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Not Being There: Research at a Distance with Video, Text and Speech

Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research

ISBN: 978-1-78441-051-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-050-6

Publication date: 3 November 2014


This chapter examines the history and process of research participants producing and working with data. The experience of working with researcher-produced and/or analysed data shows how social research is a set of practices which can be shared with research participants, and which in key ways draw on everyday habits and performances. Participant-produced data has come to the fore with the popularity of crowdsourced, citizen science research and Games with a Purpose. These address practical problems and potentially open up the research process to large scale democratic involvement. However at the same time the process can become fragmented and proletarianised. Mass research has a long history, an exemplar of which is the Mass Observation studies. Our research involved participants collecting video data on their intoxication practices. We discuss how their experience altered their own subject position in relation to these regular social activities, and explore how our understanding of their data collection converged and differed from theirs. Crowdsourced research raises a challenge to the research binary as the work is done by participants rather than the research team; however it also reaffirms it, unless further work is done to involve participants in commenting and reflecting on the research process itself.



Bancroft, A., Karels, M., Murray, Ó.M. and Zimpfer, J. (2014), "Not Being There: Research at a Distance with Video, Text and Speech", Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 137-153.



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