"In the social sciences, though, often we write about our research as if theories and arguments are buildings. Theories have frameworks and foundations and they need support. Arguments can be constructed, shored up by facts and buttressed with a solid line of reasoning. Sometimes they can be shaky and even fall down. But as well as communicating what we mean, metaphors structure our thinking. Or, at least, the metaphors we choose when we write can reveal a great deal about underlying assumptions. The theories-as-buildings metaphor always makes me imagine an enormous wall made of rectangular bricks, orderly and straight, progressing upwards and onwards. The researcher's job is to climb the scaffolding, find a gap near the top and make a brick to fill it, or to knock a few crumbling bricks out and replace them with others, strong and freshly fired. Or rarely, to grab a spade and start digging a new foundation, because this metaphor doesn't work like Minecraft: bricks can't float, unsupported.
Why does this way of thinking about knowledge hold such sway over us? For one thing, it offers a comforting sense of progress and control. Buildings have blueprints; their construction appears to proceed in a predictable fashion; engineers can calculate precisely where the load bearing walls and lintels need to be; construction workers know how to mix the mortar so it won't crumble. Making buildings is also something that happens in the public sphere; even with houses, the insides only become private when the work is finished and people move in. And though we all know full well that knowledge creation doesn't actually happen in the controlled and predictable way the metaphor implies, this is the structure that it imposes on our writing: an activity that is orderly, involves rationality over emotion and inhabits the public sphere not the private."
(Katie Collins, 27 May 2016)
"The degree to which the researcher involves himself/herself in participation in the culture under study makes a difference in the quality and amount of data he/she will be able to collect. GOLD (1958) has provided a description of observer stances that extend Buford JUNKER's explanation of four theoretical stances for researchers conducting field observations. GOLD relates the four observation stances as follows:
At one extreme is the complete participant, who is a member of the group being studied and who conceals his/her researcher role from the group to avoid disrupting normal activity. The disadvantages of this stance are that the researcher may lack objectivity, the group members may feel distrustful of the researcher when the research role is revealed, and the ethics of the situation are questionable, since the group members are being deceived.
In the participant as observer stance, the researcher is a member of the group being studied, and the group is aware of the research activity. In this stance, the researcher is a participant in the group who is observing others and who is interested more in observing than in participating, as his/her participation is a given, since he/she is a member of the group. This role also has disadvantages, in that there is a trade off between the depth of the data revealed to the researcher and the level of confidentiality provided to the group for the information they provide.
The observer as participant stance enables the researcher to participate in the group activities as desired, yet the main role of the researcher in this stance is to collect data, and the group being studied is aware of the researcher's observation activities. In this stance, the researcher is an observer who is not a member of the group and who is interested in participating as a means for conducting better observation and, hence, generating more complete understanding of the group's activities. MERRIAM (1998) points out that, while the researcher may have access to many different people in this situation from whom he/she may obtain information, the group members control the level of information given. As ADLER and ADLER (1994, p.380) note, this 'peripheral membership role' enables the researcher to 'observe and interact closely enough with members to establish an insider's identity without participating in those activities constituting the core of group membership.'
The opposite extreme stance from the complete participant is the complete observer, in which the researcher is completely hidden from view while observing or when the researcher is in plain sight in a public setting, yet the public being studied is unaware of being observed. In either case, the observation in this stance is unobtrusive and unknown to participants. "
(Barbara B. Kawulich, 2005)
Kawulich, B. (2005). 'Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method'. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(2). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/466/996
"Research involves drawing upon elements and relations from three basic domains: (a) a conceptual domain, which includes concepts and relations considered in abstract form, (b) a methodological domain, which includes instruments and techniques for obtaining observations and for relating sets of observations; and (c) a substantive domain, which includes events, processes, and phenomenon in the 'real' world.
Any research project must contain elements and relations from each of these domains. Thus, it is not possible to conduct research, without some method, some concept (or set of concepts), and some event or process. Elements and relations from each of these domains are not all combined simultaneously. Research generally proceeds by combining two of the domains, to form some structure, and subsequently incorporating (i.e., integrating) the third domain with the developed structure. With three domains, there are at least three patterns for combining the domains. Those three ways represent three distinct research paths; and they pose different advantages and limitations for the investigator."
(David Brinberg, 1982)
David Brinberg (1982) ,"Validity Concepts in Research: an Integrative Approach", in NA – Advances in Consumer Research Volume 09, eds. Andrew Mitchell, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 40–44.
"qualitative inquiry is inductive and often iterative in that the evaluator may go through repeated cycles of data collection and analysis to generate hypotheses inductively from the data. These hypotheses, in turn, need to be tested by further data collection and analysis. The researcher starts with a broad research question, such as 'What effects will information systems engendered by reforms in the UK's National Health Service have on relative power and status among clinical and administrative staff in a teaching hospital?' .The researcher narrows the study by continually posing increasingly specific questions and attempting to answer them through data already collected and through new data collected for that purpose. These questions cannot all be anticipated in advance. As the evaluator starts to see patterns, or discovers behavior that seems difficult to understand, new questions arise. The process is one of generating hypotheses and explanations from the data, testing them, and modifying them accordingly. New hypotheses may require new data, and, consequently, potential changes in the research design."
(Bonnie Kaplan and Joseph A. Maxwell, p.38, 2005)
Kaplan, B. and J. Maxwell (2005). Qualitative Research Methods for Evaluating Computer Information Systems. Evaluating the Organizational Impact of Healthcare Information Systems. J. Anderson and C. Aydin. New York, Springer: 30–55.
"RCA Research Repository is designed to support the collection, archive and publication of the College's research practice, processes and outputs. ...
The repository is an open access academic resource, to which anyone at College has access, and to which all research staff are able to manage and publish their research, work–in–progress, bibliographic records and data to the World.
The repository platform is based on the open source EPrints standard digital repository and MEPrints extensions – developed by EPrints Services, University of Southampton, with visualisation extensions devised by KULTUR RCA has further adapted EPrints platform and interfaces for use by its own researchers and staff."
(RCA Research Repository)