1 Explore – Smartphone-based Activities: Put your investigative skills to the test with these quick interactive activities. Dig deeper into key concepts and understand how they might relate to your own research project via guided website searches and online discussion questions.

8.1 Naturally-Occurring data

Can you find any articles online that analyse naturally-occurring data in your area of qualitative research? If not, why do you think this? If yes, what reasons do they give for their choice of methodology and would you take a similar approach?

The following two articles debate whether naturally occurring material should be the basic data for qualitative research. Susan Speer raises several reservations about the value of this assumption.

Speer, S. A. (2002). `Natural’ and `contrived’ data: a sustainable distinction? Discourse Studies4(4), 511–525.

In the paper below, Jonathan Potter replies to Susan Speer, arguing that naturally-occurring data remains highly relevant to qualitative research:

Potter, J. (2002). Two kinds of natural. Discourse Studies4(4), 539–542.

Which article do you most agree with and why?