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Modern Methodologies: Developments in Doing Sociological Research

Reflections on the Event ‘Modern Methodologies: Developments in Doing Sociological Research’

On February 15th and 16th, The Australian Sociological Association and Western Sydney University Institute for Culture and Society, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, and Graduate Research School co-hosted a two-day workshop for postgraduates and ECRs called “Modern Methodologies: Developments in Doing Sociological Research.”

This workshop brought together select postgraduates and ECRs to discuss and develop their methodological approaches. Over the two days we saw paper presentations and participant-led panel discussions on topics ranging from critical ethnography and working with vulnerable populations, to creative approaches for interviewing and representing field work. Associate Professor Alphia Possamai-Inesedy from Western Sydney University delivered a keynote on thinking critically about methodology, which spoke to creativity and flexibility in research and included a call to be more open, more slow, not presuppose, and explore the unanticipated in our research. Professor Sujatha Fernandes from Sydney University and Dr Demelza Marlin from Macquarie University joined us for a workshop on uncovering stories, patterns and subjectivities with our work. Emeritus Professor David Rowe and Dr Karen Soldatic, both from Western Sydney University, also joined us for a workshop on methods for transformation and impact. Overall, we focused on issues of reflexivity, positionality, cultivating good intellectual practices, collaboration with other researchers and participants, and ways of communicating the work we do as social researchers.

Participants reflected that ‘listening to speakers and participants who were being more creative and ‘arty’ with their projects motivated me to think outside the box with analysis and to push forward with a future project I had been toying with.’ The workshop was ‘an inspiring opportunity… The group was friendly, inclusive and shared the highs and lows of the research process… I appreciated the honesty of the academics who came and shared their perspectives. Two days allowed time to connect with other participants and to reflect on common themes such as ethical research, that all researchers encounter blocks and difficulties, and the power of sharing ideas.’

As part of the event, participants collaboratively produced an event pamphlet. You can download a digital and print version of this below. This pamphlet includes the programme and paper abstracts as well as our notes, questions, ideas, scribbles, marginalia and some photos.

A huge thanks goes to TASA and WSU for this event. I’d personally like to thank the academics who gave their time to participate – Alphia, Sujatha, Demelza, David and Karen – and to James Arvanitakis, Adam Possamai, and Megan Watkins from WSU for their keen support of the event. Thanks also goes to Christy Nguy from WSU and Sally Daly from TASA, plus the TASA Postgraduate Portfolio subcommittee, who provided great administrative and organisational support and without whom this event would not have been possible.

Ashleigh Watson, TASA Postgraduate Portfolio Leader



To read the pamphlet digitally

Download a digital pamphlet here:

Digital Pamphlet.compressed


To print a pamphlet

Download a print pamphlet here:

Print Pamphlet.compressed

Print ‘print’ edition double sided, flipped along the short edge

Fold front cover in half, set aside

Fold individual pages in half, then compile in stack (not wrapped). Staple along spine

Wrap compiled pages with front cover

Staple at spine