Last week I attended the British Sociological Association annual conference, which was hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University. It was a really enjoyable conference with a fascinating array of presentations that stimulated my thinking about my own research project about men’s longitudinal care responsibilities. I attended sessions in the Lifecourse and Families and Relationships streams for the most part. I was particularly impressed by the plenary presentation given by Alice Goffman, in which she discussed the findings from her ethnographic research in the USA to explore the impact of incarceration on young, black men living in low-income localities. I also enjoyed Ros Edwards‘ reflections on her career as a family sociologist. Her talk summarised some of the debates that family sociologists are currently engaging in, particularly about the analytical reach of the concept of ‘family’ itself.
Last Thursday I also gave my own presentation about the methodological strategy I have been working through in the last seven months in order to conduct qualitative secondary analysis on two Timescapes datasets. In the presentation I provided an overview of my research interests and outlined the three stages I have been working through in order to analyse data that is not my own, in a way that is epistemologically sound. These three stages are; familiarisation with the datasets and checking for ‘fit’ in terms of my research interests; holding a data sharing workshop with the original research teams; and conducting qualitative secondary analysis on the datasets to help me to refine my research questions and justify a new sample. This final stage, which is the stage I am working through at the moment, is raising a lot of questions for me, particularly as I am bringing two datasets that are not directly comparable into analytic conversation. One of the datasets for example, involves interviews with young teenage fathers and the other involves interviews with mid-life grandparents (including the voices of men who are grandfathers). Through discussions with people at the conference and in response to questioning from the audience, I am starting to move towards consideration of how these two datasets might be used in a complementary way, rather than being directly comparable. I will be developing my thinking about this in the next few months and hope to share it here but in the mean time, a copy of the presentation is available here: QSA_Men&Care
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