Collecting qualitative online data: Our methodological journey since 2012

– 2 Dec 2020, 15:30 GMT –

Dr Rebecca Whiting, Birkbeck, University of London & Professor Katrina Pritchard, Swansea University

In this session, we consider our methodological journey in using qualitative online data in a project that set out to map the language of age at work using Web 2.0 data. We explain how and why we developed a methodology to enable our empirical examination (e.g. of how age, age identities and related concepts such as generations are socially constructed in relation to issues of work). We introduce and explain two related and flexible approaches that we term ‘tracking’ and ‘trawling’. These approaches, at either end of a methodological spectrum, use a variety of digital (often proprietary) means to collect selected material from the Internet.

Like interviews, these digital methods are flexible and can be used to investigate a wide range of topics, within different research paradigms, and produce data that can be analysed using various methods. However, whereas interviews are well-established methods of data collection, these technology-enabled approaches are much less developed in terms of what they are, when and where they can be used and how to carry them out. We outline the generic steps in collecting online qualitative data, illustrated with examples from our own and others work.

At the heart of this journey has been a reflexive approach to examining the fundamental assumptions we have as researchers, such as what constitutes data and participants and how to apply ethical frameworks to the Internet context. We unpack these and how we addressed challenges encountered along the way, for example, through piloting. We conclude by looking to future developments in the use of qualitative online data in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic and given the evolving and ephemeral nature of multi-modal digital material.

Biographies

Rebecca Whiting is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London where she leads the Department’s Qualitative Research Group. She is interested in a wide range of qualitative methodologies, including the use of digital and visual data, and research ethics. She has published journal articles and book chapters on aspects of qualitative methods, including in The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods and the OUP volume, Unconventional Methodology in Organization and Management Research. Her research topics include the discursive construction of work identities, work-life boundaries, diversity (particularly age, gender and class and how they are socially constructed) and invisible work.

Katrina Pritchard is a Professor in the School of Management, Swansea University. She has published journal articles and book chapters on aspects of qualitative methods, including in The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods and Symon and Cassell’s Qualitative Organizational Research: Core Methods and Current Challenges (2012). Katrina’s methodological interests extend from traditional to creative qualitative methods, including visual and object-based, in addition to digital methods. She researches a range of topics related to issues of identity at work.

Launch event of a new research cluster: Cybersecurity, Design and Human Behaviour

On 6 Nov 2020.

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of the new interdisciplinary research cluster as part of the Digital Organisation and Society research centre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr. Nisreen Ameen and Dr. Elizabeth Quaglia will be co-leading this new cluster, which seeks to link researchers across departments and schools. It will cover topics such as technology design and human interaction, security and privacy in the digital society, design narratives and narratives of security, user experience and advanced digital technologies, and accountability and ethics in the digital experience.

Programme

2pm Welcome by Dr. Nisreen Ameen, Dr. Elizabeth Quaglia and Prof. Gillian Symon

2.15pm Keynote by Prof. Jason Bennett Thatcher‬

Protecting a whale in a sea of fish: cybersecurity and top executives

2.45pm Keynote by Prof. Ivan Visconti

Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Contact Tracing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

3:15pm-3:30pm Discussion and celebrations

Keynote Speakers

Professor Jason Bennett Thatcher

Professor Thatcher holds the Milton F. Stauffer Professorship in the Department of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business of Temple University. He also holds faculty appointments at the Technical University of Munich and the Information Technology University-Copenhagen. Jason studies individual decision-making, strategic alignment, and workforce issues as they relate to the effective and secure application of information technologies in organizations. His more recent projects direct attention to cybersecurity and social media. Jason’s work appears in journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Applied Psychology, and other outlets. Jason has published (or forthcoming) 20 papers in Financial Times 50 listed journals (about once a year) since earning his PhD and 10 in MISQ, placing him in the top 35 or so active researchers in the Information Systems discipline

Professor Ivan Visconti

Ivan Visconti is a full professor of Computer Science in the Computer and Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics Department of the University of Salerno. His research interests focus mainly on designing provably secure and private cryptographic protocols and securing blockchains and their applications. He is the scientific coordinator at the University of Salerno for the H2020 European project “PRIViLEDGE” (Privacy-Enhancing Cryptography in Distributed Ledgers). Very recently, motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has shown how to use blockchain technology both to secure and to attack digital contact tracing systems. Currently he is serving as Senior Area Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security journal. Several of his results have been published in the most competitive conferences in cryptography and theoretical computer science (i.e., STOC, FOCS, CRYPTO, EUROCRYPT, TCC).

Notes on Digital Activism

Dr Vera Hoelscher|Lecturer in Marketing| Royal Holloway School of Business and Management

On 19 February 2020, the DOS Research Centre organised a half-day event on Digital Activism. The purpose of the day was to learn about the nature and impact of digitally enabled and enhanced mobilisation for political, economic and social change, and how research and practice can learn from and support each other in this process.  The event brought together artists, academics and practitioners who gave short talks on pertinent issues.  Below we pick out the main themes emerging from the day.

The Requirement to Combine Digital and Physical Activism

We heard first from Janet Gunter who is co-founder of the Restart Project.   The Restart Project aims to help people in repairing their electronic devices as a correction to our throwaway culture and campaigns for legislation to force businesses to produce longer lasting tech.  Janet explained how the Restart Project built its own on-line network of activists which has proven very effective for coalition building, as an organising tool for activist events and for interaction with the public. However greater visibility can have its problems and can create passive involvement so Janet argued a combination of on-line and off-line interaction is required.  Similarly, Vera Hoelscher, lecturer in Marketing at Royal Holloway, discussed her research with digital activist networks in London which noted that entirely online activism leads to a craving for physical action while entirely physical activism can be constraining and claustrophobic, therefore arguing for the qualitatively-distinct benefits of communicating in both physical and digital spaces for activist organizations.   

Innovative Ways of Giving Voice to the Invisible or Under-Represented

Kui Kihoro Mackay, PhD student in Politics at Royal Holloway, shared her experiences of #blacktwitterverse and #BlackJoy as spaces of radical resistance within the Twittersphere, demonstrating the potential for groups to appropriate the digital to counter oppression in their own terms.  Matthias Kispert, musician, artist and PhD student at the University of Westminster, demonstrated how he has used the accessibility of digital platforms to enable voice for casualised labour.  Matthias has co-produced videos with platform workers, and a number of other provocative art works that draw attention to workers’ labour conditions, demonstrating the power of the visual to bring home the activist message.  In a similar vein, Robbie Warrin discussed enabling creative ways for gigworkers to share their experiences and comment on their own lives.  Robbie and his colleagues are founders of the Invisible Worker Zine, which regularly asks for contributions from gig-economy workers that represent in narrative, poetical or visual form the everyday struggles of this fast-growing mode of working.   

Building Digital Picket Lines

This group of speakers sought to illustrate the role of the digital in supporting political action.  Torsten Geelan of the University of Leicester presented his research on the role of social media in the UCU pension debate in late 2019 (and still ongoing).  Drawing on their study which utilised data mining, Torsten argued that social media enabled mobilisation through “personalised collective action frames”, combining personal issues with collective action.  Relatedly, James Sloam, lecturer in Politics at Royal Holloway and author of Youthquake , discussed the distinctive features of online youth movements which work through authenticity rather than the bureaucratic control of traditional political parties.  Our final contributor, Mikko Laamanen, lecturer in Marketing at Royal Holloway, discussed the “F*ck off Google” (FOG) protest and its role in deterring the data giant from re-purposing an existing building in Kreuzberg, Germany, through online resistance, ‘noise events’ and local café-based actions.  On the basis of their investigations, Mikko and colleagues argue for a ‘cosmopolitan localism’ of activist movements, that is, a global networked sharing of knowledge and resources between place-based communities.

Overall, the day drew attention to the myriad approaches and concerns of digital activism, illustrating the many ways in which the digital can both enable activism and be a constraining factor.  An important discussion point that emerged from the day was how academics can best work with community activists, in particular through allowing their research to be guided by the needs of activist groups rather than seeking to impose their own research agendas.  Consequently, the DOS Research Centre will be organising further events that bring together practitioners, academics and members of the public to work on ways in which researchers can best support important social change in the digital sphere.


Digital Activism

This event will explore the nature and impact of digitally enabled and enhanced mobilisation for political, economic and social change.

When:
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (GMT)

Where:
11 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3RE
United Kingdom

Register for this event now at :
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digital-activism-tickets-91482630009?aff=rss

Event Details:
We bring together researchers and activists from inside and outside academia focussing on two broad perspectives on digital activism:

• Building digital movements and resilience pertains to small, independent projects that suggest counterpoints to society’s status quo.

• Responses to organisational forces speaks to activist groups fighting back against larger powers within society such as political parties and multinational corporations.

We aim to start a conversation across the different perspectives and foster cross-issue engagement to instigate networks in research and practice. The two discussion groups consist of individual guest speakers giving a 15-minute introduction to their individual perspective followed by a general discussion lead by a moderator.

Program

13:00 – 13:10 Arrival and introduction

13:10 – 14:40 Panel #1 Building digital movements and resilience

Panel members: Janet Gunter (The Restart Project), Vera Hoelscher (Royal Holloway), Kui Kihoro Mackay (Royal Holloway), Matthias Kispert (University of Westminster)

14:40 – 15:00 Break

11:40 – 13:00 Panel #2 Responses to organisational forces

Panel members: Mikko Laamanen (Royal Holloway), Adam Badger (Royal Holloway), Torsten Geelan (University of Leicester), James Sloam (Royal Holloway)

16:30 – 16:45 Concluding Remarks

Followed by drinks at a local pub.

Further details to be added.

#FCSS – Friendly and Critical Support Space Seminar: Choosing and Attending Academic Conferences

The DOS Research Centre incorporates #FCSS, the Friendly and Critical Support Space, a platform that seeks to provide a community of practice for PhD students in an informal setting that can provide social, emotional and intellectual support.

#FCSS is holding its fifth event on 28th November 2019 that will focus on Academic Conferences covering such common questions as:

  • Why is attending conference important to my PhD?
  • When is the best time to go to conferences?
  • How should I select which conferences to attend?
  • What kind of funding is available from SBM and beyond?

Seminar details:Date: 28/11/2019

Location: Royal Holloway, Founder’s Large Board Room

Speaker: Dr Najmeh Hafezieh

Programme:

14:00 – 14:30    Welcome tea/coffee

14:30 – 15:30    Let’s talk about conferences 

15:30 – 16:00    Let’s talk about funding 

16:00 – 16:30    Let’s hear it from our own PhD students’ experiences

16:30     Wrap Up

This seminar is suitable for all SBM PhD students from Year 1 to Year 3.


DOS + CHRONOS + CBS Research Exchange Day

DOS and CHRONOS Research Centres welcome Copenhagen Business School to RHUL

The aim of the day is to offer participants from DOS, CHRONOS and CBS an opportunity to present their research interests, share ideas and discuss possibilities for future collaborations.

When & Where

Moore Annexe Theatre, RHUL, Egham Hill, Egham TW20 0EX

Monday, September 16, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (BST)

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dos-chronos-cbs-research-exchange-day-tickets-71361587429


Programme

10.00 – 10.15   Reception and Coffee/Tea

10:15 – 10:30   Welcome address

10:30 – 11.00  Research Centres outlines (DOS, CHRONOS, CBS)

11.00 – 12:15   First research theme: Visibility, Accountability, Inequality

12:15 – 13:15   Lunch

13:15 – 14:30   Second research theme: Time and Space

14.30 – 14.45  Coffee and Tea (to take into Research Theme)

14:30 – 15.45  Third research theme: Digitalization and Organization

15.45 – 16.45   Roundtable Discussion

16.45 – 17.15   Conclusions

Followed by a drinks reception on the Library Terrace (weather permitting) or Picture Gallery, Founder’s Building


Research Themes and Presenters

VISIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, INEQUALITY

Mikkel Flyverbom (CBS), Frederick Schade (CBS), Leonardo Rinaldi (RHUL), G. (Hari) Harindranath (RHUL)

SPACE AND TIME

Cecilie Kampmann (CBS), Vera Hoeschler (RHUL), Christopher Napier (RHUL), Phillip Wu (RHUL)

DIGITALISATION AND ORGANISATION

Ursula Plesner & Lise Justesen (CBS), Edmonia Baker (CBS), Tom Wainwright (RHUL), Gillian Symon (RHUL)

Participating Research Centres

CBS Digital Transformations Platform focuses on the implications of digital and other technological developments for economic and societal transformations, exploring issues such as organizational transformations in the digital age, transformations of business models, technology and socio-economic transformations, knowledge production and digital transformations and digital transformations in media and communications. The mission of the platform is to bring together CBS researchers and external partners from public and private sectors in understanding and leveraging technological transformations in the digital age. Contact: Mikkel Flyverbom, mf.msc@cbs.dk (Co-Director of the Platform)

The DOS Research Centre aims to encourage a critical appreciation of the implications of digital technologies for work, organisation and society through interdisciplinary research leading to responsible impact. Research projects fall mainly in three areas: Digital Technology, Organisation and Work; Digital Economy and Innovation; Digital Inequality, Ethics and Cyberactivism. The Centre also provides a forum for the exploration and integration of existing and emerging digital research methods. Contact: Gillian.Symon@rhul.ac.uk or Yingqin.Zheng@rhul.ac.uk (DOS Co-Directors)

CHRONOS is a multidisciplinary group of researchers and educators at Royal Holloway. It actively provides an interdisciplinary, international and inclusive forum to discuss and develop the plurality of ways in which ‘critical’ and ‘historical’ research into organisations, markets and society can be conducted to make a positive difference in society, prompting social and cultural awareness and wise judgement among policy makers, organisational leaders and employees, while informing public debate within broader society. Contact: Elena.Giovannoni@rhul.ac.uk (CHRONOS Director)