This week I have been reading a book about Qualitative research in physical situations, like research in dance (Markula and Silk 2011). I am only at the beginning of the book but there is an interesting organisation for understanding how qualitative research differs from quantitative.
Markula and Silk talk about the
1) Situated researcher – that is your are in the situation of the research. In many cases students on BAPP are researching their own practice even.
2) Multiple practices – you might use a combination of what we at BAPP have called ‘research tools’ (interviews with observations for instance). Here is a great quote
“qualitative researchers turn the world into a series of representations”.
( Markula and Silk 2011p. 5)
This quote is also referring to theory by Denzin and Lincoln. What do you think about ‘representations’?
What we are saying is that in qualitative research we cannot possibly hope to capture the whole situation. If you believe in the importance of the body and sensation you cannot describe to others the whole picture they would need to be there. And then they might have a different experience than you anyway. So everything is in some way an interpretation filtered through you. This is why Module One is so important it allows you to start looking at your filters!! And in Module Two the ethics section allows you to start questioning why you have the filters you have and if you have some you were not even aware of.
3) Interpretation of meaning – being aware that as we interview and observe etc.. we are interpreting meaning. Just telling us what happened is still an interpretation.(because see above). So we must acknowledge that there is an interpretation by looking for a range of interpretations and questioning why we thought what we thought and asking what someone else would think. Who is that someone else one of the authors of one of the books from your literature review for instance. Then you can look at the situation of the data collection through the lens of what that author said and see if it brings a different interpretation than your one.
So what do you think? Do you see these in the work you are doing. They are interesting things to look at whatever module you are doing because they are about organising your thinking for communication of ideas (analysis). This is asked of you at every stage of the course: to see where YOU are in the work (the situated researcher/ the situated you). To be aware of a range of methods you are engaging in (like the tools of blogging, reflective journaling, talking to friends, reading, observing) and to start to look at how you are finding meaning (what makes you think what you think).
What do you think of this post!!!? Please comment
Markula, Pirkko, and Michael Silk. 2011. Qualitative research for physical culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.