Participatory, observation & face to face research methods: Guidance for researchers at the University of Edinburgh

Sabina Savadova, Suzanne Black, Valentina Andries, Lisa Otty, Geoffrey Edgson

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Abstract / Description of output

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, researchers around the world have had to shiftto digital domains to generate data, redesign their studies, and rethink the ways inwhich they engage with participants.Substituting face-to-face with digital methods presents both opportunities andchallenges for researchers at all phases of the research process. For example,research participants may gain more power and agency within the researcherresearched relationship framework, and participants may be drawn from a widergeographical and social field. There may also be greater flexibility in when andwhere research takes place: the use of multimodal software for engaging withparticipants has allowed researchers to receive information from their participantsat the times and in the forms convenient for them. However, researchers have notalways been able to reach or create and maintain engagement with participantsdue to, for example, inequalities in access to digital technologies or reliableinternet connections. It can be harder to access vulnerable and marginalisedgroups, who don’t have access to or experience with devices and software, andensuring participant confidentiality and privacy can be a more complex process.Additionally, participants with disabilities might face extra challenges using certaintechnologies.This document aims to provide guidance for doctoral and early career researchersat the University of Edinburgh on remote data generation in circumstances whenconducting fieldwork involving qualitative participatory methods and physicalengagement is not possible. It was developed via desk-based research, case studiesof existing work at the University of Edinburgh, and a workshop.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • participatory research methods
  • ethics in digital research
  • online interviews
  • mobile phone diaries
  • digital methods

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