Telling Research

The fourth edition of Handling Qualitative Data has a subtheme – telling qualitative research. From the first chapter, the reader-researcher is urged to plan how they will communicate about the project. By the final chapter, they are urged to keep communicating, beyond the writing of what is usually called the ‘Final Report’.

For almost all qualitative projects, there will and should be other reports – both verbal and written, and both before and after (or sometimes instead of) a full Project Report. As I argued in Chapter 12, ‘the project deserves it, as do the people whose voices and experiences made it possible and the stakeholders who introduced or sponsored it, funded the work or contributed background information’. But the challenges and opportunities for telling the project to other audiences don’t usually make it into texts designed to get you to the thesis on time. Chapter 12 tackles those challenges and this section introduces ways of telling the stories of research through four very different contributions.

The first two contributions describe highly unusual research projects designed to be told to many audiences.

In ‘The Violence of Money: A Story of Stories’, Supriya Singh tells of the challenges in her project designed ‘to help us talk about money and family violence’, and how she has told that story in academic, political and personal contexts.

In ‘Going Public with Our True Colours: Telling Digital Stories’, Nina Woodrow explores ‘the creative and ethical ways that storytelling capacity could be inspired and cultivated in others, and shared with audiences, with the aim of starting conversations about refugee resettlement and hospitality’.

For the third contribution, I invited Anuja Cabraal, a research graduate and trainer, to talk about her use of Twitter and blogs in communicating about research, and to advise early career researchers approaching these media on ‘Communicating Your Research Online’.

For the final contribution, fitting with another theme of the book, I invited practical advice on using QDA software as a way of telling research. Helen Marshall offers her own graduate experience, and then in a PowerPoint presentation, her advice as a trainer, in ‘Telling it to Your Supervisor’.