Qualitative longitudinal data and secondary

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16 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

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Qualitative longitudinal data and secondary
analysis: researching identities, the life course
and social change

Sarah Irwin

University of Leeds



Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies Inaugural
Conference, University of Cambridge, 22
-
24 Sept 2010

ESRC
Timescapes


7 component Qualitative Longitudinal
projects, with common set of interests
including longitudinal orientation; interest in
time; focus on aspects of life course and
generation; focus on relationships; identities;
family contexts and life course transitions


Archive


Secondary Analysis


TIMESCAPES SECONDARY ANALYSIS




INTER
-
PROJECT/

Cross
-
project

analysis


developing

links


TEAM

MEETINGS

(working

across

TS

data

sets)


with

external






of




data

sets






common questions


common themes


Secondary analysis as a focus:


Using SA project as vehicle for developing substantive
insights and methodological reflections


Early stages of working across
Timescapes

projects. A
unique undertaking in SA, and want project to
illuminate some general methodological questions
and, hopefully, develop some strategies for addressing
these questions


Certainly not ‘can we’ do SA, but how we do it
productively



DEBATES IN SECONDARY ANALYSIS





Reflexivity


primary/secondary

context





evidence and fitness for purpose



On context:


Proximate participant context


Researcher epistemological and theoretical
framework


“critical distance” (moving between insider /
outsider position)

Timescapes

secondary analysis issues
also include…


Multiple projects






sampling

Meaningful
bases for
comparison

Enhancing
explanation

Analytic
strategies

Identifying researchable questions


How does
Timescapes

evidence offer insights into
continuities and changes in gendered identities and
behaviours at the turn of the 21
st

century?


Does such evidence give insights into changing structures in
which women and men relate to work, family life and
children, and to one another?


How does TS evidence on women’s and men’s identities
provide a lens on contemporary gender dynamics?


How does new prospective longitudinal evidence shed light
on gendered identities, and women’s and men’s social
positioning and commitments,
in evolving contexts
.

Examples of specific ‘sub’ questions


How do women, and men, describe their role and identities as parents?


How do they manage the linked care and commitments which follow
having dependent children? How ‘symmetrical’ or ‘asymmetrical’ are
these commitments? (these may well be interpreted in terms of ‘equal but
different’, rather than unequal)


Do practical arrangements remain stable or change over time?


Do women’s and men’s perspectives on arrangements, roles and identities
remain stable or change over time?
(perceptions, values, motivations in
movement potentially


Change may prompt reflection; also we potentially gain insights into changing
motivations, perceived constraint etc



These questions focus us on a key life course point where tensions which
arise from historical reconfiguring of work and care commitments. Also
hold policy implications relating to work life balance; gender equalities etc



sampling

Conceptualising
specificity in the TS
projects

Developing strategies for
sampling within, and across, the
Archive

Sampling


conceptualising specificity with
qualitative projects


Small and specific samples


a difficulty multiplied?


We need to understand the nature of individual projects’
samples e.g. through


Project aims, target population, recruitment process, evidence
on self selection (examples)


Base data


How does data and evidence relate to the specifics of the
sample
(understanding the evidence base for each project)
:


How is it situated? (in respect of theoretical concerns;
population heterogeneity etc) (examples)


What are the implications for asking new questions which fall
outwith

the project aims?



Developing strategies for sampling within, and
across, the Archive


How do we sample? (reflections on using the Archive)


Within projects?
(re: amount of data)


With reference to ‘standard socio
-
demographic’ criteria (e.g.
participants with a ‘typical’, or ‘atypical’ profile


With reference to understandings of how evidence relates to
relevant social processes


e.g. typical and atypical (example


Shirani
); with reference to theory.



Across projects? These have separate aims, samples,
methods (sampling within chalk and cheese?). Requires
conceptualising bases on which we

compare

cases across
projects


To address this requires further reflection on bases for
comparison and analytic strategies…..


Analytic strategies


Likely analytic strategies:


Thematic analysis


extensive analysis (e.g. common
questions data. Read across (
uncoded

/ coded) data sets;


advantage that could reveal patterning (although limits clear)


Disadvantage: that readings risk superficiality given absence of
detailed context; given risks of assuming comparability too readily


Case study analysis


detailed readings (in longitude): need
be clear


What we are taking cases to ‘stand for’


Grounds for sampling particular cases


Enables detailed comparison between strategically chosen cases
(give examples from family/work questions)


Risks
-

data is illustrative of ‘preceding’ theory..


Meaningful bases for comparison


linking the
specific to the specific


Not just an issue for TS, but for any qualitative SA.



Does the research question ‘work’ across projects i.e. is there an adequate
comparative evidence base?


E.g. reflections on research question, and differences to quantitative research design



Challenges of comparative analysis across data sets:


Embeddedness

of data in specific project aims. Not comparing like with like


E.g. gender and accounts of parenting


E.g. reflections on generation



Strategies for meaningful comparison


We have to translate relevancies so data sets can ‘talk to each other’. In short, comparison has
to be conceptually grounded. HOW? Developing this with reference to research and theory in
the domain of gender and restructuring of social reproduction..


Theoretically grounded. But also exploratory, and open to theory building


Scope of longitudinal evidence
-

potentially an important lens on relevant processes, and
another dimension on which to build comparisons
across

data sets


For example: Do women’s and men’s perspectives on
arrangements, roles and identities remain stable or change over
time?
(perceptions, values, motivations in movement potentially)


Men in
MaF

orient to fathering identity


Women in
MoMM

orient to mothering identity


Parents in WFL orient to work life balance


(youngsters expectations in Sibs and YLT)



What are women’s and men’s perceptions of their roles through the
family building period. Are these ‘chosen’ or a pragmatic response to
external constraint? Is there evidence that values and motivations
change through time? Does this vary within project samples? Can we
observe commonalities across projects? Need a pragmatic but
conceptually grounded approach to comparison across samples.

Enhancing explanation


What is evidence is taken to ‘stand for’ and
how is it related to theory? Risk that
sometimes links between qualitative data and
theory are not as well developed as they could
be.
We need to be explicit in step two …


Or: conceptual sufficiency
in how claims are built
from qualitative evidence
is essential to the
advancement of
understanding


Being ‘explicit in step two’ a general concern for
qualitative research but challenges may be
magnified in secondary analysis and longitudinal
evidence base. Strategies:


E.g. through understanding sample specificity and
links to general processes


Through clarity over scope for meaningful
comparisons across diverse data sets (including how
subsamples relate to wider evidence)


Developing ability to explore, test and elaborate
conceptual understanding, working across the data
sets in productive ways.

Conclusion.. (work in progress)


Our research question on continuities and changes in gendered
identities, roles and relationships through early family life /
parenthood taps into a key life course phase
(contemporary
structural changes in gender; family life; and organisation of social
reproduction).

Exemplifies scope for working with, and across, TS in
researching life course processes and social change;



Have sought to identify


and reflect on


issues arising in working
across qualitative / TS data sets
(or bring them into conversation with other
data sets).



TS SA project seeks to develop substantive insights as well as
methodological lessons, or guidance, in re
-
use of the TS project
data sets