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Jacqui Gabb, J, and Janet Fink, J. 2015.SOCRMx Week 8

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Edited by Steve Bamlett, Thursday, 23 Nov 2017, 21:20

Aim to write around 500 words on:

Jacqui Gabb, J, and Janet Fink, J. 2015. ‘Telling Moments and Everyday Experience: Multiple Methods Research on Couple Relationships and Personal Lives’. Sociology. Vol 49, Issue 5, pp. 970 - 987

Here are some questions that you might use to structure your writing:

·        What method of analysis was used?

·        How was the chosen method of analysis appropriate to the data?

·        What other kinds of analysis might have been used?

·        How was the analysis designed? Is the design clearly described? What were its strengths and weaknesses?

·        What kind of issues or problems might one identify with the analysis?

·        What are the key findings and conclusions, and how are they justified through the chosen analysis techniques?



Reductively speaking the research uses a two-staged method:

1.     An Online Survey using a convenience sample (n=5445) collecting quantitative and qualitative (open-text answers) data, the latter ‘quantified’ using ‘grounded theory’.

2.     Numerous qualitative data collection methods aimed at a sample of ‘couples’ (n=50). Data appears largely to be collected from individuals rather collectively from dyads.

Generically described as Multiple-Methods-Research (MMR), ‘Moments Approach’ is an innovative ‘mixed method’ in which forms of combination, and specific uses of, research paradigms and ‘tools’ ‘constantly (evolve)’ to match the mutating knowledge they generate. Thus, qualitative methodologies are ‘refined’ from conventional norms: avoiding collection alone of ‘logocentric’ and favouring multiple multimodal, datasets. Sequential stages of MMR interact and interpret each other’s meaning(s) and whilst compromising traditional uses of some tools, it adds interpretive richness. For instance, MANOVA data identify statistically significant clusters of themes, which initiate focal categories for use in the qualitative research.

Methodology also matches the goal of describing ‘complex and uncertain objects’, with porous, ‘fuzzy’ boundaries of objective definition. Hence, descriptions of enactment or objects cross categorical boundaries by using ‘vital’ metaphors: ‘dynamic’, ‘flexible’ and ‘fluid’. Aiming for holistic representation of Bourdieu’s psycho-social concept ‘habitus’, data are intended to be read in multi-sensory ways.

The role of the reader in this process is essential but not fully explicated. Data yielded by this research isn’t completely interpreted or ‘multi-sensory’ until processed by its readers. Thus Sumaira’s diary-data is strictly describable only as multimodal (using visual and textual modalities for instance).

Evidence from a diary accountIt only yields a ‘palpable sense’ of ‘vitality’ when read (using multiple senses that ‘embody’ meaning) by living readers. Yet this process of reconstructing multi-sensory experience (sound, sight, proxemics, and signification) is only partially explicated in a dense final paragraph.

This is a weakness because available paradigms, such as reflexive ethno-methodology, explicate such meanings using ‘thicker’ descriptions of the ‘collaborative’ roles of participant researcher, interpreting researcher (even when these are one person) and ‘readers’ in the research. Other weaknesses include the fact that, whilst critiquing its concentration on ‘couples’, as a source of ‘bias’ from ‘queer perspectives’, it doesn’t address this limitation actively.

Moreover, neither unmediated data from heterosexual males, nor LGBTQ couple data, though collected, get represented richly. Both detailed data examples are from individual women in heterosexual relationships. Methodologically Discourse Analysis was available to explicate ‘account variability’ yielded from using multiple stimuli from multiple group-types (Potter & Wetherell 1987:39). We must question then whether ‘doing couples or relationships’ data are representative of all participants.

Moreover, ‘foci’ determined within and before the qualitative research change as other themes cross-cut, confounding them: their significance expressed only in metaphor: ‘flashes’ in multi-faceted gemstones. The authors’ claim that ‘slower pace’ enriches data-interpretation by finding ambivalent or contradictory, meaning(s) in research ‘foci’. However, this is also a disadvantage because masses of over-complicated data become time-consuming to reduce into comprehensibility. They admit of ‘false starts’ and conceptual obscurity, as contingencies in the process revise the boundaries of ‘objects’ experienced by both participants and researchers.

Nevertheless, they self-evidently discover issues that hide from conscious perception under layers of everyday experience; thought to be of unsystematic relationship to life-experiences that regulate couple-relationships. They establish that ‘moments’ of interactive inter-sensory experience demonstrate complex patterns of interpersonal/ intrapersonal negotiation between couples: Hayley privately weighing up ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of sleep over heterosexual responsiveness. Those methods match this research arena, whose movable boundaries must yield results that are always situated and provisional: thus, though unnecessary in 2014-5 to distinguish LGBTQ marriage from civil-partnership, this cannot be so in up-to-date replications.

588 words (as low as I can get it)

 Potter, J. & Wetherell, M. (1987) Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour London, Sage Publications

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