Posted on by Zinab Bakroun
Reflecting back on the focus groups, on our methodology, and these past few months, I think that our method thus far, has definitely allowed for narratives to emerge from all of our participants. Arts based research is a creative and critical form of doing research, of inquiring and accessing knowledge and it has enabled our participants to actively participate in our research. We have created a dual process where we are not simply observing participants, but that they are honorary researchers helping us gain a better understanding of the student experience through their artistic expressions (collages). I believe we should still focus on our original research question and try to gain a better understanding of the dissonance between students “expectations” and “lived” experience at Ryerson.
I am aware of the fact that there might be a “slight “hierarchy” in place. However, even if we use deception, participants are going to “sign up” to be apart of a research study. They will still have to read and sign a consent form and if you think about it, they will be going through all of the same steps. The only thing changing is our role in the room. They will be in the presence of strangers and so some may be even more reluctant to share their stories. I think all of our participants came in with something to say, or with a story to share, yes some shared more then others but we still obtained important information from every participant. In addition, I don’t think the problem is our presence in the room or the camera. I think that some participants shared interesting information with us after the focus group session was over because of the fact that they were more “comfortable” with us. They might have realized that our method is less formal as opposed to what they might have been expecting.
I think we should maintain our current methods and research question. Our next steps would be to conduct another set of focus groups and not worry much about the number of participants in each group. After that we should contact the same participants and conduct one on one semi-structured interviews to obtain an even deeper understanding of their individual stories through qualitative data collection. We should continue to identify themes that emerge between participants. By piecing together the puzzle pieces, we should hopefully identify thought- provoking ways to improve the student experience at Ryerson.