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Making a Mess with Situational Analysis May 12, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, PhD, Talks.

At the Department of Communication here at Aalborg University we have a doctoral program in Human Centered Communication and Informatics (HCCI) which each Wednesday hosts  informal lunch seminars where PhD students can discuss ongoing research, present paper or dissertation drafts etc. Today me and guest from Aarhus School of Business, Annette Agerdal-Hjermind, each gave a presentation under the headline ‘Making a Mess with Situational Analysis’. Annette and I are both using Situational Analysis (Clarke, 2005) in our PhD projects and we wanted to exchange experiences and receive feedback from colleagues.

Annette is working with blogging in an organisational context and gave an interesting presentation on her case, data and how she is planning to use Clarke’s situational maps when coding, mapping and categorising her data. You can learn more from her PhD blog.

The situational maps are exactly the parts of Clarke’s framework I have integrated in my PhD project. Here, I am using Scollon & Scollon’s (2004) Nexus Analysis as a methodological and theoretical framework. As a first step in a Nexus Analysis the Scollons suggest that you make broad-stroke maps of your field and the many discourse cycles that are circulating through the moment of social action you are studying. I think Clarke’s maps are useful tools when engaging in such a task, since the point is to map out “the complex situations of inquiry broadly conceived” (Clarke & Friese, 2007, p. 366). Both Clarke and the Scollons believe that ‘context’ should be understood and treated as something that exists within the siuation of inquiry (and not as mere background). Therefore, I think the two frameworks go well together and the combination has worked for me when trying to sketch out maps of young people’s use of social network sites in Denmark.

You can learn more and see the slides from my presentation here (at the last slide I have included a list of references.):