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    Flexible Methodologies: A Case for Approaching Research with Fluidity

    McArdle, Rachel (2022) Flexible Methodologies: A Case for Approaching Research with Fluidity. The Professional Geographer, 74 (4). pp. 620-627. ISSN 0033-0124

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    Undertaking qualitative research requires flexibility in academics, because researching peoples’ life worlds is an inherently messy process because the lived realities of those being researched can be convoluted and changing. Academics make structured research designs with the implicit knowledge that the research will not happen in a linear way. This knowledge takes time and experience to achieve. In this article I propose flexible methodologies to describe researchers’ adaptability in terms of their methods, techniques, positionalities, roles, and changes in the research plan. For my PhD research looking at a range of urban places and spaces in Dublin, by being fluid in my research from the beginning, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the life worlds of my participants, and I demonstrate this with three vignettes from my own research. Rather than adjusting my research plan as problems occurred, I instead began with a flexible approach. I argue that beginning with flexibility can aid graduate students in understanding changes and developments in research as a positive, necessary shift in the research plan and is helpful to beginner researchers but also their supervisors. Flexible methodologies are a pragmatic approach for PhD students and early career researchers to achieve their research aims.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: academics; empirical; flexibility; methodology; research;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, MUSSI
    Item ID: 18609
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Rachel McArdle
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2024 08:22
    Journal or Publication Title: The Professional Geographer
    Publisher: Routledge
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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