Rethinking rigour: Analytic dilemmas of a scientist morphing into a social scientist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


In transitioning from scientist to social scientist - and from teacher to teacher-researcher - and with the lived experiences of marginalised students as my inspiration, I confronted thought provoking issues. Whilst I was drawn to an ethnographic approach, settling on a suitable analytic stance, was messier. I was determined to keep students voices to the fore and have sufficient rigour, reliability and reproducibility. I discuss the rationale for my eventual choice of qualitative analytic approach - drawn from grounded theory techniques - detailing the specific analytic steps, incorporating free writing, initial coding, clustering, memoing, focused coding and diagramming. I make the process transparent and open to critique - providing detail often glossed over. Through the replication of a complete memo, within which I detail how I utilise deeply embedded web-like diagramming even at the early stages of analysis, I illustrate how tentative social processes are recognised. I find this more detailed, augmented process to be suitably rigorous. This augmented process, with early use of deeply embedded diagramming, offers an analytic technique for other researchers also.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMyths, Methods, and Messiness
Subtitle of host publication Insights for Qualitative Research Analysis
EditorsBryan Clift, Julie Gore, Sheree Bekker, Ioannis Costas Batlle, Katharina Chudzikowski, Jennifer Hatchard
Place of PublicationBath
PublisherUniversity of Bath
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-8619-7200-5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education


  • Diagramming;
  • qualitative analysis; .
  • grounded theory techniques;
  • rigour;
  • reproducibility.


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