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CAQDAS, Context and the Recontextualisation of Qualitative Data Libby Bishop ESDS Qualidata-UK Data Archive, University of Essex CAQDAS 07 Conference :

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Presentation on theme: "CAQDAS, Context and the Recontextualisation of Qualitative Data Libby Bishop ESDS Qualidata-UK Data Archive, University of Essex CAQDAS 07 Conference :"— Presentation transcript:

1 CAQDAS, Context and the Recontextualisation of Qualitative Data Libby Bishop ESDS Qualidata-UK Data Archive, University of Essex CAQDAS 07 Conference : Advances in Qualitative Computing Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham April 2007

2 Why does context matter? Shift from secondary analysis to recontextualisation (Moore) Context matters…more than ever (Fielding, Gillies, Hattersley, Heaton, Holstein&Gubrium, Moore, Parry&Mauthner, and others) –What is context? –How much is enough? –What about co-construction? –Can context be preserved/archived?

3 Where CAQDAS and context meet: coding CAQDAS can produce coding that removes text from its narrative context –K Ö nig h/software/caqdas_primer.html –Bornat (2005) – challenges in coding cultural difference across time

4 What about other contexts? (Bishop, 2006) Can CAQDAS handle other contexts? Prim.Sec. Interview Setting Project Cultural/ Institutional

5 Example 1: QL policy research NVivo2 (yes, a newer version is available, but in the real world…) Used Word and Excel tables for tracking; tried to import; difficult. Fieldnotes, case histories went into NVivo; maps stayed in Word NVivo file became the project But other materials were retained Macro context mostly in lit review which was saved, but neither coded nor linked.

6 Example 2: Making the Long View (Henderson, Holland and Thomson, 2006) NVivo project defined as research wave; this made it difficult to make links across projects for QL analysis Had to rely on website and book for fuller treatments of context –Dimensions of time on web Research – project Biographical – cases, people Historical – cultural/institutional –Book chapters on education, employment, drugs, violence, etc.

7 CAQDAS features that may help to preserve context Memos, etc.-tools to create new textual content Features that capture non-digital materials, paper, grey lit, etc. Ability to point/link to resources outside the project Options to link data and context (and code non-data resources) Bundling all resources

8 Before asking about CAQDAS: What context should be preserved? Researcher has duty to be: –Inclusive, –But pragmatic Can not anticipate future uses –Impossible, and –A form of intellectual hubris

9 Experience of writing up this data has shown us that conjuring up an historical context is crucial to any attempt to represent the data to an audience, yet the nature of this context depends enormously on the particular purpose of the representation. (Henderson, Holland and Thomson, 2006)

10 Software and context Not technologically determinate… Case of non-digital materials –If the software becomes "the project, then there is a risk of omitting non- digitised materials –(As archives preserve CAQDAS outputs, what about things that dont fit?) –But, existing and emerging software features can enhance integration of non- digital materials (from lists to Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, METS)

11 Concluding with caution There is no archive without outside. There is no political power without control of the archive… No, the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future. The archivization produces as much as it records the event. Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, 1995

12 Comments and questions?

13 How future researchers might interrogate context preserved today What kind of resource is it? Who created it? Is the creator credible? When was it created, found, modified? How and why was it created? What was its significance at the time? How does it fit in? (Marwick, 01)

14 A vision of CAQDAS in preserving context? One can dream or speculate about the geo-techno-logical shocks which would have made the landscape of the psychoanalytic archive unrecognizable for the past century if, to limit myself to these indications, Freud, his contemporaries, collaborators and immediate disciples, instead of writing thousands of letters by hand, had had access to MCI or AT&T telephonic credit cards, portable tape recorders, computers, printers, faxes, televisions, teleconferences, and above all . Derrida, Archive Fever, 1995


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