Reflections on Newman Uni Conference…

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Great to attend the Troubling… Conference (7.7.16) hosted by Newman University Birmingham last week, met some interesting and interested people which is always good when researching anything/ at any level. Feel my confidence has increased and beginning to believe in my abilities as a researcher as time passes.

I conducted my first workshop on the problematics/ possibilities of integrating PAR with AE and took a research referendum at the end to consolidate general feeling of those who attended.

Research referendum: 13 in favour of a hybrid methodology, 3 against.  In many ways I know the findings are neither scientifically conclusive nor were they an intended part of my methodology, however, the feedback received from attendees (generally) has given me motivation and I left the conference with a greater sense of community support and hope – something I am very grateful for.  I am pleased I presented a convincing case, just not so convinced regarding how to frame my position in my final thesis and viva still… But this is okay because I know I will get there and it felt good to initiate conversations about blogging-as-method-as-enquiry-as-writing-as-AE.

Action based on findings: I have decided to transcribe and ‘write-up’ my data analysis first (and see how much of my own biography is involved/ the ‘writing in of oneself’ or ‘self-implication) and plan to readdress the issue in a couple of months. Maybe by then (post data analysis) I might have some other responses via the DisruptedJournal online paper currently in motion to help finalise how I shape things moving forward.

I regret that I didn’t interrogate the three attendees who voted against just to ascertain their reasons but time became an issue as other colleagues were waiting to present their research and I lost this opportunity. I did however talk about the DisruptedJournal experiment so hopefully the conversation can continue digitally…

Some quotes/ definitions to help contextualise my problematic…


Tami Spry (2001) ‘… a self-narrative that critiques the situatedness of self with others in social contexts.’


Action Research?

Carr & Kemmis (1989) ‘… a form of self-reflective enquiry’ by participants, which is undertaken in order to improve their understanding of their practices in context with a view to maximising social justice.’


Other issues:

self-investigation OR rather (Gornick 2001) ‘self-implication’ in context of the research?

navel gazing Vs democratising access

triangulation (3 sided view of the world) Vs crystallisation (unfixed-infinite number of multi voiced intersections, oppositions)

triple crisis: representation, legitimation and praxis (applies to both)


Conference Referendum Question: Can the two approaches (PAR + Autoethnography) be sandwiched together?

Final defence:

Denzin (2005) ‘… the criteria for evaluating research are now relative.’

C. Wright Mills (1959) ‘No social study that does not come back to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersections within society has completed its intellectual journey.’

4.7.16 Progress (Planning for Newman)

Today I have been trying to plan the ‘order of events’ for the ‘Troubling Research…’ Conference in Birmingham on Thursday. I say trying because I managed to squeeze in school run (x 2), cleaning the bathroom, putting a wash on, making tea, a walk to the shops to buy some stationary and even managed to write my first response on the ‘disruptedjournal’ site. Exciting to part of such an innovative and global conversation (still not sure how it all happened but happy I threw my name in the hat many months ago) and looking forward to seeing how it all manifests throughout the summer months.

I have complied an order of events  (of a sort) but this is my first ‘workshop’so I will need to see how things flow regarding timings and whether I have judged the criterion task right or not.

On reflection my abstract pointed to question overload so at present I am thinking keep it simple:

  1. We need to talk about the C word…
  2. How my blog and data have lived together so far.
  3. Ascertain attendee thoughts on where I should position my blog and discuss any counter-arguments against my proposition of blog-as-method.



4.7.16 My reasons to support blog-as-method…

I maintain the position that this blog you are reading, (currently) entitled, ‘An (Auto)ethnographer’s Tale’ (WordPress, 2016): serves several scholarly purposes (note: Holman Jones, 2005 criterion highlighted in bold):


1) Extending reach/ opportunities for participation/ reciprocity and engagement beyond institution e.g. (Disrupted Journal Media Practice experiment). Dialogue as a space for debate and negotiation.

2) Platform for researcher reflexivity, citationality as a strategy for dialogue (not “mastery”). See point 1.

3) Attempts to connect to others (researchers/ academics/ teachers etc.) as a mode of bridging both personal and professional tensions as (Taylor et. al 2014) ‘a third space.’ The dissemination of more personalized artefacts (e.g. photographs, poems, embedded moving image links etc.) enhance communication with others by storying the researcher journey. Evocation and emotion as incitements to action.

4) A digital blog is free from word count; such an unstructured form of researcher voice (personal narrative/ storytelling) would neither prove as visually effective nor as permissible in a text-based published journal article.

5) Platform to host, analyze and exhibit data with a focus on balancing out both process and outcome(s) as a flattened structure. Engaged embodiment as a condition for change.


I suggest here in my research context that the scholarly blog-as-

method can be aligned within a post-structural (influences include writings

on Bakhtin 1984, C. Wright Mills 1959, Sartre 1963, Law 2004 and more

recently Denzin 2014) framework and represents a more honest approach to

interpreting and managing social science data in an educational setting.


However, I acknowledge unresolved issues remain:


  • What are the possibilities and counter-arguments against the blog-as-method proposition?
  • Can a researcher blog be considered a reliable and legitimate (triangulating) method of working?



So, what do you think? Are you in or out?

Be involved and join in the wider conversation:

All you need to do is set up a account (takes 2 minutes) and use the tag disruptedjournal followed by an additional tag relating to your conversational thread (themes are located on the site).

June 2016 Residential (The Final)

The focus/ theme for our Cohort (Cohort 1) was on ‘data collection’ for our final BU residential, although I am too aware that we still have a long way to go and nothing can be taken for granted at any stage until we survive the final viva!

Also for me specifically, deciding on whether to use NVIVO to assist my analysis or not became a key issue to resolve – which I have decided to do during my tutorial with Isa and Julian.

Here is a brief mapped outline of data I have collected on this project:

Data map

The residential also contained an element of nostalgia and memory recall, as we, as a cohort were so pleased we have reached Year 4.

The time has flown by, whilst the fundamental changes and meaning of the journey for each of us (personally) runs deep and will last a lifetime thanks to the support of all those wonderful and diverse characters who work at CEMP, BU.

Let’s get the basics right! Project Title…

Project Title: Co-Writing ‘Subject Media’ Whilst Framing Employability.

Researcher Question: Are Non-Subject Specific Transferable Skills As Important as the Subject Itself? (Dated 09.10.15)

The project signals an attempt to unearth the (Wolf, 2011, p.22) ‘labour market value’ of the BTEC Media Production qualification. Metaphor of a tent at a festival is apt! Pragmatic responsive foundations/ rationale with a post structural covering to provide shelter (albeit temporary and likely to shift).

MED2 participant data represents a projection, a degree of change (Ball, 2011) ‘radical incrementalism.’ A shift in understanding is evident in data findings (audio/ post event feedback).

EXMED participant data could be argued has greater foundations-as-data because the narratives inform the listener of their career pathway (‘actuality’ over and above projected reality) and they are reflecting on the value (albeit retrospective and perceived) of the course in direct relation to their roles in employment.

EXMED serves to inform MED2 and vice versa (conversations between past and present – dialogic basis, Sartre ‘progressive-regressive’) particularly in the form of scenarios = ‘Guess Who? Talking Skills game.

MED2 participants had a chance to listen back to the voices from the past, as they had time to reflect post event on EXMED data (as a form of debrief) and prior to writing their post event feedback.

Both are rich in a sense of a biography of now – regarding analysis, my role involves (Law) ‘praxiography’ – necessary to identify points of conflict, alignment, splintered and fused narratives in audio data obtained and communicate my findings.