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Fieldwork and qualitative analysis - approaches to advance understanding

Fieldwork methods – such as surveys, interviews, focus groups and observations – are valuable research approaches that enable us to elicit people’s perspectives and observe how they behave in different kinds of setting. They are often combined with qualitative analysis in order to develop a deep and detailed understanding of socio-technical phenomena. The outcomes of this analysis can:

  • advance knowledge of the ways in which technology affects communication, collaboration and exchange within scientific, work and home settings
  • consider the ways in which new technologies can be designed and developed to be more responsive to societal acceptability and desirability
  • promote improved design and responsible development of technologies

Fieldwork methods and qualitative analysis are highly useful but require careful attention and a robust approach in order to be effective. In the HCC theme we specialise in drawing on insights from the social sciences to ensure that we conduct fieldwork and analysis with necessary rigour. We also carry out teaching to help students understand that benefits of incorporating these approaches into their work. Topics covered in these courses include: methodological principles; access and ethics; conduct during data collection; data handling and storage; data analysis; and presentation of findings.