Methods Sessions

Methods North West has run two successful programmes of online Methods Sessions in 2020-21 and 2021-22, delivered by experts in their respective fields. A list of all previous sessions can be found in our archive here.

20th October 2022

Decolonising Methods

Admos Chimhowu (University of Manchester)

What does the decolonial learning discourse mean for social science research methods? As part of our celebrations of Black History Month, Methods NorthWest will host a panel discussion on Decolonising Methods featuring Dr Leon Moosavi (Liverpool University and Dr Njabulo Chipangura (The University of Manchester). The panel to be chaired by Methods Northwest Director, Dr Admos Chimhowu will explore ongoing scholarly conversations about decolonial knowledge generation and learning and its implications for social sciences research methods.

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27th October 2022

Using machine learning and natural language processing to enable text analysis at scale for better understanding harm to children who go missing in England.

Nicola Fox (University of Manchester)

Analysing text data for quantitative analysis, such as content analysis, or qualitative analysis, such as thematic analysis, can be time-consuming, resulting in small and unrepresentative samples, which makes it harder for the research community to reach generalisable conclusions. Computational techniques such as natural language processing (NLP) combined with machine learning (ML) could enable the automation of this analysis so that it can be done at scale. This talk with provide a beginners-level overview of NLP with ML and illustrate the potential application of these techniques in the analysis of a large volume of documents to better understand the extent to which published cases of serious harm to children involve missing person incidents.

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10th November 2022

Data-Powered Positive Deviance

Basma Albanna (University of Manchester)

In any community, there are those who achieve significantly better outcomes than their peers. Despite having the same resources and limitations, they find more effective solutions to complex challenges. The positive deviance approach seeks to identify these outperformers and understand the strategies behind their success so they can be replicated. Data powered positive deviance (DPPD) builds on this approach, giving practitioners a method to use digital datasets, such as earth observation and mobility data, to identify positive deviants. Their local solutions can then be uncovered and used to inform community and policy interventions.

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17th November 2022

The power of the pen: Prisoners’ letters to explore extreme imprisonment

Marion Vannier (University of Manchester)

Abstract Pending

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1st December 2022

What is Lived Experience? Towards a Biography of a Concept

Paul Jones (University of Liverpool)

Lived experience has got a central place in social science, but at the same time is a somewhat fuzzy concept. On the one hand, social research inextricably deals with the experiences and perspectives of others; on the other, academic analysis usually – arguably even should – means more than giving voice to participants’ perceptions. Reporting on some early-stage theoretical study of these tensions, this session offers some lines of inquiry with respect to the status of lived experience in academic study.

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8th December 2022

Doing Interpretive Research: Learning to Relate to the World Abductively

Koen Bartels (University of Birmingham)

To many social scientists, interpretivism has an intuitive appeal but at the same time it seems intimidating. They often do not know how to find their way in the, sometimes bewildering, interpretivist landscape or they lack the right training and guidance for developing the requisite knowledge, experience and confidence for learning how to actually do it. This interactive session offers an experiential learning approach to doing interpretive research. It focuses in particular on how we can learn to relate to the world abductively. We observe that many (aspiring) interpretive researchers tend to develop abstract research topics and questions that offer a shaky foundation for their project. Interpretive research advocates an abductive logic, which remains elusive and challenging. We explain abduction as a process of working through emotions to create new ways of relating to the world. We offer a range of heuristics for anchoring the research that strengthens the way interpretive researchers conduct their research and position themselves in the field.

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15th December 2022

Using Instagram as a tool for social research

Adele Moore (University of Liverpool)

Abstract pending

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2nd February 2023

Unpacking market controversies using the Cartography of Controversies

Olfa Mejri (Lancaster University)

Abstract Pending

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9th February 2023

The Body Is Electric: Using Bodily Responses to Explore Behavioural Sciences

Siobhan Caughey (University of Manchester)

**** Rescheduled from original date – 24th November 2022 ****

Physiological measurements allow for precise information about an individual’s bodily functions, thereby allowing researchers to study the relationship between processes and behaviour. While EEGs (electroencephalograms) are often used within research to record brain activity, other physiological measurements are often overlooked. Heart rate (ECG, electrocardiogram), skin conductance (EDA, electrodermal activity), and eye tracking all have a place within research and can be used to explore bodily responses. Alone, each of the measurements can indicate arousal and changes within the body. Together, different physiological responses can be used to gain a clearer understanding of how the body is reacting in the process under investigation. With examples from psychology, criminology, and business, this talk introduces the use of more advance methodologies within behavioural research.

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16th March 2023

Using data analytics in equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Sami Karamalla Gaiballa (University of Manchester)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is a key value of higher education institutions. The University of Manchester, like many other universities must take active steps to provide an inclusive environment for students, staff and visitors irrespective of their age, race, religion or belief (non-belief), sex and sexual orientation, disability and other characteristics. Data analysis plays a vital role in understanding existing patterns and making recommendations to improve EDI. In this talk, Sami Kramalla-Gaiballa will discuss his role as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Data Analyst at the University of Manchester, and demonstrate how he uses data in his everyday role.

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23rd March 2023

Digital diaries as a decolnising method

Aneta Hayes (Keele University)

Abstract Pending

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30th March 2023

Researching the Life-Course Creatively

Sarah Marie Hall, Laura Fenton and Liz Ackerley (University of Manchester)

Abstract Pending

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20th April 2023

Multispecies methods

Catherine Oliver (Lancaster University)

Abstract Pending

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