≡ Menu

Writing as a method of data analysis

Pretty much on what I tried to say in Mangrove effect: the value of making things explicit – but narrowed down to writing as a method of data analysis:

I use writing as a method of data analysis by using writing to think; that is, I wrote my way into particular spaces I could not have occupied by sorting data with a computer program or by analytic induction. This was rhizomatic work (Deleuze&Guattari, 1980/1987) in which I made accidental and fortuitous connections I could not foresee or control. My point here is that I did not limit data analysis to conventional practices of coding data and then sorting it into categories that I then grouped into themes that became section headings in an outline that organized and governed my writing in advance of writing. Thought happened in the writing. As I wrote, I watched word after word appear on the computer screen – ideas, theories, I had not thought before I wrote them. [p.970]

And another one, just because it takes to the extreme some of my feelings (=I’m more moderate about audit trails and data saturation 🙂

And it is thinking of writing in this way that breaks down the distinction in conventional qualitative inquiry between data collection and data analysis – one more assault to the structure. Both happen at once. […] Data collection and data analysis cannot be separated when writing is a method of inquiry. And positivist concepts, such as audit trails and data saturation, become absurd and then irrelevant in postmodern qualitative inquiry in which writing is a field of play where anything can happen – and it does. [p.971]

Both quotes are from Richardson, L. & St.Pierre, E. A. (2005). Writing: A method of inquiry. In N.K.Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 959-978). SAGE Publications.

Wikipedia entry on rhizome in philosophy: I don’t understand much, but the fact that Carl Jung used the word “to emphasize the invisible and underground nature of life” is intriguing.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2007/06/20.html#a1912; comments are here.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment