Event 15.04.2021

Qualitative Research Methods Symposium 2021

This year's (free) Qualitative Research Methods Symposium with support from UEA, HSC, Institute for Volunteering Research and NIHR ARC EoE Inclusive Involvement in Research for Practice-Led Health and Social Care theme) will debate "What can qualitative methods tell us about building trust with experiences and experts?"

15th April 2021, 2pm -5pm, via Teams


Qualitative research can help us to understand the dramatic changes in levels of trust in expertise and claims to knowledge. It is particularly well placed to do this because of its own questioning of the status of the knowledge that it creates.

Much public energy is given to disputing authorised versions of knowledge, policies, events, practices, affecting our sense of what and what we can trust. We can see this in varied responses to public health planning and communications, to very opposed accounts of the contributions of migrant groups to societies, the science of climate change and the value of arts, culture and sport. These debates are rooted in contemporary experience of disillusion with previously trusted personal, procedural and political sources of knowledge. There are challenges to reliance on experts, especially where their findings and advice contradict personal and social experiences of events and group discourses. These doubts and challenges now radically affect how academic, community and commercial research and researchers can be presented, seen and discussed.

Appreciating this revolution in framing and receiving “research” makes it even more important for qualitative researchers to use and adapt their skills to examine their own position and practices. They need to do this to question their own contribution to such debates, to demonstrate their capacity to listen respectfully, so as to find out how to adjust their understanding of what approaches are now appropriate and constructive and for what purposes. This symposium will provide an overview and new understandings of what qualitative research can and should do to discover how trust in expertise operates and, where appropriate, to promote trust as a basis to re-build new understandings.

Key questions to be addressed include:

•       Can the reflexive character of most qualitative research help us to better understand popular (dis)trust in expertise?

•       How, if at all, is qualitative research implicated in discourses that are claimed to have undermined trust in expertise?

•       What can qualitative expertise tell us about the complex relationships between experience and expertise?

•       What is the status of the expertise claimed by qualitative researchers and how, if at all, should qualitative researchers be ‘experts’?

•       What is the role of formal qualitative methodology in supporting claims to expertise?

Register and find out more here  

Registration closes on the 6th April.