Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science
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Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science

Theory and Applications

Edited by Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Alexandros Paraskevas and Christopher Day

This comprehensive Handbook is aimed at both academic researchers and practitioners in the field of complexity science. The book’s 26 chapters, specially written by leading experts, provide in-depth coverage of research methods based on the sciences of complexity. The research methods presented are illustratively applied to practical cases and are readily accessible to researchers and decision makers alike.
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Chapter 5: Complexity informed social research: from complexity concepts to creative applications

Dr Lesley Kuhn


This chapter describes and demonstrates a complexity informed qualitative social research approach, associated methods and techniques. To theorize human experience and sense making from findings and ideas of complexity studies in nature, translation and interpretation is required. The chapter explains these translations and interpretations based on the assumption that qualitative research, like complexity, has to take a radically relational approach to interpreting interrelationships between sense makers, fragments of knowledge, cultures, histories, futures and aspirations. It sets out how complexity offers a paradigmatic orientation to assist qualitative researchers in discerning nonlinearly-based pattern and order. Vortical postmodern ethnography as an inquiry approach is described along with the narrative generating method of coherent conversations and the techniques of fractal narrative analysis and attractor narrative analysis. Vortical postmodern ethnography effectively re-conceptualizes a number of problematic issues in ethnographic inquiry. The chapter concludes with a demonstration of this inquiry approach and techniques in a research project.

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