Social Change and Wellbeing (SCWB)

Wellbeing, Ageing and Social Care Research Group

RESEARCH STRAND 3:METHODOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

Members: Baines, Fairhurst, Kagan, Lawthom, Loggenberg, Sixsmith

Contact person: Eileen Fairhurst

This research strand employs innovative approaches to the study of ageing, social care and well-being and seeks to ensure that the accounts of individuals who are themselves ageing or involved with social care are given credence. In this way the voices of ordinary individuals, including a range of stakeholders, complement those of ‘experts’. Often, the research takes multi- and mixed-methods approaches and challenges the boundaries of traditional social science within holistic research designs and applying critical perspectives.

PROJECT AREAS

(a) Working with multi-methods
The value of using a particular methodology lies in its ability to shed light on a phenomenon. However, all methods simultaneously offer opportunities and constrains on our viewing of the world. In order to maximise our understanding of complex phenomena, it is useful to combine different methods together whereby each affords a particular perspective to come into view. Working with multi- and mixed methods can expand our knowledge in many ways. In this research grouping, the practicalities, advantages and difficulties of using multiple methodological frameworks are explored.

Project example:
ENABLE-AGE: Home as a determinant of healthy ageing.
Project funded by the European Commission.
Contact Judith Sixsmith.

(b) Challenging the boundaries of traditional research
All too often, research progresses using only tried and tested methods to address new problems and issues which do not always lend themselves to highly prescribed methodologies. In this research grouping, more adventurous methodologies are developed to cope with questions of understanding and effecting social change in which the research problem is often set in real life complex and changing environments.

Project example:
Social Capital, health and Gender:
Funded by the Health Development Agency.
Contact Judith Sixsmith.

Project example:
Researching pupil well-being in
UK secondary schools: community psychology and the politics of research.
Contact Paul Duckett.

Project example:
E-mail interviewing.

Contact Judith Sixsmith.

(c) Critical perspectivesand methodological development
This research grouping subjects the perspectives of both individuals and professionals to critical analysis so that public policy is ‘unpacked’. The knowledge gained has implications for general methodological and analytical concerns of the social sciences.

Project example:
Focus groups and the interactional location of age.
Contact Eileen Fairhurst.

Project example:
Theorising Sleep Practices and later Life: Moving to Sheltered Housing.

Contact Eileen Fairhurst.