participant – Overt/covert
  • 16. doing participant observation How? Topic list • Research always start with a RQ • Research question  areas of interest  subquestions What do you want to know? What will you look/listen/ask for?
  • 17. doing participant observation How?
  • 18. Other forms of qualitative research What? • Interviews • Focus groups • Existing documents • Creative visual methods – Photovoice Not discussed • Doing qualitative analysis
  • 19. Doing cultural studies Complexities • Interdisciplinary nature • Distaste for rules • Researching (and thus representing) the Other • Position of privileged researcher vis-à-vis marginalized informant Discuss this idea Problematic yes or no? Why (not)? Any solutions or advice?
  • 20. Conclusion You now know: • What qualitative research entails (globally) • When to chose participant observation You are now able to: • Start your (first) participant observation • Discuss the peculiarities of doing cultural studies research
  • 21. More resources • Recommended reading Practical, clear instructions Davis, A. (2008). Investigating cultural producers. Meyer, A. (2008). Investigating cultural consumers. • Website Bryman book See you soon!