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Whatever you say, say nothing: The issue of Context in relation to the Northern Ireland Qualitative Archive (ARK:

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Presentation on theme: "Whatever you say, say nothing: The issue of Context in relation to the Northern Ireland Qualitative Archive (ARK:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Whatever you say, say nothing: The issue of Context in relation to the Northern Ireland Qualitative Archive (ARK:

2 Whatever you say, say nothing Moral context to our project Catalogue over Archive of data Macro-context over micro-context

3 The Problem Defined Context is the … Who? When? Where? How? … that data is collected

4 Who did the research? Example of research into policing in NI Northern Protestant researcher finds access to RUC easy Southern Catholic finds self labelled republican

5 When was the research done? Example of highly emotive Hunger Strikes of early 1980s Interviews with family members immediately afterwards bound to have very different context to those undertaken 20 years on, after Peace Process Need a chronology of the conflict


7 Where was the research done? Different experiences of the conflict and different ethno-political makeup of various areas … - South Belfast – relatively affluent oasis -North Belfast – deprived and bitterly divided -East Belfast – Loyalist/Unionist -West Belfast – Republican/Nationalist … has implications for context




11 How was the research done? Participant observation in Northern Ireland demands absolute immersion in communities studied Use of unorthodox research methodologies (e.g. PAR) as a means to gain co-operation of suspicious and non-passive subjects Has implications for context of research

12 Abstract:This project explored issues related to conflict transition, victims of political violence, 'truth telling' and human rights, focusing initially on the Ardoyne community in North Belfast, but then relating this first phase of research to communities beyond the Ardoyne. The first phase of the research, carried out under the auspices of the Ardoyne Commemoration Project (ACP), involved in-depth interviews with over 300 people from the Ardoyne community. Those selected were family, friends, neighbours or actual eyewitnesses to the death of 99 victims of the conflict who hailed from the Ardoyne. This process aimed to be completely inclusive: each victims death was recorded irrespective of its circumstances, this to avoid a "hierarchy of victimhood." Other key community members were purposively selected for interview to provide historical background on the conflict as it related to the Ardoyne. The second phase of the project sought to investigate the role, value and benefits for participants in the initial study, and to assess the projects impact on communities outside the Ardoyne. This involved interviews with a total of 30 individuals who participated in the ACP and 12 people purposively chosen as representatives of various groups and organisaions from the wider nationalist and unionist communities. (Most of those unionist representatives interviewed did not wish to be recorded for personal reasons, but notes were taken of the interviews conducted.) The methodology behind the project was highly participatory, the investigators going to enormous lengths to ensure that interviewees had maximum ownership over the research process. In this the research consciously sought to write "history from below", striving to maintain the integrity of the subjects perceptions of and feelings about the conflict. (Adapted from Ardoyne: The Untold Truth (written and edited by Patricia Lundy and Mark McGovern in collaboration with Ardoyne Commemoration Project). Beyond the Pale Publications, Belfast. 2002) Methodology Time Dimensions :Cross-sectional (one-time) study Sampling Procedures :Purposive selection/case studies Additional info: Number of Units :300+ (phase one); 12 (phase two) Data Collection :Face-to-face interviews Weighting : Not applicable Basic information in specific Methodology section More detailed information in each Abstract Methodological Information

13 1)Need for some mechanism by which time/dates of fieldwork can be referenced to provide secondary analyst with an appreciation of how the contemporary social/political climate affected research (e.g. chronology of conflict in NI case) 2)Need to provide specific information on how the particular geographical area in which fieldwork is undertaken relates to the research topic (e.g. how a given area relates to the conflict in the NI case) 3)Need to provide very specific information on any particular research methodologies employed such as might affect the research findings Suggestions for a best practice guide to facilitate secondary analysis of qualitative data

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