Many moons ago, when I was writing my undergraduate thesis, I did not know what to do with all the data I had collected in the field. I had long pages with scribbles about my interviews, experiences and random notes I had taken while I was conducting my research. However, that piece of paper full of notes felt a bit foreign and I felt the need to bring my data back to life. So I sat down, grabbed a bunch of colours and papers and started turning my notes into doodles. As I was drawing the different scenarios and characters I had encountered in the field, I did not only revisit memories I seemed to have forgotten, but also did a fair bit of reflection about what those memories meant to me, and how they could help me answer my research questions.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about research (and life!) so far, is that we need to create time and space for self-reflection. If we do not understand how our identities, experiences and positionalities influence our interpretations, we miss out on important nuances of the human experience. For example, we might miss out on how emotional responses can influence the outcome of our research, or how we may be perpetuating power relations, among many others. Doodling is a way of creating space for reflection in our busy research agendas. Visualizing our notes may also highlight certain dynamics that were not necessarily apparent while we were experiencing them in the field.
At Recrear we understand ‘development’ as a process in which we “deepen our connection with ourselves, each other and the world around us”. One of the main ways we can build this connection is by sharing our stories in unique, creative and accessible ways. Doodling our data not only helps us to understand ourselves better, but it is also a more accessible format to share our thoughts and experiences with others.
Data analysis and research communication.
You can use this to visualize interviews, survey, field notes, etc. I have used it to visualize how I imagine conversations with people I have not met – like the authors of books, articles and films that inspire me. I find it is a great way to connect with their ideas and reflect about how to communicate them.
No additional resources for this technique…
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