In the training of doctoral researchers in the use of qualitative research methods, considerable effort goes into preparation for fieldwork and the collection of data. Rather less attention, however, goes into what happens when they have collected their data and begin to make sense of it. In particular, relatively little attention has been paid to the ways in which doctoral researchers might be supported as they begin to write using qualitative data. In this article we report on an inter-disciplinary project that set out to develop research training for qualitative researchers who had completed their fieldwork and were about to embark on writing their theses. An important issue in the delivery of this training was the question of boundaries - disciplinary, academic, technological and personal - and how these might be productively negotiated in the quest for good social science writing.
Bob Simpson and Robin Humphrey
Migration Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Aydan Greatrick, Jumana Al-Waeli, Hannah Sender, Susanna Corona Maioli, Jin L. Li, and Ellen Goodwin
This article draws on our experiences of carrying out PhD research on migration during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all involved with the University College London Migration Research Unit (MRU), and our PhD research explores the lived experiences of migrants and people affected by migration. This is the first of two articles in this issue of Migration and Society addressing the implications of COVID-19 on migration research from the perspective of postgraduate researchers. In this article, we firstly reflect on how “crises,” including the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably shape contexts of migration research. We then share how COVID-19 has shaped our relationship to “the field” and our formal research institutions. Finally, we share how we have adapted our methodologies in response to COVID-19 and, considering the complex ethical and practical challenges posed by this context, reflect on what it means to make methodological “adaptations” in times of overlapping crises.
Heritage Narratives of Russian Old Believers in Romania
analysis is centred on three interrelated practices: language maintenance and acquisition, the Old Believers’ singing tradition and tourism. The data considered in this article derives from multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork undertaken for my doctoral
The Legacy of Abraham Joshua Heschel
Michael A. Chester
Ten years ago, at a rather dull, all-day committee meeting, I sat over lunch with a colleague who, in making conversation, foolishly asked me how my doctoral research on Heschel was progressing. So I told him. He sat there openmouthed, and then commented, ‘How can you be so enthusiastic? When I was at your stage I was sick to the back teeth with mine.’
Realities of Black Girlhood in a Settler State
Kandice A. Sumner
In this article I examine my lived experience as a Black girl in a white settler state using an autoethnographic approach within the framework of critical race and feminist theory to unpack the deleteriousness of existing as a Black female in a white educational settler state. Drawing on my doctoral research, I conclude that greater attention, in terms of theory and praxis as well as compassion, needs to be applied to the educational journeys of Black girls in white settler states, particularly in predominantly white schools.
Reflections on a Photography Project with Young South Africans
This article stems from my doctoral research, which considers moral contestation relating to education in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Overall, I outline a case for working with young people: addressing asymmetrical institutional and generational relations of power in order to enrich the knowledge generated by research. My focus is a project entitled My Future, which involved approximately forty learners drawing diagrams and using disposable cameras to produce representations of their moral judgements. Notable distinctions between data gathered during two stages of fieldwork, of differing durations, are analysed with reference to my relations with interlocutors and related institutionalised and public discourses of morality. Using the concept of trust, which is established during exchanges of mutually beneficial sociality, I argue that how we understand others depends upon what they expect from us and what we expect of them.
Deference and Influence in the Ethnography of Epistemic Elites
Paul Robert Gilbert
Through his enduring efforts to interrogate the regulative ideals of fieldwork, George Marcus has empowered doctoral students in anthropology to rethink their ethnographic encounters in terms that reflect novel objects and contexts of inquiry. Marcus' work has culminated in a charter for ethnographic research among 'epistemic communities' that requires 'deferral' to these elite modes of knowing. For adherents to this programme of methodological reform, the deliberately staged 'para-site' – an opportunity for ethnographers and their 'epistemic partners' to reflect upon a shared intellectual purpose – is the signature fieldwork encounter. This article draws on doctoral research carried out among the overlapping epistemic communities that comprise London's market for mining finance, and reviews an attempt to carve out a para-site of my own. Troubled by this experience, and by the ascendant style of deferent anthropology, I think through possibilities for more critical ethnographic research among epistemic elites.
On Academic and Activist Knowledge Production Processes
Júnia Marúsia Trigueiro de Lima
In Brazil, many anthropologists are encouraged to act for the benefit of minority groups, assuming an activist role in conducting research on and with them. Yet efforts to integrate these dual roles are undermined by the continued separation of scientific knowledge production processes from other scholar-activist activities. In this article, I seek to contend this separation by reflecting on my work as a volunteer in medios libres (the “free media”). With this form of activism, I sought to support the Mexican Indigenous social movement Modevite alongside my doctoral research, in a process of double contention. I reflect on the possibilities of rethinking the activism–academia dichotomy in knowledge production and on how we can produce knowledge that is more strategic for the people we engage with.
Kerry D. Feldman and Lisa Henry
When engaged in doctoral research (1972) on urban squatter settlements in the Philippines, Feldman’s approach was guided by the pedagogy of Paulo Freire (2005[orig.1970]), which gratefully steered his behaviour away from the typical ‘Ugly American’ abroad in the world at the time (during the Vietnam War). Feldman became aware of the notions of ‘teacher-student’ and of ‘student-teacher’ primarily through his discussions with two Filipino doctors, Jess and Trini de la Paz (a husband and wife team), who organised a health education and training programme for volunteer participants from 12 squatter settlements in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao. They invited him to serve as a social science consultant for their project. They explained that their approach to health education and training was grounded in, and would always adhere to, Freire’s insistence that oppressed people should be viewed as teachers for anyone engaging in their instruction or assistance, requiring that their teachers also become their students in understanding or assisting their lives.
rhetoric, became conspicuous around this time. From 2004 onwards the idea of Europe appeared as an inspiration and model ( Wilkinson 2014 ), shaping to a considerable degree the LGBT activism and politics in Ukraine. Drawing on my doctoral research, I want