Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN30_02c: Methodological innovations
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Ingmar Zalewski, University of Kassel
Location: GM.304
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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What Counts As Data? Re-animating Young Lives, Re-visioning Youth Transitions Using The UK National Survey Of Health And Development

Penny Tinkler, Resto Cruz, Laura Fenton

University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Intended principally for quantitative analysis, cohort studies nevertheless offer rich insights into the lived experiences and meanings of young people’s life transitions. This paper critically examines the potential of the UK National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) to enrich historical and social scientific understandings of young women’s pathways into adulthood in postwar Britain. While much has been written about youth and popular culture in this period, understandings of young women’s lives remain underdeveloped. Yet, this generation of women has immense historical and contemporary significance. As young women, they were in the vanguard of postwar social change. They are now part of the largest group of over-60s in British history, and are redefining ageing and making new demands on, and contributions to, society. Their pioneering approach to later life is widely believed to be shaped partly by their experiences of growing up. This paper reflects on how NSHD data are mediated by the voices, interests, and perspectives of adults, institutions, and the state. Despite this, the NSHD contains traces of postwar women’s own thoughts and perceptions—regarding their own lives, but also family, friends and peers, and society at large. Such traces challenge what is recognised as data by the NSHD, but also by those who have argued for the qualitative restudy of existing cohort studies. Hence, repurposing cohort studies for the qualitative analysis of youth lives and transitions, we argue, entails a more expansive notion of data and a willingness to go beyond the original parameters of those studies.

Keywords: youth; postwar Britain; longitudinal methods; cohort studies; life course; generation

Researching Youth at the Margins: Do different methods reveal different data?

Avril Keating, Rachel Benchekroun

University College London, United Kingdom

The aim of this paper is to advance our understanding of how we collect data with/ for/ and about young people. Recent technological developments have generated a range of tools that can be used to collect and analyse data. In tandem, there has been increasing interest among social researchers in co-producing research with young people and giving them more ‘voice’ within the process. Nonetheless, collecting high-quality data from/about youth remains fraught with challenges: be they ethical, practical, or political. Furthermore, young people at the margins (economically, socially, and/ or geographically) continue to be ‘hard to reach’, often because of the limitations of our research tools and budgets.

In a recent project we therefore set out to examine how we could tackle some of the methodological challenges we had faced in previous projects. This was a small-scale project, but it enabled us to explore the potential benefits, problems, and outcomes of different data-collection strategies. Core questions included: would walking interviews generate more insights into youth attitudes about their community, and make young people more comfortable than a more traditional face-to-face interview? Can researcher-led photo-elicitation activities tell us more about young lives than the photos they post on social media? And how can we support young people to design their own research-based activities and to have more agency?

This paper will report the results of our project. By comparing and contrasting the data that emerged from these different strategies, we will demonstrate the benefits of using multiple methods when researching youth at the margins.

Family Interviews: Exploring Intergenerational Occupational Transmission in the Middle Class

Miriam Schad1, Andrea Hense2

1Technical University Dortmund, Germany; 2Sociological Research Institute Göttingen (SOFI), Germany

The talk presents the methodological design and first results of a research project on intergenerational stability and status maintenance in selected occupational fields of the middle class. A central research question is under which conditions which kind of mentalities, values, or dispositions are passed on or modified across three generations in order to maintain the social status of the family. To analyze intergenerational occupational transmission, we explore the career choice motivation of the younger generation and how they balance the aspirations of their family and their own interests. Theoretically, we refer to intergenerational dynamics and social inequalities as well as life course research of linked lives. The project compares three typical occupational fields of the middle class: professions like doctors, teachers and lawyers, family-owned craft business, and qualified employees in the technical field. We conduct family interviews with members of three generations who are interviewed simultaneously. Family interviews offer the opportunity to analyze communication and collective perceptions in families and directly relate them to individual perspectives and individual positions within the family. Sampling and data analysis are based on the Grounded Theory Methodology. As we use narrative interview techniques and genograms, we also reconstruct the life stories of the family members embedded in the narratives of their family history and their kinship networks. The empirical analyzes aims at developing a typology of cross-generational strategies of status maintenance. Firstly, the talk focuses on the benefits of the family interviews to explore intergenerational relationships and dynamics. Secondly, we present first findings.

Keywords: family interviews, intergenerational occupational transmission, status maintenance, linked lives

Addressing The Notions Of Listening And Participation In Intervention Research With Young Adults

Sanna Aaltonen1, Janet Anand1, Antti Kivijärvi2

1University of Eastern Finland; 2University of Helsinki

A shared aim of scholars doing empirical research among marginalized, underprivileged or demonized groups is to find effective and ethically reasoned ways to enable them to participate in research and in identifying research needs. However, the art of listening as phrased by Les Back (2007) calls for context-specific reflexivity and sensitivity towards practices. Although research can be considered as a context where political voice of underrepresented groups is co-produced it is equally important to be critical towards the naive idea of “giving voice” to silenced groups. The effort for listening or co-producing a political voice is further complicated in an intervention research, reasoned not only by the aim of producing data jointly by a researcher and a research participant but of changing behavior or perspective or the young adults. In this paper we discuss ethics, the notions of listening and the limits and possibilities of participatory approach in the context of two sub-projects of a larger consortium (PROMEQ) that aimed at developing interventions to promote wellbeing of underprivileged groups in Finland. We focus on two groups of young adults: one consisting of young clients of targeted youth services who were on the margins of education and employment and the other one of young asylum seekers with a residence permit. Besides drawing upon both quantitative and qualitative data produced in the sub-projects we scrutinize our research practices aimed at co-producing knowledge and activities for promoting wellbeing.