Week 9: October 28: Analysis / Group Workshop

Sigrid Calon, Riso Book, 2020, via Letterform Archive

How do we process two dozen sets of field notes and synthesize two dozen individual fieldwork experiences? Yikes. Today we’ll practice coding some sample notes, then design a system – and perhaps an assemblage of tools – that will allow us to both individually and collectively process our notes and engage in collaborative analysis, so our final report will become more than the sum of its parts. Ideally, we’ll also look back on our own self-reflexive design process – the process through which we designed our methods of observation, documentation, and analysis – and consider how that self-reflexivity could inform our analysis of OHNY.  

To Prepare for Today: 

  • How can we systematically think through and make sense of our notes, while still leaving space for productive “bumbling”? Read Robert M. Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, Linda L. Shaw, “Processing Fieldnotes: Coding and Memoing” in Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, 2nd ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2011): 171-199. It sounds complicated, but fear not: it’s actually pretty intuitive – and it maps directly onto the writing process. We’ll talk about this more in class. 
    • We won’t be using qualitative data analysis software for our project, but you’re welcome to read more about various options on this MIT Libraries guide. You could also watch these promo videos from Atlas.ti and NVivo, and instructional videos for Quirkos*, NVivo and Dedoose. Anthropologist Christopher Kelty has some reservations 🙂  
    • Yet digital “knowledge management” tools can help – especially for collaborative projects! Platforms like Scrivener (better for solo use) and Notion could be useful. Mural and Miro could also aid in clustering themes, both in independent and group projects.   
    • You could also go analog, using cut-up documents and post-its
  • It’s important to remember that analysis is a creative process – and we can design tools and techniques to foster analytical experimentation. Read Andrea Ballestero and Brit Ross Winthereik, “Analysis as Experimental Practice” in Andrea Ballestero and Brit Ross Winthereik, eds., Experimenting with Ethnography: A Companion to Analysis (Duke University Press, 2021): 1-12.
    • Now, please explore the book a bit (which the authors have kindly made open-access)! Read Sarah Pink, “The Ethnographic Hunch,” pp. 30-40, and any additional chapter(s) of your choice. They’re all short! 
    • Designers: can you think of any other design methods or tools we can use to aid in our analysis? 
  • Graduate Students: please share your second entry to our Concept Library on Notion by end-of-day on October 28! Undergrads: you’re welcome, but not obligated, to share a second resource, too. 

Supplemental Resources:

  • Paul Atkinson and Martyn Hammersley, “The Process of Analysis” in Ethnography: Principles in Practice, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2007): 158-90.* 
  • H. Russell Bernard, “Coding Field Notes” in Research Methods in Anthropology, 5th ed. (AltaMira, 2011): 300-5. 
  • Jan Blommaert and Don Jie, “The Sequence 3: After Fieldwork” in Ethnographic Fieldwork: A Beginner’s Guide (Multilingual Matters, 2010): 63-84. 
  • April Burns, “Analyzing Ethnographic Data” in Alicia R. Tyner-Mullings, Mary Gatta, and Ryan Coughlan, eds., Ethnography Made Easy (Manifold).
  • Joe Deville, Michael Guggenheim, and Zuzana Hrdličková, Practising Comparison: Logics Relations Collaborations (Mattering Press, 2016). 
  • David Fettman, “Finding Your Way Through the Forest” in Ethnography: Step by Step (Sage, 2010): 93-112 (esp. discussion of maps, flowcharts, org charts, matrices, etc. on pp 102-5). 
  • Margaret D. Le Compte and Jean J. Schensul, Analysis and Interpretation of Ethnographic Data: A Mixed Methods Approach, 2nd ed. (AltaMira, 2013). 
  • Margaret D. LeCompte and Jean J. Schensul, “Data Analysis: How Ethnographers Make Sense of Their Data” in Designing & Conducting Ethnographic Research: An Introduction, Vol. 1 (AltaMira, 2010): 158-80 (pdf).
  • Kent Löfgren, “Qualitative Analysis of Interview Data: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coding / Indexing” (May 19, 2013) < video: 6:50 >.
  • Celia Lury, Rachel Fenshawn, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Sybille Lammes, Angela Last, Mike Michael, and Emma Uprichard, eds., Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods (Routledge, 2018)
  • Carmel Maher, Mark Hadfield, Maggie Hutchings, and Adam de Eyto, “Ensuring Rigor in Qualitative Data Analysis: A Design Research Approach to Coding Combining NVivo with Traditional Material Methods,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods (2018). 
  • Camila Torres Rivera, “Coding Qualitative Data” in Alicia R. Tyner-Mullings, Mary Gatta, and Ryan Coughlan, eds., Ethnography Made Easy (Manifold).
  • Marc Stickdorn, Markus Edgar Hormess, Adam Lawrence, and Jakob Schneider, “Building a Research Wall,” This Is Service Design Doing: A Practitioner’s Handbook (2018). 

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