Methods

Methodological approaches focusing on everyday contexts

We approach the methodological challenges involved in research in everyday contexts. Our starting point is three-fold:

  • Ethnography: We work as active participants with schools, families and groups of children or youths, exploring the culture by defining specific contexts mediated by digital or analogical communication technologies.
  • Action research: We intend not only to understand reality and culture, but also to contribute to transform them closely by interacting with other participants and according to shared endeavors.
  • In addition to this, we adopt a discourse analysis approach supported by the criticaluse of computer resources for data treatment and analysis. A qualitative research perspective is implemented in the study of the media contents and people’s activities.
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All the works mentioned in the preceding pages seek to be methodologically innovative. More specifically, we combine a deductive point of view, supported by specific theories with an inductive approach to the data in order to define dimensions of the analysis that consider participants’ activities in specific contexts. Our analyses are carried out following specific and sequential phases:

  1. After digitalizing all the data (for the most part, video and audio recordings, participants’ productions, etc.), in the first phase of the analysis all the video-recorded sessions are segmented in terms of the unit of their thematic conversational contents and the participants’ activities considered as a complete unit of meaning by using computer programs. In this context, the relationships between macro- and micro-levels of analysis are established.
  2. In a second phase of the analysis we elaborate networks of concepts by using special software. This enables us to deepen the relationships between the different sessions by adopting a macro analytical level and, besides, in a micro analytical sense specific categories are defined as “codes” to classify specific segments of activity delimited in the first phase. That is, at a structural and synchronic level, the definition of networks allows us to define and redefine significant dimensions to understand these educational events.
  3. Finally, in a third phase and also using special software, conversational analysis is carried out by using a micro linguistic perspective. We regard this level of analysis as an interesting tool for determining how participants construct meaning in terms of their social roles in the context of their activities.
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