If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
ideas sometimes when you wait they come to you.
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Friday, 23 November 2012

What Sam and Billy say

Hi I am going to address a question Alicia asked on her blog “when quoting my interviewees, how do I do it..?”

The idea of a citation for a book etc... is so that when we read your work we can then go and find the book (journal etc...) you had in your hand that you cited from. But the interviews are data you collected and we cannot go and find them somewhere. You are using quotes form interviewees as examples of something you are writing about, so it is a bit different from a citation for book (etc...) which is pointing us towards further reading or bringing to mind a theorised idea by someone else. So assuming you have given an outline of what you research looked like. [ie you interviewed six professional dancers. Billy works in UK, Jamie in Mexico etc... and any other relevant information we need to know about them while respecting their anonymity.] Then when you write about something they said you can write

'it's a long way to go to go to an audition' - Billy

So now a notes about quoting people in terms of the above:
First: the decision to give them names – many people say participant (1) or participant B. This is ok but think about the topic of your research. If it about people's experiences or feelings etc… then it is ok to present them as real people. Not labelled like test-tubes. If it’s a test-tube based data collection process then naming them A, B or C makes more sense. If you use names think about the implication of gender and cultural background a name can give.

Second, as I mention above take a moment  in the overview of the research project in your account to let us know who and where and how you collected the data so we can see any comments in the context of the inquiry. For instance some of my interviewee might be college students and other professional dancers and other teachers.

Third,  DO NOT use the quote to make your point. Make the point and then use the quote to give an example of what you are talking about.

'Most dancers I spoke to talked about the importance of auditions in terms of keeping current with what was going on, but also pointed out that there needed to a balance between the keeping current and the expense of preparing and traveling to an audition. 

'I live in Gistone (small village in the North of England) and most auditions I am interested in are in the South. its a long way to go to travel to an audition.' Billy (professional dancer)

Billy's comment underlined Smiths (2009) theory that dancers in the outside of major cities are disadvantaged when it comes to audition experience. However, Sam the other professional dancer I interviewed from the North of England saw a trip down South for an audition as part of a larger goal. Sam used the time to also meet up with friends and visit museums.

'I try to make going to auditions only part of what i do in a day. That way I feel less pressure in the audition. Otherwise I'm like thinking if I don't get this I've wasted the fare down here and what-not.' - Sam (professional dancer). 

Smith (2009) has said that professional dancers start to see auditions as away of socialisation. It seemed that the professional dancers who lived outside of major cities..... 
Smith quote....'

The quotes from Participants should be indented but I can't see how to do that on the blog post page and my computer keeps crashing, so I'M trying to get this posted before it dies again - but enough of my problems!!!!

Back to the quotes-- as we read more and more quotes we also start to get a sense of the personalities of the participants - that is also why its nice to give them names; it is easier to remember who said what.

As you start to write what you are handing in for assessment in any of the modules start to let go of the drive to make a point (tell the truth) - and think of the actual document you are making as also a work of art. how you write, structure and form the essay is an art too. It is not just about what you are saying because how we understand what you are saying is more subtle then just the idea, it is how the words are put together. I am very aware of this as a dyslexic - and it often seems like a magic trick to even get words together in the first place but every now and then you might read something or see something and think that was really well done. Think about what you think is well written and why. Alan did a post about truth, that was interesting to read. I guess I am saying the same thing. Let's suppose there is more than one 'truth'. What you are thinking about when you write should not be presenting the 'truth' of what you found but capturing the nature of what you found or experienced.   

(Sensitivity to the whole process not just an account of past.)

What do you think? Does this help with the quote question?


  1. Thank you so much for this post Adesola, it has helped a lot. As I move to write up my inquiry I will definitely take on the point of using names instead of labels. I had intended to code them e.g. I3 for interview 3, but totally agree with giving them names to help the reader build a sense of personality.
    Thanks for the advice!

  2. Thank you Adesola your examples make it even clearer.

  3. Thanks Adesola, even though I am familiar to this it's always good to refresh the reasoning behind it. I like to think of it as the recipe book to my ideas.


  4. Super useful - THANK YOU!!!