EURAM 2009 Research Methods

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Going Between: Insights gained from combining qualitative methods in organizational research

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EURAM 2009 Research Methods

  1. 1. Going Between: Insights gained from combining qualitative methods in organizational research Dr Katrina Pritchard & Dr Gillian Symon EURAM 2009: May 11 th -14 th Track 31 Research Methods and Research Practice
  2. 2. Purpose <ul><li>Examine both philosophical and practical tensions of qual/qual multi-method research via our own experience of combining ethnographic and discourse analytic approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight the active process of ‘going between’ as researchers work creatively within these tensions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Multi-method research: current perspectives <ul><li>Quan/qual: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>data conversion, supplementing via different levels of analysis, triangulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Qual/qual: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>generic language of research practice vs. distinct ontological/epistemological positioning (branding) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>analysis as ‘crunch point’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>researcher depicted as ‘teleporting’ between approaches </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Our perspective: Going between <ul><li>an active process of research engagement </li></ul><ul><li>a process of continual adjustment and readjustment to the context </li></ul><ul><li>research methodologies remain separated – held in tension </li></ul>
  5. 5. Our experience: Going between <ul><li>3 year research project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>social construction of professional knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Combined ethnographic and discourse analytic approaches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participant observation, tracer studies, field logs, documentary data, interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mid-range discourse analysis of the above (combining top-down and bottom-up perspectives) within an ethnographic frame </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Going between: discourse analysis and ethnography <ul><li>Discourse Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Deconstruction </li></ul><ul><li>Text centred </li></ul><ul><li>Outside looking in </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnography </li></ul><ul><li>Description </li></ul><ul><li>Actor centred </li></ul><ul><li>Inside looking out </li></ul><ul><li>Common Ground? </li></ul><ul><li>Social constructionist orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in materiality </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize reflexivity </li></ul><ul><li>Methodologically broad </li></ul>Different perspectives
  7. 7. Insights from going between <ul><li>Prompting reflexivity </li></ul><ul><li>As a means of moving forward </li></ul><ul><li>Providing different perspectives </li></ul>
  8. 8. Prompting reflexivity <ul><li>Attention to the discourse of ethnography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>focus on DA can create distance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attention to the importance of research relationships in discourse analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>focus on ethnography narrows the gap between researcher and research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Field notes as data for DA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interrogate the construction of the research process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Extra care needed to avoid pitfalls of over-reflexivity and navel gazing. </li></ul>
  9. 9. A means of moving forward <ul><li>Increases the number of possible routes for the researcher </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential pitfall of confusion and risk of illusion of progress! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Different emphasises at different times </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ethnography’s attention to gatekeepers and researcher relationships vs. DA’s attention to theoretical framing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But examining going between leads us to question notion of moving forward </li></ul><ul><ul><li>going backwards or sideways is sometimes as important </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Providing different perspectives <ul><li>Going between provides further resources for the interrogation of data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>although associated with the risk of over-analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potential of both ethnographic and DA to provide top-down and bottom-up perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to ‘zoom’ in and out of focus on text vs. focus on actors </li></ul>
  11. 11. Implications <ul><li>Extends understanding issues and opportunities offered by qual/qual research </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance to quan/qual research? </li></ul><ul><li>Potential to plan going between as a research approach? </li></ul>

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