6322.21 - Reflexivity in research: PhD workshop on field relations and methodological reflections

Course number
Reflexivity in research: PhD workshop on field relations and methodological reflections
PhD students or Master’s students contemplating or preparing a PhD project in the fields of social sciences or humanities. Students must have completed a Master’s degree or be at the late stage of their Master’s education. Students are required to submit a 3 page pre-reflection paper
The purpose of the course is – through discussions of readings, lectures, and own reflections on field relations – to illustrate and discuss how reflexivity is important in both planning, executing, and analysing the results of engagements with the field. We focus on how researchers can never be simply ‘flies on the wall’ during fieldwork. Accepting this as a premise for doing fieldwork, the purpose of the course is to understand how such consciousness about own positions in the field can be thought into the entire research process, from research design, data collection, analyses, and subsequent presentation of results.
The course comprises the following main topics: • Examining the link between concrete fieldwork and more abstract theoretical and methodological assumptions. • Addressing questions of individual course participant’s own position vis-à-vis research participants and how methodological reflections establish the premises for producing qualitative material. • Examining how we are individually positioned in relation to research subjects and fields of inquiry. • Discussing ethically sound research and reaching analytic conclusions of relevancy for the people and organisations whose realities are being investigated. • Discussing and reflecting on how relational positionalities might slide or change during the research process and how field relations can be systematically approached and worked with through the research process.
Learning and teaching approaches
The course has a workshop format, which means that participants will be required to present and discuss each other’s work. In addition, the course consists of a few brief inspirational lectures on reflexivity and field positions. Participants are required to submit a pre-reflection paper of max 3 pages, prior to course commencement. Based on pre-reflection papers, groups are formed for group work during the workshop.
Learning outcomes
On completion of the course, students can demonstrate ability to: • Describe and assess the premises for doing qualitative fieldwork, and in particular reflect critically on the effects of researcher engagement with the field. • Identify and reflect on the links between their methodological and theoretical frameworks • Assess their own position vis-à-vis their research participants and reflect on how this relationship impacts concrete fieldwork • Explain and discuss how their methodological reflections establish the premises for producing qualitative material • Explain and discuss the ethical dimensions of methodology and the production of scientific/academic knowledge in genera
Assessment method
Active participation and oral presentation of pre-reflection paper. After the workshop, participants are invited to submit a ‘post-reflection paper’ (5-10 pages) outlining methodological considerations for their PhD thesis. Deadline for submission will be two weeks after the course and written feedback will be provided by one of the course lecturers.
Marking scale
Bibliography will be made available prior to course commencement.
Erika Anne Hayfield