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Department of Sociology

 
Townsend Study

Prof. Ann Phoenix (University College London)

Tuesday 5 Nov, 12:30-2pm, Lecture Room 4 (8 Mill Lane). Sandwiches will be provided from 12pm at the Sociology Department (16 Mill Lane, across the road).

This event is part of the 2019-20 Sociology Semiar Series.

This talk explores the possibilities for narrative research from quantitative sources by presenting material and analyses from a study focused on the marginal comments written on the paper questionnaires completed in Peter Townsend's groundbreaking 1967-68 Poverty in the UK survey (PinUK). In the paradata study we analysed the types of marginalia recorded by the interviewers and research team and found that, in many cases, the marginalia were sufficiently storied to enable narrative analysis. This talk explores the different ways in which the interviewers constructed narrative identities for the research participants and themselves in what they wrote to the senior researchers who were responsible for running the study. Methodologically, the talk helps to illuminate both the importance of narrative analysis for historically grounded social research and why ‘paradata’, fieldnotes and marginalia are gaining currency as research material in the humanities and social sciences.

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