a) How do people perform or break norms of social interaction in public spaces? (e.g. cafés, buses, libraries, pubs, or somewhere else)

| January 6, 2016

a) How do people perform or break norms of social interaction in public spaces? (e.g. cafés, buses, libraries, pubs, or somewhere else)
The final project will be a 3000 word paper discussing insights gained from piloting the use of two different methods to address a research question. As part of this project, you will gather your own new data (e.g. through interviews, observation, surveys) and/or re-analyse existing data (e.g. graphs, visual data). Some evidence of these pilots or analysis will be included in appendices to the final paper. As gathering and analysing data will take a considerable amount of time, you are encouraged to begin work on this project early on in the term and to seek feedback along the way from both tutors and classmates, where necessary.
Process:
Choose one of the following topics:
a) How do people perform or break norms of social interaction in public spaces? (e.g. cafés, buses, libraries, pubs, or somewhere else)
b) What makes a space or place public?
c) How does gender shape performances of identity online?
d) How does space matter for patterns of social inequality?
While you must engage with one of these topics, you may narrow its focus or concentrate on particular issues related to it, rather than attempting to answer these very broad questions.
Then complete any two methodological pilots from the following list:
a) Collect 15 responses to a questionnaire using both face-to-face survey and a web survey tool. The questionnaire must include 12-15 questions that mix scales, multiple choice, and open questions.
b) Conduct two semi-structured interviews (30-45 minutes long) based on an interview schedule you have designed.
c) Conduct a total of three hours of observation in at least two settings.
d) Collect and analyse 10 examples of visual or textual data – e.g. photographs, advertisements, brochures, newspaper articles, website pages, mass observation submissions.
e) Select, describe and interpret 3 graphs or tables from the following data sources:
a. American Time Use Data visualisation – New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/31/business/20080801-metrics-graphic.html?_r=2& – You can move between the time-use graphs of different groups by clicking on the boxes to the upper right of the graph.
b. Reading the Riots – The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/dec/09/data-journalism-reading-riots – Clicking on the images in this article allow you to explore the data visualisations.
c. OECD Better Life Index http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/
There are two different data visualisations here:
i. The ‘index’ dataset is compiled from economic statistics (income, education levels, employment, etc.), usually supplied by national governments and economic organisations.
ii. The ‘responses’ dataset is compiled from the people’s reaction to the graphs and plots of the ‘index’ data shown on the OECD Better Life website.
Before undertaking any pilots involving interaction with human participants, you will need to complete an ethics form and have it signed by one of the course tutors. More information will be provided in class and on Moodle.
Use evidence from your pilots (including where appropriate direct quotes, images, charts, or excerpts from field notes) and at least 5 published academic books or journal articles that focus primarily upon methods or methodology (e.g. those in the course outline) to discuss the following:
1. What the pilots revealed about your research question
2. A critical comparison of the different methods piloted
3. What methodological revisions you would make before conducting further research on this topic
Include in an appendix two of the following sets of supporting documents (as applicable):
a) A copy of completed questionnaires or summary tables, one page of summary data on the respondents, and a short explanation of the sampling strategy
b) A copy of your interview schedule with notes taken by you during the interview, one page of summary data on the respondents, and a short explanation of the sampling strategy
c) Two pages of example fieldnotes from your observations, one page summarizing the locations, dates, and times of observation, and a short explanation of how these times and spaces were sampled
d) Copies of all data referred to in the discussion and analysis, clearly labelled with information about where it was sourced from, and a short explanation of how it was sampled
e) One page listing and giving online links to the sources analysed – including who produced the data graphics and original datasets upon which they were based, why these sources were chosen, and what if any changes you made to interactive visuals before analysing them (this may include screenshots of the data graphics analysed)
Optional: you can include in the appendix additional materials that support your discussion, if these are appropriately referenced in the body of the text. For example, you might want to include a reflective journal entry without having to quote it at length. Or, you might want to refer to a long interview exchange without quoting it at length in the main body of the text. Either could be included in the appendix instead, with a reference in the text that refers to the appendix (e.g. ‘please see the appendix for the detailed exchange’).
In summary:
The final project should be 3000 words (+/- 10%; excluding appendices) and include in an appendix the relevant documents supporting the two methodological pilots. It must discuss all three of the issues above, although these need not receive equal attention and may be answered as a part of making more focused arguments.

Indicative qualities for assessment:
Please note – these descriptions elaborate and clarify how the departmental marking criteria apply to this project. You can refer to the departmental criteria, found in your Part II handbook, for more information.
A-, A, A+: A critical and nuanced engagement with the pilots, reflections, and supporting literature raises important methodological issues and provides new insights into the research topic. An exemplary range and depth of understanding and skills are evidenced, and considered judgment is given to key issues, challenges, and concepts. Complex epistemological issues surrounding research methods and the performativity of research are engaged with.
B-, B, B+: A good range of evidence from pilots is used to begin raising important questions, engaging with complex reflections, and comparing different types of truth or evidence. Familiarity with wider literature is well established and connected to the issues raised in the discussion. Appreciable depth of understanding is illustrated, and arguments are generally well supported.
C-, C, C+: Appropriate evidence from the pilots is used to make basic methodological comparisons and to reflect upon straightforward changes that might be made in future research. Some arguments are insufficiently supported, and some concepts may be insecurely grasped. Differences between methods are largely seen as practical, rather than also reflecting more complex understandings of truth, justification, and evidence.
D-, D, D+: Evidence is provided that pilots were conducted, and some basic description is given of the different insights arising from them. There is minimal engagement with cited sources and some insecure attempts to connect the pilots to the broader research topic. Reflections upon possible methodological revisions are limited and/or little developed.
F1-4: Evidence is provided of only one pilot, and there is no comparison of different methods. Discussion is largely irrelevant to the topic and primarily describes the work of others.

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