I seem to be keeping a lot of different balls in the air at the moment.
I have begun to recruit research participants and that is proving almost too easy. Both the schools are very happy to co-operate and one has around 7 staff happy to talk to me and the other is approaching parents on my behalf as well as giving access to a number of staff. I am amazed how generous people are with their time and knowledge. I now need to start setting up some interviews and beginning that part of the data gathering process.
I am also doing a fair bit of reading around qualitative research and the use of narrative as a research methodology. That is proving useful in understanding better what I am trying to do, but is also highlighting the complexities of the methodology. One thing I have been struggling with is the extent to which my own experience will simply inform my work and how far I can use it as a source of data. Looking at methodology has clarified that autoethnography is a legitimate approach and that there is a strong link between this and narratology (my story and the stories of others). Patton (2002) identifies around 15 different categories/theoretical stances for qualitative research and several are immediately relevant – autoethnography, phenomenology, social construction and constructivism, phenomenology, narratology and systems theory. He offers very useful guidance on choice of methods, research design, sampling and interviewing.
My immediate next tasks seem to be to tweak the documentation I have prepared for participants, to put together outlines for the interviews – I will be using a mixture of standardised questions and probes, interview guide and informal conversational techniques and the outline will vary according to the category of participant.
This is starting to get scary…
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (Third ed.): Sage Publications.