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Ethnography and data re-use: issues of context and hypertext

Dicks, Bella, Mason, Bruce, Williams, Matthew Leighton and Coffey, Amanda Jane 2006. Ethnography and data re-use: issues of context and hypertext. Methodological Innovations 1 (2) , pp. 33-46. 10.4256/mio.2006.0010

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Abstract

This paper seeks to open up debate around context and the re-analysis of stored qualitative data. How to ensure that subsequent users of deposited datasets can appreciate and be guided by the context of the original study? The paper introduces the idea of hypertext as one way of facilitating this. We discuss how „context‟ might be thought through in particular relation to ethnography, where it is frequently difficult to distinguish between data and context, and highlight some of the inherent problems in the notion of archiving ethnographic context. In a discussion focusing in on multimedia, we draw attention to the different kinds of contextual information that are necessary to interpret data in different media forms. The paper‟s starting position is that originators of data and re-users have in front of then a qualitatively different kind of knowledge-base, due to the fact that data and data-records are not the same thing. This doesn‟t rule out re-use but does imply that quite full and careful kinds of documentation are necessary to try and make it sufficiently rigorous, a demand which also, however, has to be balanced against the dangers of information overload. These challenges lead us to question whether the traditional archiving model is the most suitable way of communicating context to re-users; we present some of our insights from work on hypertext to explore the potential of the hyperlink as a key contextualising tool.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1748-0612
Funders: ESRC
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2017 11:45
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/60672

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