#SBSResearch: Ethnographic Research & Analysis

Colleagues across the University of Suffolk are pleased to announce the launch of their book Ethnographic Research and Analysis: Anxiety, Identity and Self.

Tom Vine (Suffolk Business School),‎ Jessica Clark and Sarah Richards (Department of Children, Young People and Education) are the editors of this volume.

Tom explains:

The idea for this book originated from a 2012 conference held at the University of Suffolk. What emerged from this conference was recognition that although our disciplinary backgrounds varied, there was significant value in establishing a shared platform for our ethnographic experiences, not least in the interests of mutual scholarship and reciprocal learning. Notably, and in spite of our disparate subject areas, it became clear that as ethnographers we were encountering similar challenges and epistemological anxieties. Moreover, there appeared to be mutual recognition in terms of the potential for advancing the ethnographic method in the future. In capturing the essence of this conference, this book is not intended as a ‘how to guide’, of which there are many, but rather a space to bring together and share the experiential aspects of ethnographic work. As such, this edited book presents these experiences from a wide range of disciplines including work and organization studies, sociology, social policy, philosophy, management, health and human sciences, family studies, education, disability studies, and childhood studies.

The blurb for the book:

This book reflects on the contemporary use of ethnography across both social and natural sciences, focusing in particular on organizational ethnography, autoethnography, and the role of storytelling. The chapters interrogate and reframe longstanding ethnographic discussions, including those concerning reflexivity and positionality, while exploring evolving themes such as the experiential use of technologies. The open and honest accounts presented in the volume explore the perennial anxieties, doubts and uncertainties of ethnography. Rather than seek ways to mitigate these ‘inconvenient’ but inevitable aspects of academic research, the book instead finds significant value to these experiences.

Taking the position that collections of ethnographic work are better presented as transdisciplinary bricolage rather than as discipline-specific series, each chapter in the collection begins with a reflection on the existing impact and character of ethnographic research within the author’s native discipline. The book will appeal to all academic researchers with an interest in qualitative methods, as well as to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students.

This volume can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk and is available from the University of Suffolk Library.

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#CFP: Storytelling Conference

Held at the University of Suffolk, 10-11 July 2018.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 30th March 2018.

We are excited to announce that the call for papers for our Storytelling Conference is now open. We invite papers that theoretically and empirically engage with a broad range of disciplines reflecting the diverse nature of storytelling and stories substantively and methodologically.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pexels

The conference aims to bring together established academics, early career researchers, PhD candidates and students. Topics covered by this call could include but are not limited to:

  • Stories as a research method(ology)
  • Storytelling in the workplace
  • ‘Storied organisation’
  • Stories of place, space, movement and migration
  • Archaeological and historical stories
  • Children, stories and storytelling
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Stories in and of education
  • The organisation of story
  • The storytelling business
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Ethnographic stories
  • Disability and activism
  • Cultures and communities
  • Stories and popular culture

We welcome traditional presentations of 20 minutes with additional time for questions, pre-formed panels of speakers, and posters; as well as alternative modes of presentation including performance, film, photography etc.

Please send 250 word abstracts for a 20 minute presentation, 500 word abstracts for panels and 150 word abstracts for posters: storytellingpapers@uos.ac.uk

We look forward to receiving your submissions

Storytelling Conference Team,

Jessica Clark, Sarah Richards and Tom Vine

For further information and registration, please visit the website.

#SBSResearch: Students as Partners

In 2017, a team at the University of Suffolk delved into the HEFCE Catalyst Call A funded project PlacementPAL(Peer Assisted Learning): a digital app to scaffold students’ learning and knowledgeable action in work. Through this project, two courses were used as pilots for the development of a mobile web application designed to support students out in work-based contexts as part of their degree programmes.

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(C) University of Suffolk

Through this work, Dr Suzanne Nolan has explored the developing and growing trend of using students as partners in learning and work within higher education. She has been conducting research as part of the PlacementPAL project, as well as taking this further by conducting focus groups and interviews with academic staff, in order to gain an insight into how current higher education professionals view students as partners, and how we can create better learning and teaching environments.

According to Healy et al (2014)

Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself. All partnership is student engagement, but no all student engagement is partnership.

This has certainly been true of the research Dr Nolan has conducted thus far. Initial research suggests that higher education institutions still have a long way to go to embed a culture of communication and development alongside students within their organisations. Clearer understanding may be needed in the definitions of students-as-partners, and the impact (both positive and negative) on students and staff.

There is also a need for organisational support in developing this culture from all levels of management. With the adoption of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), there are increasing pressures on higher education institutions to hear and respond to the student voice. Engaging with students as partners in learning and teaching would be a effective way of doing this.

This work is part of ongoing research. If you work in higher education, and would like to learn more, or contribute to this research, please contact Dr Suzanne Nolan: s.nolan@uos.ac.uk

Dr Suzanne Nolan is the Lecturer in Employment Development at the Suffolk Business School, and is course leader for the Chartered Degree Management Apprenticeship (BA (Hons) Business Management Professional). If you would like more information on this course, please visit the website.