Missteps and do-overs: When attempting novel methods doesn’t go as planned
Parker, Robin M. N.
MetadataShow full item record
In 2020, guidance on collecting data through online means for qualitative research was surprisingly sparse, given the increased accessibility of videoconferencing in recent decades. During data collection for a doctoral study using virtual ethnomethodology to examine librarian teaching practices, I employed various methods: focus groups, observations of virtual research consultations between librarians and students, and interviews with those librarians. For interviews and focus groups, I trialed novel approaches to prompt reflection and engagement with participants, inspired by video-reflexive ethnography methods and evidence-based comparisons of videoconferenced and online text-based discussions, respectively. During interviews, I shared excerpts from recorded observations to prompt insight regarding challenges with the technologies used during online consultations, with limited success. For the focus groups, I aimed to compare data from the group using synchronous videoconferencing with the data from a second set of participants writing on an asynchronous, text-based discussion board through Padlet. However, in reaction to low levels of engagement in the discussion board format and several comments from participants expressing frustration with the platform, I modified data collection to conduct both focus groups via Zoom. In this research methods brief, I present my motivations to use innovative approaches to encourage engagement with research participants during online data collection, including alignment with the research paradigm using sociomaterialism and employing a conceptual framework informed by Actor-Network Theory. I reflect on my own and participants’ reactions to the challenges with the methods, and share lessons learned when the research process did not go as planned.
Parker RMN. Missteps and do-overs: When attempting novel methods doesn’t go as planned. IRDL Online Research Conference: Discovering the Unexpected in Library Research Design. 2022 November 10-11.