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Dealing with an Awful Mess: Data Labor, Collaborations and Carving Out Research Pathways


May 9-10


Prof. David Bozzini, UNIFR

Prof. Nicolas Nova, HEAD Geneva


Prof. Jérôme Denis, Mines Paris Tech, Paris, FR

Prof. David Bozzini, UNIFR

Prof. Nicolas Nova, HEAD Geneva


Doing qualitative research in social sciences implies dealing with a wide range of data, encounters, tools and media, including several digital apps. Usually, data, notes, chunks of analysis and to do lists are scattered and hardly incorporated into one unique framework. Who never grumbled while trying to remember where an important quote from last year field-trip is? Was it in the yellow notebook, or in a .wav files (by the way, where are those?), did I copy it on Evernote or is it in the 'Newspapers' folder? This might sound familiar, isn't it? Moreover, the way to turn this material into a coherent set of observations, and, eventually, in a PhD dissertation, a research paper, or a book, is not articulated as precisely as one would find in quantitative methods. Guiding principles laid out by anthropologists are recombined by personal tactics, institutional constraints and field contingencies. We all have our little recipes and yet, such important bricolage at work in the research process is not often addressed in the anthropology literature. The reason might be that a lot of processes are at work: memories, reviewing material, coding, intuition, taking notes to jot down an idea, folders, (re)classifications, etc. play some role in carving our interpretations, creating an array of inscriptions. This state of affairs sometimes can be frustrating and stressful. But it doesn't need to be this way. The workshop invites the PhD candidates to explore their research material in different ways. It aims at shedding a reflexive light on research pathways from the organizing of data to drafting research results, and reflecting on findings. More precisely, the workshop will focus on potential material processes to help us think, organize, work and share qualitative data and we will explore different ways to assemble data and design research pathways with digital tools. The workshop will be organized around students' projects with a set of exercises, inputs from expert and organizers, and various discussions





Deadline for registration 21.04.2022
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