Methods North West will be running a series of short online Methods Sessions between July – December 2020, delivered by experts in their fields. To attend a session, please register via the relevant Eventbrite link below and you will be provided with the Zoom details to join.
Thursday 17th September, 2-3pm
Writing Methods Beyond the Academy – Ronnie Hughes, University of Liverpool
A session based on my own methods of writing by varying where I write, how I work and the genres I work in. From a background in social activism and a decade of writing the Liverpool blog ‘A Sense of Place’ I’ve now been applying my walking, observational, blog writing, poetry, nature, fiction writing and photography methods to my post-graduate sociology work for two years. So this will be a discussion of these methods together with a consideration of how they might be applied to your own work. Writing better by taking some risks, enjoying what you do and producing work that arguably stands a better chance than the standard academic approach of being an informed pleasure for other people to read.
Thursday 24th September, 2-3pm
“Being there”: Rethinking fieldwork in the time of Covid – Evi Girling, Keele University
This session reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on fieldwork and specifically on the ethnographic aspiration of ‘being there’ in the context of an ongoing three year ESRC project on Place, crime and insecurity in everyday life. We will reflect on the practical challenges and the impact of restrictions on fieldwork through the lens of this project and on some of the opportunities (and risks) of the migration of fieldwork online. We will also explore the extent to which Covid-19 and its associated disruption of the expected certainties and uncertainties of the processes and aspirations of qualitative research offers an opportunity for reflexive turns in the journeys of ongoing research. There will be opportunities to discuss how Covid-19 has impacted on and changed the way in which you conduct or plan to conduct your own research.
Thursday 1st October, 2-3pm
Repurposing journalism and the ethnographic gaze – Ciara Kierans, University of Liverpool
This session asks how journalistic reporting brings different kinds of analytical affordances into view for ethnographers, when dealing with tricky, contentious or ‘hard to reach’ ethnographic concerns, especially those that move beyond the confines of ethnographic enquiry temporarily and situationally. Discussion for this session will initially be organised around a medical scandal taken from my own fieldwork in Mexico. This can be used as a spring board for your own study problems. Related readings will be sent in advance.
Thursday 8th October, 2-3pm
Deleuze’s methods in the sociology of health and illness – Lena Theodoropoulou, University of Liverpool
This session will provide examples of how we can do empirical research in the sociology of health and illness using Deleuzian methods. I will specifically discuss the deployment of the Deleuzo-Guattarian assemblage for the description of spaces of recovery from drugs and alcohol. Empirical sociological methods like interviews and visual methods will be discussed under this prism, as connection-building devices that drive the unpacking of the caring practices that constitute the recovery assemblage.
Thursday 15th October, 2-3pm
Using patient casenotes in narrative, social or medical researches – Alannah Tomkins, Keele University
This session will consider the value of nineteenth-century asylum casenotes for students of personal narratives, or historians of social life and medical change. Casenotes survive in multiple archives across England, the fruits of legislation from 1808 and 1845 to ensure a network of institutions able to cure or contain the ‘lunatic’ poor. The format of casenotes varies a little between different establishments, but collectively they contain a wealth of information about patient cohorts. Furthermore, these materials are increasingly being calendared or digitised. What do such documents offer, and how can we make best use of them? Examples of casenotes from asylums in the English midlands will be circulated before the workshop, alongside a narrated PowerPoint slide setting out preliminary questions for discussion. This preparation will ensure that the majority of our shared time can be devoted to unpicking the contents of the casenotes and devising strategies for their use in answering literary or historical questions.
Thursday 22nd October, 2-3pm
Working with ‘Found Data’, Insights from Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis – Phil Brooker, Alex Holder, Michael Mair (University of Liverpool), Chris Elsey (De Montfort University) & Patrick G. Watson (Wilfrid Laurier University)
When gathering data first-hand becomes difficult, it can be worth thinking about what we might pick up second-hand. In thise session, therefore, we want to focus on ‘found’ data, data we might happen to come across and how we might best approach it and make use of it. Drawing on our experience of doing ethnomethodological and conversation analytic studies of everything from military operations, the use of lethal force by the police, space missions and the public disclosure of mental health issues in sport through to game-playing, music making and life vlogging, we will discuss how objects that have often been treated as supplements to research (documents, texts, videos, etc.) can themselves yield in-depth understanding of cultures, workplaces and forms of practice. Approached creatively but rigorously, the use of ‘found data’ can be a way of pursuing studies by means other than primary data collection.
Thursday 29th October, 2-3pm
Crowd Sourced Digital Heritage – Ben Anderson, Keele University
In this talk, we will consider the nuts and bolts of undertaking online crowd-sourced heritage exercises, including some of the technical requirements behind the design of websites, copyright information etc, using some existing examples. We will also discuss the potential of this style of research for both qualitative and quantitative analysis, as well as its limitations and silences.
Thursday 12th November, 2-3pm
Machine learning in the Social Sciences – Francisco Rowe, University of Liverpool
This session will provide an intuitive introduction to machine learning for social scientists focusing on key concepts and regression and classification approaches. It will provide an on-hands practical experience using R computational notebooks and reproducible examples.
Thursday 19th November, 2-3pm
Using Freedom of Information Requests in Research – David Whyte, University of Liverpool
This session aims to provide participants with an understanding of the uses and applications of data obtained by Freedom of Information requests, and to develop an ability to analyse, write up and disseminate data obtained in this way. It will also provide an overview of the limitations of this data source, and offer a series of practical methods to overcome those limitations.
Thursday 17th December, 2-3pm
Doing discourse: from hermeneutics to narrative identities – Naveed Sheikh, Keele University