Research notes have traditionally played an important role in the analysis of data in social science. Apart from transcribing audio-recording, the contextual information serves as a rich source of complementary data. Indeed, various researchers have suggested additional ways of recording supplementary information (Miles and Huberman 1994). These include “interim summaries”, “self-memos”, “and researcher´s diary”. Yet, most of them are usually presented as offline analytical aids and frequently for individual based analysis process. Social media, however, has redimensioned these tools and make them useful for team-based research projects, particularly for multisite and cross-national projects. The fact of publishing your research notes and summaries contribute may encourage both theoretical and methodological discussions during the research process:
- Online interim summaries: as the analysis progress, different team members may wish to write an “interim summary” of the progress to date (Saunders, 2011). What you have found so far; what level of confidence you have in your findings and conclusions to date; what you need to do in order to improve the quality of your data and/or to seek to substantive your apparent conclusions, or to seek alternative explanations; how you will seek to achieve the needs identified by the above interim analysis.
- Online self-memos. Self memos allow to record ideas that occur to you about any aspect of your research, as you think of them. Where you omit to record any idea as it occurs to you it may well be forgotten. Self memos may vary in length from a few words to one or more pages. They can be written as simple notes and they do not need to be set out formally. The occasions when you are likely to want to write a memo include (Saunders, 2011):
- when you are writing up interview or observation notes, or producing a transcript of this event;
- when you are constructing a narrative;
- when you are categorizing these data;
- as you continue to categorize and analyze these data;
- when you engage in writing your research project.
Furthermore, the openness of the methodology beyond team members may encourage a more dynamic relationship between research and the general public, which is consistent with the idea of science suggested by Nowotny et al. in the book “Re-thinking science”. In it, the authors argue that changes in society now make such communications both more likely and more numerous, and that this is transforming science not only in its research practices and the institutions that support it but also deep in its epistemological core.
Glaser, B. G. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory. Sociology Pr.
Huberman, M., & A AND M MILES, B. (1994). Data management and analysis methods. Handbook of Qualitative Research. N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln London.
Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. (2001). Re-thinking science: Knowledge and the public in an age of uncertainty (p. 12). Cambridge: Polity.
Saunders, M. N. (2011). Research methods for business students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.