Spring into Methods

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, in partnership with the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, announces that applications are open for Spring into Methods 2021.

The Spring into Methods programme brings together arts, humanities and social science doctoral researchers from across Scotland and offers sessions providing an interdisciplinary and in-depth approach to learning a specific research method.

These interdisciplinary workshops are open to all doctoral researchers aligned with SGSAH, SGSSS, SOCIAL AI or SICSA at member HEIs. 

Eight workshops will be running as part of Spring into Methods between Tuesday 06 April and Friday 21 May 2021. You can find more information on each course below by clicking on the title.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 01 March 2021.
Please note that an application does not guarantee you a place. You may apply for up to two workshops. Applicants will be notified of the decision by 16 March 2021. 

Spring Into Methods 2021 Workshops

The aim of this series of new online training seminars is to deliver training in key aspects of oral history interviewing theory and practice, including remote interviewing given Covid-19, and enable critical reflection on interviewing as a research methodology in this new world of social distancing. It will provide Arts and Social Science doctoral students with an opportunity to focus in more depth on some of the key theoretical issues in oral interviewing and develop their interviewing practice through focusing on specific problem issues and scenarios. The workshop’s primary objectives are: 

  • to hone and develop student’s knowledge of how to conduct interviews remotely
  • deepen understanding of the key theoretical issues associated with oral interviewing, including memory, ethics and subjectivity and intersubjectivity
  • to introduce students to oral narrative methods and narrative analysis.

The 2021 training provides an opportunity for students to focus on the specific issues arising in their interview practice, providing a forum to critically reflect on any interviews undertaken thus far in a group setting.  For instance, with a view to improving interview skills and / or linking theory to practice. 

The workshops are delivered by experienced oral historians who work extensively with oral interviews in a range of communities within and beyond the United Kingdom. We have expertise on such areas of study as working class lives, gender / trans history, war and genocide studies, Scottish and British history, and African oral traditions.

Session 1: Monday 10 May, 10am-12.30pm – Remote Interviewing Practice in an Online World

Session 2: Tuesday 11 May, 10am-12.30pm – Oral History Theory: Memory, Subjectivity and Intersubjectivity

Session 3: Wednesday 12 May, 10am-12.30pm – Ethical issues and trauma in oral interviewing

Session 4: Thursday 13 May, 10am-12.30pm – Narrative analysis and use of oral testimony in thesis research and publication

Number of places available: 16

African feminism is a dynamic theory that expands our way of thinking. It is particularly relevant to researchers who want to change the world, in a range of fields, because it provides the orientation and tools to see the world from the position of marginalised and oppressed communities.

These sessions will show how the theory shapes a methodology that is just, holistic and transformative. The course aims to establish a community of practice for those who participate. In a series of 5 sessions, with readings and video material, the course will show how African feminism is located in relation to other feminisms, decolonial studies, and theories for social change. Its unique starting point – from the perspective of black women – provides an orientation to research methodology that places the research participants at the centre of the project. Their experiences, intentions, aspirations and directions are held in a process that seeks justice and transformation as a sustainable and inclusive practice.   

The idea of community that African Feminism promotes is envisaged in the pedagogy of the course. Given the focus on African Feminism and Decolonising Research methodologies, there will be an equal balance between participants from Scotland, Ghana and South Africa. Cross-continental collaboration and community will be encouraged post workshop 

Session 1: Monday 19 April, 9am-11am

Session 2: Tuesday 20 April, 9am-11am

Session 3: Wednesday 21 April, 9am-11am

Session 4: Thursday 22 April, 9am-11am

Session 5: Friday 23 April, 9am-11am

Number of places available: 14 (from Scotland)

It is estimated that as many as 1 in every 100 people may be autistic, yet autistic people are generally under-represented in qualitative research. Additionally, the ‘stereotype’ of an autistic person remains a white, middle class male child or young adult. Therefore, even where qualitative research is specifically focused on autistic people or autism, certain groups, such as non-speaking autistic people, autistic people in adolescence, autistic people of colour and older autistic people with a late diagnosis, face barriers to participating in projects that may make people’s lives better.

In light of the recent shift towards lived experience and participatory/emancipatory methods of research for marginalised groups and people with disabilities, this 5-session interactive training course aims to equip qualitative researchers to consider the needs of autistic people and to design projects which overcome the barriers to participation that some people with disabilities may face.

The 5 seminars will cover the following topics:

  1. Beyond ‘Ableism’: How to be Good Autistic Allies.
  2. Hearing the Autistic ‘Voice’: Speaking and Non-Speaking Communication.
  3. Working with Autistic Adolescents.
  4. Conducting Participatory Action Research with Autistic People.
  5. Interviewing Autistic People for Qualitative Research.

These interactive sessions will draw on the experience and expertise of several partner organisations, including the National Autistic Society and Scottish Autism. There will be opportunities to network with other researchers and key stakeholders, to hear their input in relation to your own research aims, and to identify pathways for public engagement. A reflective learning journal will be provided to all participants, along with other accompanying resources.  

Session 1: Tuesday 20 April, 3pm-5pm

Session 2: Tuesday 27 April, 3pm-5pm

Session 3: Tuesday 4 May, 3pm-5pm

Session 4: Tuesday 11 May, 3pm-5pm

Session 5: Tuesday 18 May, 3pm-5pm

Number of places available: 30

This workshop offers a novel opportunity for arts, humanities and social science researchers to learn about creating open research data from your PhD project, and curating your own digital archive. While we will cover a range of different ways of archiving your data, we will focus on how to create your own digital DIY academic archive using the open source content management system Omeka. We will address why you might do this and the potential benefits for your own research practice. We approach archiving as a practice that can be designed into projects from the beginning and that is oriented to both present and future use of research materials and data, your own use and others.

We will cover:

  • Archival genealogies: a transdisciplinary approach to archiving, drawing on ‘the  archival turn’, archival theory and practice, the open data movement, reuse of social science data, and community archiving. Importantly we draw attention to the fact that innovations across all of these fields are predominantly being driven by insights from feminist, queer, decolonial theory and politics.
  • Archiving as method and practice: different ways of archiving and a practical introduction to Omeka, as an accessible, open source platform
  • Archiving as an ethic of care for data: reframing data management by thinking through the data life cycle, and reframing data management as an ethic of care
  • Archiving as a form of publishing and knowledge exchange: archiving and curating exhibitions as a way of engaging with participants and other publics.

We will reflect throughout on the importance of considering ethical issues – in fact understanding archiving data as a crucial practice of caring for our research – as well as covering recent changes to research governance including GDPR, and moves to open research.

No prior knowledge of archiving, open data, or digital platforms such as Omeka, is required. The workshop will include time to work on your own data with support of the teaching team, or opportunity to work with a demonstrator site.

The workshop will involve a mix of mini-lectures, discussion of participants’ own projects, showcases of exemplar archives, a walk-through the behind the scenes of uploading data to Omeka, as well as some virtual ‘hands-on activities’, including co-creating an online exhibition.

Session 1: Monday 10 May, 2.00pm-4.30pm 

Session 2: Wednesday 12 May, 2.00pm-4.30pm 

Session 3: Monday 17 May, 2.00pm-4.30pm 

Session 4: Wednesday 19 May, 2.00pm-4.30m 

Number of places available: 20

This course will take students into the prominent emerging theories and practices (or ‘theories-practices) associated with posthumanism and the new materialisms. Such onto-epistemological understandings call binaries into question – theory/practice, matter/discourse, human/nonhuman, etc.) – and challenge the anthropocentrism of critical theory and the cultural turn. Posthumanism and the new materialisms speculate instead on ‘entanglements’ (Barad, 2007) – of the human, the non-human, the more-than-human, and the more-than human (Manning,2016), reconceptualising politics, agency, corporeality, criticality, representation, data, time and more.   

The course will introduce students to how those theories-practices have implications for inquiry, knowledge-making, and knowing; how these concepts are being debated, contested and put to work within social science and humanities research, for example through creative-relational inquiry and the ‘postqualitative’ inquiry of St. Pierre, Lather, Jackson, Mazzei, Ulmer and others. The course will foreground the posthumanist emphasis on process, on ‘doing’. Throughout we will invite students to bring their own research projects into the theories-practices they are encountering (and the theories-practices into their research projects) in a constant movement of folding and unfolding.

Session 1: Friday 23 April, 10am-12.30pm

Session 2: Friday 30 April, 10am-12.30pm

Session 3: Friday 7 May, 10am-12.30pm 

Session 4: Friday 14 May, 10am-12.30 pm

Number of places available: 30

This workshop will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about designing and implementing a Financial Diaries study in times of pandemic. Financial diaries are systematic records of all daily income and expenditure transactions, as well as gifts, assets, and liabilities, aimed at understanding the money management strategies of people living on low-incomes over a period of time (Collins et al. 2009). Originally applied in developing countries (Rutherford and Arora, 2009), this method has recently been used in the United States (Morduch and Schneider 2017) and in the UK (Biosca et al., 2020).

Financial Diaries result in a multi-dimensional, comprehensive set of data on financial management strategies used over time that is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Incoming and outgoing financial flows are captured over time, including the context of the decisions that shaped those flows: why a transaction was made and the reasoning behind each financial strategy used. The method can be applied in different ways – sometimes more quantitative-focused and sometimes using mixed methods – depending on the approach and the purpose of the research study.

COVID-19 and its associated measures have added another layer of complexity to the design, data collection and analysis of Financial Diaries.

This is a ‘hands on’ workshop for students looking for an introduction to Financial Diaries. Through live presentations and practical group exercises, it aims to provide students with the background necessary to undertake Financial Diary studies in pandemic times, encouraging and supporting them in the use of this method. Students will emerge from the workshop with an understanding of the type of research questions to which this methodology is applicable; the main steps in a Financial Diaries study (including study design, data collection and analysis); and knowledge of where further resources on Financial Diaries can be accessed.

This interactive workshop, designed by a team of renown experts from the Yunus Centre of Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, will be organised in three 2-hour live online sessions:

Session 1: Tuesday 27 April, 10.30am-12.30pm. This session will introduce the Financial Diaries method: theoretical background and approaches used, types of research questions addressed and study design

Session 2: Wednesday 28 April, 10.30am-12.30pm. This session will explore the advantages and disadvantages of a range of Financial Diary remote data collection strategies.

Session 3: Thursday 29 April, 10.30am-12.30pm. This session will describe the analytical tools – quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods – that can be used in Financial Diaries studies.

Number of places available: 30

‘Narrative portraits in Qualitative Research’ is a workshop relevant to researchers working with qualitative data. In this workshop people learn a method to transform observational notes, interview or focus group transcripts into first-person narratives that can be used in the analysis of qualitative data. 

While we as researchers put a lot of effort into making sense of data, we seem to pay less attention to how to communicate our data’s ‘story’ in compelling and engaging ways. Our analytic method helps researchers to engage with people’s stories in an evocative way. It offers a political shift towards focusing on people rather than on abstract results. Whilst a common understanding of the purpose of methodological approaches is to elucidate concepts, identify categories, or themes to understand certain phenomena, narrative portraiture brings the person to the fore and highlights that a portrayal of a sole story can be, not only a medium to understand a research phenomenon, but also a valuable research output in itself. 

Rooted in structural narrative analysis and an embodied approach to research, this interdisciplinary method brings together visual and performing arts and social science to create an analytic toolkit that works for research communication and knowledge exchange.  

Drawing on our own research in the context of the LGBTQIA+ communities, disability, and experiences of poverty, we will present examples that show how the method can help researchers present their findings in creative ways and participants will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience by applying the method to their own data or provided samples.

This workshop will be delivered over four sessions:

Session 1: Wednesday 14 April, 9.30am-11.30am 

Session 2: Wednesday 21 April, 9.30am-11.30am 

Session 3: Wednesday 28 April, 9.30am-11.30am 

Session 4: Wednesday 5 May, 9.30am-11.30am 

Number of places available: 20

Have you ever wondered how artists manage to have so many amazing ideas? Do you ever feel creatively stuck in your research, or feel overwhelmed by the enormous task of writing a thesis? Have you ever thought that your research might be more interesting if it was a little more ‘visual’? This course gives you a chance to do just that, because sketchbooks aren’t just for artists! They can be a really useful in many different kinds of research and can help structure ideas in a range of subject areas across the arts, humanities and social sciences. You don’t have to be an artist, or even any good at drawing, to use a sketchbook.

One useful way to think about sketchbooks is as creative journals – portable collections of inspiring ideas, images and references. They are wonderfully analogue and an ideal way to take a break away from the screen whilst still exploring your research, making the learning and research process more rewarding and inspiring. They allow you to explore ideas, help visualise your research, reflect on your own interests and experience, and be confident about your own unique approach to your subject.

This course comprises a pre-recorded video with a learning pack and a live workshop session and will focus on how sketchbook thinking can help you in your research. Through a series of case studies, discussions, and hands-on visual exercises, we will explore the possibilities for visual exploration and sketchbook thinking for your research.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand how thinking visually can open up different ways of engaging with your research
  • Articulate and externalise your research ideas visually
  • Understand critical approaches to visual learning and problem solving
  • Gain valuable transferable skills in creative problem solving and applied visual thinking

Exploring your research visually through mixing word and image, in informal sketchbook writing, drawing and doodling allows you to think laterally about your subject. ‘Sketchbook thinking’ can help you in your research, even unblock your creativity and allow you to explore new ideas and research directions. Using the skills you learn in this course, you will be able to enter more fully into your research and maybe even release your inner artist whilst doing it!

Session 1: Thursday 13 May, 10.00am-12.30pm

Session 2: Friday 14 May, 10.00am-12.30pm

Pre-recorded elements (video introduction and learning resources pack) to be available from Monday 26 April.

Number of places available: 25


Monday 15 February 2021

Applications for Spring Into Methods workshops open

Monday 15 February 2021
Monday 01 March 2021, 5pm

Deadline for workshop applications

Monday 01 March 2021, 5pm
Tuesday 16 March 2021

Applicants informed of decision

Tuesday 16 March 2021
Tuesday 6 April to Friday 21 May 2021 (note: Easter weekend 2-5 April 2021)

Events take place

Tuesday 6 April to Friday 21 May 2021 (note: Easter weekend 2-5 April 2021)

Submit an application

To submit an application please use the form below.

Please first register with Social to submit a workshop application