This blog post is inspired by some reflexivity of some field research I conducted for another research project early on in my research career. This research was on a topic aligned with ‘The making of the precariat’, but the research methods are superficially different. My research is qualitative; ‘The making of the precariat’ is quantitative, making use of 1980s historical questionnaire data. From my own qualitative data collection experiences, I have found that ethical issues and the realities of field research in both projects have similarities although conducted in different times for different purposes.
As presented in the literature, the process of data collection, ethical issues and what is needed for preparation is not too far removed from the reality. However, for myself, what was, was the reality of the anxieties that came after the interviews had ended. This is because seemingly simple questions can…
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Our paper on the legacy of Pearl Jephcott is available online first:
While the lives and works of many sociologists have now been well documented, numerous sociologists at the ‘coal face’ of social research remain ignored. Consequently, beyond the contributions of those more ‘well-known’ scholars, considerably more needs to be done to examine the history of our discipline and reassess the significant contributions made by ‘other’ researchers so that we may reappraise what can be learnt from these ‘pioneer scholars’. In this article we focus on Pearl Jephcott (1900–1980), who in a research career spanning 40 years, but now largely forgotten, was at the forefront of methodological innovation in the 1960s. We offer an introduction to her work, focusing on questions such as why were her methods innovative and why is she now ignored within sociology?
In our research we have found archives to be an essential source of data and material. Indeed, for our restudy of Elias’s Young Worker Project and for our on going work on Pearl Jephcott, archival research has been central to all we have done. Archives, although used by some social scientists, could be used to greater effect – especially in times of reduced research funding where making best use of data and material that already exists seems to be the order of the day. Our Jephcott research featured, in the University of Glasgow’s contribution to the UK Explore Your Archive awareness campaign.
“Our discovery of the illustrations from the Time of One’s Own project, hidden amongst other papers, was one of those truly eureka moments that is only possible when working in archives. As crisp and as clear as the day they were created, the images of young people at work and leisure revealed Pearl Jepchott’s rich legacy of immaculately detailed social science research. The life and work of this once forgotten social researcher, a true pioneer and innovator, at once became available for all to explore and celebrate” – John Goodwin
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A record of the 7/7/2014 dissemination event for the Making of the Precariat research can be found here: