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21 JULY 2013

Qualitative Research: systematic observations of social behaviour with no preconceived hypotheses to be tested

"Qualitative research is concerned with nonstatistical methods of inquiry and analysis of social phenomena. It draws on an inductive process in which themes and categories emerge through analysis of data collected by such techniques as interviews, observations, videotapes, and case studies. Samples are usually small and are often purposively selected. Qualitative research uses detailed descriptions from the perspective of the research participants themselves as a means of examining specific issues and problems under study.

Qualitative research differs from quantitative research in that the latter is characterized by the use of large samples, standardized measures, a deductive approach, and highly structured interview instruments to collect data for hypothesis testing (Marlow, 1993). In contrast to qualitative research, in quantitative research easily quantifiable categories are typically generated before the study and statistical techniques are used to analyze the data collected. Both qualitative and quantitative research are designed to build knowledge; they can be used as complementary strategies."

(Ruth McRoy)

TAGS

ild knowledge • case studies • Christine Marlow • complementary strategies • data collection and analysisdeductive reasoning • descriptive validity reliability • detailed descriptions • enquiry and analysis • hypothesis testinginductive procedures • inductive process • large samples • nonstatistical methods • observations • problems under study • purposive selection • qualitative and quantitative research • qualitative research • quantifiable categories • quantitative researchresearch interview • research participants • Ruth McRoy • social phenomena • standardised measures • statistical techniques • structured interviews • themes and categories emerge • video (research method)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 SEPTEMBER 2012

UK GLAD Conference 2013: Start, sustain, succeed - art and design education in the new policy landscape

Date: 24 Apr 2013; Location/venue: University for the Creative Arts Epsom Ashley Road, Epsom, Surrey , England, KT18 5BE

"The Group for Learning in Art and Design (GLAD) will be holding their 2013 annual conference on 24 April 2013 and is calling for case studies and research papers that explore three areas that are likely to change the future of English art and design higher education.

1. Starting. Changes to the school art and design curriculum and how the new English Baccalaureate and the demands it places on school timetables might crowd out of the curriculum offer in the arts. How we might engage to redress this? Speaker/s from the school sector.

2. Sustaining. How we should evolve our working with students to support their learning and to address the data–led climate for student choice? Speaker/s from institutions that have improved their student experience data and are engaging with students in innovative ways.

3. Succeeding. What are institutions doing to support employability? Case studies from graduates highlighting what was useful to them in securing employment, plus speaker/s from creative careers professionals.

We are looking for responses to these questions and themes, with contributors offering the conference presentations/papers/discussions typically of 20 minutes duration."

(UK Higher Education Academy)

TAGS

2013 • annual conference • art and design • art and design curriculum • art and design educationart and design higher educationcase studiesconferenceconference paperconference presentation • creative careers • creative careers professionals • curriculumdata-driven • data-led • data-led climate • design educationemployabilityEnglish Baccalaureate • GLAD (acronym) • Group for Learning in Art and Design • Higher Education Academy • new policy landscape • pedagogyschool • schools sector • securing employment • student choice • student experience data • support learning • teachingthe artsUKUniversity for the Creative Arts • working with students

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 MARCH 2012

AHRC Impact Case Studies: demonstrating the value of research through the influence on the wider public discourse

"In recent years there has been mounting concern to understand the distribution, utility and influence of research findings in non–academic contexts. This concern originates in part from political imperatives to demonstrate public value, for research to move towards pragmatic considerations in wider public discourse, in cultural, industry and policy environments.

All UK Research Councils are expected to be able to demonstrate the wider impact and value of academic research. The important question that we must seek to address is: what is the contribution of arts and humanities research to society? Or, what is the impact or influence of arts and humanities research outside the academy?

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has commissioned a series of case studies to investigate the impact of arts and humanities research. Across the series as a whole, impact has been defined in its broadest sense to include economic, social and cultural elements. The case studies included in this publication focus on the social impact of two artist exhibitions, specifically concentrating on visitor responses and reactions.

Established in April 2005, the Arts and Humanities Research Council provides funding for a range of UK wide programmes, supporting the highest quality research and postgraduate training in the arts and humanities."

(Arts and Humanities Research Council UK)

2). Social Impact of Artist Exhibitions: Two Case Studies

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TAGS

2005academic researchacademyAHRC • artist exhibition • arts and humanities • arts and humanities research • case studiescontribution to societycultural impactdemonstrable value • economic impact • funded researchgovernment policyimpact case studiesimpact of researchimpact on societyimpact on the economy • influence • knowledge integration • non-academic contexts • perceived value • performativity • political imperatives • postgraduate trainingpragmatic considerationspublic value • publicly funded • REF • research council • research findingsresearch outputsresearch publication • research quality • significancesocial impact • taxpayers • UK • utility of research • value • visitor responses • wider impact • wider public discourse

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 FEBRUARY 2012

Robert K. Yin: Qualitative Research from Start to Finish

"qualitative research first involves studying the meaning of people's lives, under real–world conditions. People will be performing in their everyday roles or have expressed themselves through their own diaries, journals, writing, and even photography – entirely independent of any research inquiry. Social interactions will occur with minimal intrusion by artificial research procedures, and people will be saying what they want to say, not, for example, limited to responding to a researcher's preestablished questionnaire. Likewise, people will not be inhibited by the confines of a laboratory or any laboratory–like setting. And they will not be represented by such statistical averages as the average American family having 3.18 persons (as of 2006) – which at once may represent accurately an entire population but in fact by definition does not speak to any single, real–life family.

Second, qualitative research differs because of its ability to represent the views and perspectives of the participants in a study. Capturing their perspectives may be a major purpose of a qualitative study. Thus, the events and ideas emerging from qualitative research can represent the meanings given to real–life events by the people who live them, not the values, preconceptions, or meanings held by researchers.

Third, qualitative research covers contextual conditions – the social, institutional, and environmental conditions within which people's lives take place. In many ways, these contextual conditions may strongly influence all human events. However, the other social science methods (except for history) have difficulty in addressing these conditions.

Experiments, for instance, 'control out' these conditions (hence the artificiality of laboratory experiments). Quasi–experiments admit such conditions but by design nevertheless focus only on a limited set of 'variables,' which may or may not fully appreciate the contextual conditions. Similarly, surveys are constrained by the need to manage carefully the degrees of freedom required to analyze the responses to a set of survey questions; surveys are therefore limited in the number of questions devoted to any contextual conditions. History does address contextual conditions, but in its conventional form studies the 'dead past,' not ongoing events as in qualitative research (refer again to footnote 1 about oral history).

Fourth, qualitative research is not just a diary or chronicle of everyday life. Such a function would be a rather mundane version of real–world events. On the contrary, qualitative research is driven by a desire to explain these events, through existing or emerging concepts. For instance, one existing concept is Goffman's (1963) stigma management. In his original work, stigma management largely pertained to adaptations by individual people. However, a contemporary qualitative study applied his typology and framework to a collective group, thereby offering new insights into how the actions of nation–states also might try to overcome their own historically stigmatizing events"

(Robert K. Yin, p.8,9)

1). Robert K. Yin (2011). "Qualitative Research from Start to Finish", The Guilford Press.

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JANUARY 2012

Sonic City @ Future Applications Lab

"In order to determine how people might use Sonic City in everyday life, we have conducted a short–term user study with a variety of people using the prototype in their own familiar environments. Focusing on considerations of musical performance, embodied interaction as well as engagement and control, this study helped us to understand how people approach Sonic City and interact musically with the city, revealing emerging urban behaviours and music creation processes integrated into everyday life.

Process: the study took place during winter of 2003–04. It consisted of observing how a set of participants used the prototype in their own everyday environment during a limited period of time, and in collecting their feedback about it.

The study participants had various backgrounds, activities, ages, music tastes, and perceptions of the city of Göteborg.

In order to gain insight into their everyday environments, the type of path they would take, and their perception of them, we started by giving them cultural probes (individual self–contained small packages handed–out to users in order to gather information about their everyday life) prior to the testings. This also helped determining where the test sessions would be conducted, as they had to take place in the users' everyday environments. Participant were each given a cultural probe for a few days, with instructions to only open it and proceed when taking a path they would have taken anyway. The probes contained the assignment of documenting a single everyday path with a digital still camera, taking pictures of obstacles, resources and what would catch their attention. Then, they would write down answers to both clear and ambiguous questions about their path, draw their own map of it, put stickers where the pictures had been taken, and locate themselves on a larger city map (see user pages – links below user pictures in results' part).

Eventually, we let each participant use the prototype in the documented area. The users were told how the system worked but not where to walk or how to behave. Each user was video–filmed in action and the music produced recorded on a MiniDisc. This enabled a close study of paths and behaviours during use. Each session was completed with in–depth interviews about the experience.

We then synchronised the videos with corresponding sounds for analysis purposes. This allowed us to get a deeper understanding of the details of interactions by linking interactions with musical results, and repeating playbacks. The videos were first watched together with each user in order to collect their own comments and analysis of the sessions, and followed by complementary interviews. By synchronising these comments with the videos, we could compare the users' feedback with an objective analysis of their behaviours, while avoiding misunderstandings about their intentions.

Results: the study showed that mobility could indeed become a musical interaction between a user and her urban environment, enhancing her perception of and engagement with these everyday settings.

The study also opened the question of how to improvise and adapt one's musical interaction when confronted to a lack of control due to unpredictable and uncontrollable factors encountered in urban environments. The city was perceived to be more in control of this interaction than the user. However, she was able to actively influence how the music was created through different tactics and through situated interventions, all of them related to how the system was designed, what it highlighted and thus how it encouraged her to act.

In terms of interaction, the users were engaged on the level of the global path and of local interactions. Both levels were managed in an ad hoc, rather improvised way. Paths were most often planned in advance by the users but were sometimes randomly or intentionally modified during the course of a session in order to look for more interesting contexts and test how they would sound (e.g. a noisy construction site for [A.S.], a dark corner next to an electricity chamber for [D.R.]). Participants looked around themselves to seek local interactions opportunities, which they also found by accident (e.g. metallic objects). Some had favourite inputs, such as human voices for [M.K.] or noisy traffic for [F.M.].

On a local level, the users actively directed sensors with their body. In order to produce input, they often got closer to fixed artefacts at hand such as metal or walls. They also turned their body and thus the sensors towards or against diffused sources of input in order to amplify respectively shadow them, thus modulating the city's input. [D.R.] turned his back on traffic to reduce the impact of the sound level for example. Paths could thus be considered as a score articulated by ad hoc local bodily interactions."

(Future Applications Lab)

6). Gaye, Lalya, Mazé, Ramia, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003). Sonic City: The Urban Environment as a Musical Interface. In Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME–03). Montreal, Canada: 109–115 [http://www.ears.dmu.ac.uk/spip.php?page=artBiblio&id_article=1973].

Sonic City is a collaboration between Future Applications Lab (Viktoria Institute) and PLAY Studio (Interactive Institute), in Göteborg, Sweden. Project members include: Lalya Gaye (FAL) – engineering, electroacoustics, Ramia Mazé (PLAY) – interaction design, architecture, Margot Jacobs (PLAY) – product & interaction design, Daniel Skoglund (ex–8Tunnel2) – sound–art. Lalya's supervisor at Future Applications Lab: Lars Erik Holmquist. Participating Master's students (IT–University Göteborg): Magnus Johansson (HCI / interaction design) + Sara Lerén (cognitive science). This project is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) through the Mobile Services project, by the European Union IST program through the Smart–Its project, and by VINNOVA through the IT+Textiles project.

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TAGS

20032004applied researcharchitectural conjectureartistic practicecase studiesconjecturecultural probesdesign research project • European Union IST program • evaluationexperimental knowledgeexperimentationexploratory projects • Future Applications Lab • Goteborg • HCIinteraction design • IT+Textiles project • landscape futures • Mobile Services project • observationspractice-based researchresearch methodresearch project • Smart-Its project • Sonic City • speculative research • SSF • Sweden • Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research • urban speculationuser feedbackuser pathsvideo analysis • VINNOVA

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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