Masterclass – Facet Methodology

Facet methodology – principles and practices workshop

Wednesday 12 June 2013
2pm – 4pm

Professor Jennifer Mason, Co-director, Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life


‘Facet methodology’ – is an inventive orientation to researching the multidimensionality of everyday lives and relationships, which puts researcher creativity and imagination at the heart of methodological practice.

This masterclass will introduce the ethos of the approach and explore how it can be practiced and what its uses might be.

Masterclass participants will be invited to engage in practical ways with the approach, and to consider what it might offer for their own research projects and plans.

A health warning! – facet methodology is an orientation, requiring imagination and inventiveness. Please don’t expect to be given a set of techniques or methodological rules that can be learned and applied!

About facet methodology
Facet methodology was developed collaboratively through the work of the Realities programme at the National Centre for Research Methods, at the Morgan Centre, University of Manchester.

We wanted an inventive approach that enlivened and animated our enquiries into everyday life and relationships, and that promised methodological rigour.

The approach was developed through our collaborative practice, in the doing of research and analysis, rather than as a piece of armchair theorising or methodologising.

We wanted a metaphor to articulate our research strategy, to ourselves and others, and we lighted upon the visual metaphor of a cut gemstone. Our approach envisions research fields as constructed through combinations and constellations of facets as we might see in a gemstone, where facets refract and intensify light, taking up the background, and creating flashes of depth and colour as well as patches of shadow.

We found this a useful metaphor to think with, and to interpret the kinds of practices we had been developing. In facet methodology, the gemstone is the overall research question or problematic, and facets are conceived as different methodological-substantive planes and surfaces, which are designed to be capable of casting and refracting light in a variety of ways that help to define the overall object of concern by creating flashes of insight.

Facets involve different lines of enquiry, and different ways of seeing. The approach aims to create a strategically illuminating set of facets in relation to specific research concerns and questions. The rigour of the approach comes ultimately from researcher skill, inventiveness, creativity, insight and imagination – in deciding how best to carve the facets so that they catch the light in the best possible way.

You can read about facet methodology at:
http://www.pbs.plym.ac.uk/mi/pdf/8-02-12/MIO63Paper31.pdf


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