Desert island data: an investigation into researcher positionality
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AbstractThe nature of qualitative research means that the personal values of an individual researcher can and do (unwittingly) shape the way in which they analyse data sets, and the resultant conclusions drawn. However this phenomenon is under-studied in social research and this article seeks to help rectify this. This article presents findings from a small research project focused on discourses of class, masculinity and work among British male comedians from working-class backgrounds, interviewed on the popular BBC Radio 4 radio programme Desert Island Discs. Six different researchers, from varying disciplinary, methodological and theoretical groundings, as well as from varying personal backgrounds, analysed three interview recordings and transcripts separately. All the researchers wrote up their individual analyses of these interviews and wrote reflexive pieces examining why they thought they approached the data as they did. The researchers then came together as a group to compare and contrast findings and approaches. The results from this study, including the discrepancies and distinctions and final group analysis, are reported alongside a thorough discussion of the project’s methodology. We find that the project evidenced how a diverse research team can bring out deeper and richer analyses, and was a refreshing way to try and answer questions of individual and collective positionality.
CitationDean, J., Furness, P., Verrier, D., Lennon, H., Bennett, C. and Spencer, S., (2018). 'Desert island data: an investigation into researcher positionality'. Qualitative Research, 18(3), pp. 273-289.