Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education
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Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education

Edited by Sara Delamont

The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education offers both basic and advanced discussions of data collection, analysis and representation of all the best qualitative methods used in educational research.
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Chapter 42: Performing Findings: Tales of the Theatrical Self

Rachel Holmes


Rachel Holmes INTRODUCTION This chapter offers a brief overview of aspects of critical, performance and surrealist ethnography as ways to represent research findings. It evokes performances amongst the written-ness of (con)text and the challenges of classroom encounters as they each become entangled together as expressions of findings. It puts moments of ‘data’ to work as I try to interrupt my more familiar classroom performances of ‘self’, by turning to data in the form of narratives to provoke ‘ontological stammering’ (Lather, 1998, p. 495). Using and writing through a story of a classroom encounter as an integral component of reflexive ethnography, attempts are made to perform some of my growing uncomfortable-ness as a teacher within this higher education landscape. CRITICAL, PERFORMANCE AND SURREALIST ETHNOGRAPHY According to Haseman (2006, p. 299), ‘the stark and abiding difference between quantitative and qualitative research lies in the way that research findings are expressed. Quantitative research is ‘the activity or operation of expressing something as a quantity or amount – for example, in numbers, graphs or formulas’ (Schwandt, 2001, p. 215). However, qualitative research, with its concern to capture the observed, interpreted and nuanced properties of behaviours, responses and things refers to ‘all forms of social inquiry that rely primarily on . . . nonnumeric data in the form of words’ (Schwandt, 2001, p. 213). However, even within the qualitative genre, there is increasing variation and innovation in the ways research findings are expressed. Hayano (1979) argues that as anthropologists moved out of the colonial era of ethnography (Atkinson,...

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