NCRM Nodes - Cardiff University

Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences:
Innovation, Integration and Impact
Multimodal Qualitative Research
Two-day Workshop
Babbage Building, Plymouth University
30-31 May 2007
Day 1 – What is multimodality and how does it work in the practice of qualitative research?
The day will focus on exploring the research setting and recording data via film, sound, photography and
9.30 – 10.00
Registration and Coffee: Refectory
Morning session: Introduction to the multimodality; theory and practice: Computer Room 2.13
10.00 – 10.15
Welcome and Introduction – Rachel Hurdley, Qualiti, Cardiff University
Session 1 – A multimodal social semiotic approach to analysis (Dr Diane Mavers,
Lecturer in Contemporary Literacy, Institute of Education, London)
10.15 – 11.30
This session will provide an opportunity to engage with some of the key issues in
social semiotic theory and multimodal approaches to analysis. Starting from examples
of representation in graphic texts and communication in video footage, we will explore
how meanings are made with the resources of different modes and how these are
combined in multimodal ensembles. This will lead to consideration of methods of
transcription and units of analysis. The overarching aim of the session is to stimulate
discussion around a multimodal approach, for example: How might it affect how
research questions are shaped? What implications does it have for which data are
gathered? How might it provide insights beyond linguistic analysis alone? How might it
be relevant to your work?
What can the theory of multimodality in particular and social semiotics in general
teach qualitative researchers in the social sciences? What are modes and why are
they important?
How are meanings made with the resources of different modes and how are these
combined into multimodal ensembles?
How can multimodal data be transcribed?
What are the units of analysis in multimodal data?
How might a multimodal approach affect how research questions are shaped?
What implications does it have for which data are gathered?
How might it be relevant to your work?
Session will be followed by a discussion
11.45 – 1.00
1.00 – 1.45
Coffee Break – served in the Refectory
Session 2 – Sound, writing and vision in practice (A series of presentations by the
Cardiff Qualiti research team)
11.45-12.00: ‘Multimodality and Multimedia’
12.00-1.00: ‘Mapping the Friary: place, people and things’
Based on fieldwork carried out in Cardiff, the Qualiti team will talk practically about
how they used cameras, audio devices and fieldnotes, to reflect on the losses and
affordances of different media and recording technologies and how they were
positioned as researchers in the field.
Followed by a short question and answer session.
Lunch – served in the Refectory
Afternoon session: Generating data records in different media: going into the field
Seminar Room 2.17
1.45 – 2.15
Introduction to the research question: ‘How do people negotiate others and their
everyday street environments?’
Participants will join one of four project groups for fieldwork in Armada Way and
surrounding area.
Task 1 - Exploring the research setting with your project group:
Spending 30 minutes in the field, think about the research question and notice the
meaning-making potential of what you are seeing, hearing and feeling. Consider how
the affordances of your recording media might interplay with these modalities in the
3.00 – 3.30
Discussion and feedback with coffee (Seminar Room 2.17)
3.30 – 4.00
Familiarisation session with recording equipment: Participants will join a ‘medium
group’ with members of the Qualiti team before rejoining their project groups for
4.00 – 5.00
Task 2 – How can we answer the research question using given media?
Each project group will spend an hour in the research setting using four recording
technologies to explore the affordances and losses of each medium in the field.
5.00 – 6.30
(or longer if
When ready, participants return to the computer room where the team helps them to
log their generated data-records and/or transcribe and download them onto PC.
Day 2 – Analysis: Theoretical and practical issues
Coffee/Tea available in Seminar Room 2.17 upon arrival
9.30 – 11.00
Session 1 - How to analyse video, photographs, sound data and field notes.
(A series of presentations by the Cardiff Qualiti research team)
Based on fieldwork they did in Cardiff, members of the Qualiti team will discuss use of
software and methodological issues. Followed by a short question and answer
11.00 – 11.15
Coffee Break in refectory
Session 2 – Hands-on analysis using software packages where appropriate
Members of the Qualiti team will assist participants in analysing sound, writing,
photographs and film.
1.15 – 2.15
Lunch – Served in the Seminar Room 2.17
2.15 – 4.15
Project Group Discussions
Participants will consider how their recording-media and the materials these generated
afforded different perspectives on and findings from the research question. Each
group will work on short multimedia presentations.
Coffee/Tea available in Seminar Room 2.17 from 3.45 – 4.15
4.15 – 5.15
Presentations from the project groups, discussion and feedback on the workshop
Dr Bella Dicks (Cardiff University) has contributed to the content of this workshop but due to unforeseen
circumstances is not able to attend.
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