New frontiers in QLR: definition, design and display

Thomson, Rachel, Hadfield, Lucy, Holland, Janet and Henwood, Karen (2014) New frontiers in QLR: definition, design and display. Working Paper. National Centre for Research Methods.

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Research that is attentive to temporal processes and durational phenomena is an important tradition within the social sciences internationally with distinct disciplinary trajectories. Qualitative longitudinal research emerged as a distinct methodological paradigm around the turn of the millennium, named within the UK through journal special issues, literature reviews and funding commitments. In 2012-3 the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods funded a network for methodological innovation to map ’New frontiers of QLR’, bringing together a group of scholars who have been actively involved in establishing QLR as a methodological field. The network provided an opportunity to consolidate the learning that has developed in QLR over a sustained period of investment and to engage critically with what QLR might mean in new times. This paper documents the series of discussions staged by the network involving the definition of QLR, the kinds of relationships and practices it involves and the consequences of these in a changing landscape for social research. The series was deliberately interdisciplinary ensuring that we engaged with the temporal perspectives and norms of different academic and practice traditions and this has both enriched and complicated the picture that has emerged from our deliberations. In this paper we argue that QLR is a methodological paradigm that by definition moves with the times, and is an ongoing site of innovation and experiment. Key issues identified for future development in QLR include: intervening in debates of ‘big data’ with visions of deep data that involve following and connecting cases over time; the potential of longitudinal approaches to reframe the ‘sample’ exploring new ways of connecting the particular and the general; new thinking about research ethics that move us beyond anonymity to better explore the meanings of confidentiality and the co-production of research knowledge; and finally the promotion of a QLR sensibility that involves a heightened awareness of the here and now in the making of knowledge, yet which also connects research biographically over a career, enriched by a reflexive understanding of time as a resource in the making of meaning.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: Longitudinal Research Data Archiving Qualitative Approaches Ethics
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Pascale Fanning-Tichborne
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2014 14:40
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2014 14:40

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