Contemporary undergraduate courses in research methods are challenging to teach because of the wide scope of the subject matter, limited student contact hours and the complexity of supervising research projects undertaken by novices. Focus group assignments within class offer an interesting and enjoyable way for students to develop and apply research skills and reflect on the process of being both a researcher and a research participant in social science disciplines. Using focus groups enables deep learning, formative assessment and the development of reflexive research skills. This article discusses the use of focus group assignments as a key assessment tool in a Sociological research methods course taught at Monash University, Australia. The use of focus groups as a teaching tool is further assessed through analysing the reflections and evaluations given by students participating in the course.
This issue of Projections features an impressive diversity of research questions and research methods. In our first article, Timothy Justus investigates the question of how film music represents meaning from three distinct methodological
Jennifer Dodge, Richard Holtzman, Merlijn van Hulst, and Dvora Yanow
reflexivity on scientific practices related to meaning making and knowledge claims’ ( Yanow and Schwartz-Shea 2014: xiv ). Whereas the contributions of interpretive research and interpretive research methods are clear and well established, the literature on
Research Methods for the Study of Religion
Religion and Gender
Non-religion and Secularity Research Network Web Site Revamped
American Academy of Religion Martin E. Marty Award
Andrew Irving, Christine McCourt, Kirk Simpson, Jeffrey Lambe, and Roberta McDonnell
Guide to Imagework: Imagination-based Research Methods (ASA Research Methods in Social Anthropology Series). By Iain R. Edgar. London and New York: Routledge, 2004, paperback, xii + 161 pages, £18.99. ISBN: 0 415 23538 3.
Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India. By C. Van Hollen. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 310 pages, £14.95. ISBN 0-520-22359-4.
Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide. By Alexander Laban Hinton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, paperback, 382 pages, £12.95. ISBN: 0-520-24179-7.
Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. By Veena Das. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, paperback, 296 pages, £12.95. ISBN: 978-0-520-24745-1.
Anthropology Beyond Culture. By R. G. Fox and B. J. King (eds), Oxford and New York: Berg (Wenner-Gren International Symposium Series), 2002, 306 pp. incl. refs, £17.99. ISBN: 1 8593 524X / 1 85973 529 0.
Methods and Myths in Disciplinary History
In this article, I demonstrate how Max Gluckman used his forceful and charismatic leadership to build the reputation of the Manchester School through collective research and writing practices. He created a distinctly anthropological genealogy for the case-study method that elided its earlier development within American sociology. He also championed a balanced use of ethnographic and quantitative research methods and a team-based approach to carrying out social research. While the case-study method has received much attention, both of these latter aspects of the work carried out within the Manchester Department are a neglected part of its intellectual legacy.
An Experiment in the Use of the Guest Interview, Focus Group Interviews and Learning Journals in the Teaching and Learning of the Anthropology of Modern Dance
Jonathan Skinner and Kirk Simpson
This article assesses the experimental teaching and learning of an anthropology module on 'modern dance'. It reviews the teaching and learning of the modern dances (lecture, observation, embodied practice, guest interview), paying attention to the triangulation of investigation methods (learning journal, examination, self-esteem survey, focus group interview). Our findings suggest that—in keeping with contemporary participatory educational approaches—students prefer guest interviews and 'performances of understanding' for teaching and learning, and that focus groups and learning journals were the preferred research methods for illuminating the students' teaching and learning experience.
Methodological Reflections on Participatory and Ethnographic Research
The concept of participation is currently evoked by constituencies as varied as urban planners, local governments, universities and social movements. This coincides with a revival of participatory research methods in the social and cultural sciences. This article argues that the critical potential of participatory research methods should not be taken for granted in cognitive capitalism, where participation is as much an instrument for governmental regulation from above as it is a practice for democratic self-determination from below. First, the politics of participation from the emancipatory departures of the 1970s to today's revival are being discussed. Second, based on a long-term ethnographic study on the transnational Euromayday movement of the precarious, it is demonstrated how positioning the researcher using reflexive ethnography can support a critical research attitude through a process of reflexive hybridisation. In concluding, reflexive activist scholarship is outlined as a critical research attitude which encourages participatory knowledge production in a way that responds both to the field of activism and the field of academia.
Reflexivity and Emotion in 'End of Life' Research
Fiona M. Harris
This article explores the embodied nature of training in social anthropology and reveals how, while working in multidisciplinary teams and drawing on research methods and approaches more commonly associated with other disciplines, one might still be 'outed' in one's interpretation and analysis. I draw on the experience of working on a project exploring methodological issues and challenges to conducting research with terminally ill cancer patients to reveal the importance of situating ourselves as researchers firmly within the prejudices of our own societies. While personal experience of losing a parent to cancer should have alerted me to other ways of seeing cancer, I was nevertheless obliged to confront sociocultural constructions of cancer and recognise them as my own. Through understanding the power of 'imagined experience', I gained further insight into how intersubjectivity and reflexivity are crucial to the research process.
A Case Study of Catalonia
Rafael Böcker Zavaro
This article sets out the results of research which aims to determine the characteristics of fishing development in the province of Tarragona, from the social, territorial and economic point of view, as well as the perspective of the public policies implemented for this sector. It considers the role played by the various social, economic and institutional agents, and the importance of sustainable and responsible management of fishing. The research method we have chosen is the case study. The comparative analysis of the seven fishing ports in the south of Catalonia is even more significant in that each one has different sales volumes. The techniques used for gathering information were: the semi-structured interview, non-participant observation and the use of secondary statistical and documentary sources.