ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

'Flows and Catchments': A Mixed Method Study utilising NVivo to facilitate Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration incorporating Practice-Based Research.

Brad Warren, Patrick West

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 4 - Law Building, Room 106
Date: 2012-07-11 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-04-10


This paper reports on a Collaborative Research Project entitled 'Flows and Catchments', seed-funded by Deakin University's CMII (Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention) in 2011. It makes two theoretical contributions: 1/ an exploration into the incorporation of Practice-Based Research (PBR) into a Mixed Method project design; 2/ the non-conventional use of the NVivo qualitative analysis software package to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration.

'Flows and Catchments' is a multi-faceted project, which moves beyond a dis-associated empiricism or instrumentalisation, by intending an understanding of the volcanic plains region of Western Victoria that embraces and retains the rich and lived complexity of the region. This is in order to energise an inclusive place-based learning model founded in the notion of well-being. Our hypothesis is that well-being emerges out of the maximisation of relationships of people and place.

Within this framework, a number of sub-projects have emerged, including sound recordings, studies of indigenous and other languages, artistic installations, documentary filmmaking, and a focus on the cultural and artistic heritage of James Dawson. Dawson campaigned for natural justice for the Western District Aboriginal peoples in the late nineteenth century.

As we are interested in the notion of relationships, our study must explore the 'flows' between these disparate projects, also identifying and exploring common themes, which we characterise as 'catchments'. Clearly Mixed Method Research (MMR) suggests itself. And yet, 'Flows and Catchments' seeks to go further, for several of its parts involve the use of Practice-Based Research. Here, PBR can be understood as an attempt to explore the circumstances of place, through the re-organisation of both its elements and of the elements of our response to it, in the form of original artwork.

How might we manage all this? We have a broad range of projects, involving many researchers with very diverse interests and expertise.

Enter NVivo, which is designed to assist researchers in the coding of data under various themes and categories, facilitating the identification of threads and connections that may not have been apparent otherwise. It allows incorporation of many file types, including audio, video, databases, pictures, and text. The 'Flows and Catchments' methodology seeks to co-opt the functions of NVivo, using its interactive, hyperlinked database, to encourage interdisciplinary communication across the various 'Flows and Catchments' components, creating new flows and catchments of its (our) own.

Full Text: Full paper DOCX